Filed under: Farm, Minnesota, rain, tillage, weather | Tags: environment, erosion, farm, Minnesota, Planting, rain, science, spring, weather
Our area of southwestern Minnesota has been in a drought since last July. We have gone months since we had a “normal” rainfall amount. That has changed. In the last few days we have nearly erased the moisture shortage, and it has caused another problem, erosion. In just a few days we had almost 6 inches of rainfall, one event had over 2 inches fall in one hour time. This is something that tilled farmland cannot handle.
Many fields have water standing in them. This water ponding came about because the soil could not absorb water in such vast amounts falling so fast. Even grassland will have water run-off when huge amounts of water fall. This water then ponds in lower areas to slowly filter into the earth. Some of this water will go directly into streams and lakes, but most of the water never gets there. It is held to either recharge the soil water table, or evaporates back into the air.
When you get this much water it will move exposed soil. In the case of the picture above the soil moved only a few feet. Most soil erosion is deposited near to where it erodes from. High areas are torn down and low areas built up. Areas that erode near streams and lakes will be deposited into the water, but most soil does not move that far.
In some cases the erosion can be both wide and deep, it can tear out even mature crops, a newly planted crop has no chance. Most areas that are prone to this type of erosion have been converted into grass by farmers. When there are long periods of light rain and no erosion farm folks start to forget what happens in a large rain. When these events happen, they remember again, and grassed water ways are planted. Unfortunately periods of drought tend to cause more erosion, since soil that is dry is easier to move than wet soil.
Roads also suffer when rain falls in large amounts. Here water could not get through the culverts under the road fast enough and it topped the road and removed the gravel.
Roadway culverts do help to meter out the water. They will hold it back so only the largest rainfall events cause problems. The ponded water behind a roadway gives soil a chance to settle out and not make it to a stream or lake.
We can still use more rain to keep our crops growing, we just need it to fall slowly and in smaller amounts until our crops are bigger.
Filed under: Ag education, Farm, Minnesota, science | Tags: Agriculture education, erosion, farm, Farm Bureau, Minnesota, pollution, water, water quality
National Ag Experts to Address Water Concerns
The public is encouraged to attend the Minnesota Ag Water Resources Coalition (MAWRC) seminar on June 24 to learn more about the science behind protecting Minnesota’s soil and how to engage in soil and water conversations in their communities. MAWRC will host a seminar on sediment transport and the role of agricultural drainage on June 24 from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Country Inn and Suites in Mankato.
The program will feature nationally renowned researchers who work to insure water quality programs are directed toward real solutions to protecting our environment. Speakers include: Stanley Trimble – UCLA geologist, Garey Fox – Oklahoma State University soil scientist and several University of Minnesota agricultural and climate experts.
“Farmers really need to know which farming practices make a difference to water quality,” said Steve Sodeman, MAWRC chairman. “Minnesota farmers care about our water and preserving our soil. The speakers represent over 100 years of expertise on this topic. Attendees will leave with a better understanding of how their farm management is connected to positive solutions to preserving Minnesota’s waters.”
The seminar is open to the public, no pre-registration required and includes lunch. The sediment seminar is hosted by MAWRC and sponsored by the Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council and the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council.
MAWRC is comprised of 16 farm organizations, working together through education to advance the use of scientifically sound soil and water management practices on Minnesota farms and ranches. For more information call 651-768-2106. log onto mawrc.org or follow us on Facebook.
Filed under: Farm, Minnesota, planting, spring, tillage, weather | Tags: erosion, farm, Minnesota, Planting, rain, Soybeans, Weed control, wind
Friday I got the call from Monsanto that our pre-foundation seed beans had arrived from Chili. The field was worked and the two varieties were planted. We are officially done with planting, almost. Checking up on fields I discovered a spot where the planter had lost its drive chain and no beans were planted. I’ll need to get some seed and get that part of the field planted.
When you drive across the area and look at fields you can see parts of fields that either had emergence problems or crop is missing for some other reason. I’ve not found any of those on our fields, but some of the neighbors are busy patching in those spots. Also showing up are areas where wind and water have eroded the ground and there is no crop. Wind erosion spots are small, but some of the wet spots can be quite large.
Some of the neighbors are cutting and baling hay. The dry weather we have had lately has been good for the alfalfa harvest. It should be a good quality first cutting.
When the beans came from Monsanto I talked with the driver, his family was still trying to get their corn planted. We are indeed lucky to be done with planting.
The forecast is for continued dry weather. We’ve also been blessed with warm weather for the last few days. The crops that are in the ground are growing quite fast. Weeds are growing also. It’s time to get started on weed control. There’s plenty to do on the farm.