GUIDELINES / 3.0 Productive Soils
3.1 Buffers & Cropland Management
Buffers can not replace good cropland management. Trapping soil in buffers is ineffective in maintaining soil productivity and can become a long-term maintenance problem. The most effective strategy is combining buffers with appropriate cropland management.
Key Cropland Management Considerations
- Establish crop rows on the contour.
- Use conservation tillage or no-till to reduce water and wind erosion. Residue should be left standing and orientated perpendicular to the prevailing wind direction.
- Maintain crop residue to reduce evaporation and increase infiltration. Standing crop residue captures drifting snow and increases soil moisture.
- Use cover crops to provide cover during fallow season.
- Use strip cropping to reduce sediment transport.
- In highly erodible situations, select a perennial crop to maintain cover year around.
- Deliver irrigation water in a manner that minimizes erosion.