3.1 Buffers & Cropland Management

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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.
Image DOWNLOAD: 3.1 Guidelines and References (PDF)