Agriculture

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District along with its partners provides educational, technical, and financial assistance for all types of agricultural producers large and small.  Whether you need assistance for controlling an erosion concern, removing invasive plant species, exploring organic production opportunities, or want to enhance a portion of the farm for wildlife… We Can Help!

 

We work right alongside partners such as the Indiana State Department of Agriculture – Division of Soil Conservation and the USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service to deliver free conservation planning services as well as provide funding opportunities for a variety of conservation practices.

 

Here are just a few examples of the practices/projects we have assisted with in Marion County.

 

Dairy Farm:  Improved livestock grazing efficiency through a Prescribed Grazing Plan which included technical and financial assistance for fencing and pasture/hayland planting.

 

  • Resources addressed:  Increased soil health, reduced erosion, cleaner runoff, healthier animals

 

Corn-Soybean and Tree Farm:  Installed/maintained strips of trees and grasses along major river system (conservation buffers) within cropland acres and provided financial assistance for the removal of invasive bush honeysuckle within the woods.

 

  • Resources addressed:  Cleaner runoff, reduced erosion, invasive plant elimination, improved wildlife diversity, habitat connectivity

 

Shallow wetland area for wildlife:  Planned and designed a small wetland for a landowner with a passion for wildlife and conservation.  This wetland will attract wildlife, provide aesthetic beaty to the surrounding landscape, act as a sponge to let minimize and filter runoff.

 

  • Resources addressed:  Reduced runoff, created wildlife habitat and connectivity.

 

Commonly utilized USDA conservation programs–the continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) sign-up, Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP), general CRP, Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)

 

Jerod Chew, USDA-NRCS District Conservationist for Hendricks and Marion Counties is available to help you with your agricultural conservation needs.  You can reach him at 317-745-2555 or contact him on our contact page

 

 

In Wet and Dry Years

Cover Crops Are a Valuable Practice

 

Farmers all over Indiana are realizing the benefits of cover crops, in wet and dry years.  Fields with cover crops may dry out earlier than fields left bare over the winter, due to their ability to stabilize wet fields by taking up moisture.

 

State Agronomist Barry Fisher with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service says, “In a wet year cover crop growth can be much farther along than planned, so the management decisions on how to kill the cover crop have to be adjusted.  Under these conditions a faster acting herbicide may be needed.  However, cover crops are still worth the investment because they stabilize moisture levels and reduce erosion, scouring and nutrient losses.”

 

When used as part of a conservation cropping system, cover crops increase soil productive health and decrease risk, no matter what the conditions.  Fields have less erosion and better moisture management with a cover crop, lessoning risks from drought or flooding.  Fields in long term no-till with cover crops made it through last year’s drought with higher yields than expected.

 

Based on a design by Practical Farmers of Iowa

Based on a design by Practical Farmers of Iowa

Cover crops are grown between regular crop rotations like corn, soybean and wheat.  Examples of cover crops are annual ryegrass, crimson clover, oats, oil-seed radishes,and cereal rye.  Cover crops are not intended as a harvestable crop, but are grown to enhance productivity.  Benefits of cover crops include:  improving soil structure by increasing soil organic matter and root penetration; protecting otherwise bare soil from wind and water erosion; using nitrogen left in the soil, preventing it from polluting waterways; and cycling nutrients back into the soil that will be available for corn and soybean crops.

 

Information on cover crops and conservation cropping systems can be found at http://www.in.gov/isda/ccsi/.  For more information on cover crop management techniques, visit the Purdue Extension Weed Control Guide at http://www.btny.purdue.edu/Pubs/WS/WS-16/WS-16.pdf.  For assistance with conservation planning producers should contact their NRCS district conservationist at a USDA Service Center, which can be found at http://www.in.nrcs.usda.gov/contact/directory/field_offices.html.