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Recent posts by Wyatt Fraas

A Grazing Study with Multiple Benefits

How do you mange steep, thin, erosion-prone soils? Long-term set-asides have been the go-to plan for decades. That’s especially true when the soil has been stripped of native cover by tillage.

But land retirement may not be the only solution. Researchers at Washington State University discovered that grazing management improved the quality of fragile lands. That result is interesting enough. But the study also demonstrated that environmentalists and ranchers can work together to accomplish goals important to each.

Higher Yields (and more) with Cover Crops

Farmers across the country reported higher yields from use of cover crops, especially in drought zones, in 2012. Over 700 farmers responding to a survey reported yield increases for corn and beans following cover crops.

The Conservation Technology Information Center carried out a survey of experienced cover crop farmers last winter. Responding farmers had over 200,000 acres under cover crops, about 10% of the national cover crop acreage.

Opinions Wanted: Would You Grow Trees to Capture Carbon if Paid?

Iowa State researchers are recruiting for farmer/rancher focus groups to offer opinions on appropriate use of 'marginal lands' for biofuel crops, agroforestry (windbreaks and more), and carbon sequestration in the Great Plains. Experience with trees on your farm or ranch is desired (yes, cedars are trees!).

Researchers want to know what you think about diversifing your farm income and enhancing environmental quality by producing biomass from agroforestry practices. They'll also ask how you would decide to participate in such practices.