Prairie Strips: A Win-Win-Win for Farmers, Communities and the Environment
- 2 votes
Check out the following article on prairie strips from the current edition of the Iowa Soybean Review magazine that is distributed to Iowa’s ~37,500 soybean producers.
Prairie Strips are now available through both CRP and EQIP and provide disproportionate benefits in terms of reducing soil erosion (95%), phosphorus loading (78%), nitrogen loading (70%), and increasing population and species richness for birds, beneficial insects, pollinators and Monarch Butterflies. A new study by ISU indicates that prairie strips even increase soybean yields by upwards of 20% by providing habitat for pollinators like honey bees and wild bees and serving as reservoirs for beneficial insects that can help to control crop pests. Pheasants Forever, IAWA, CropLife Foundation and others are helping farmers to Identify acres within fields that lose money in most years which are ideal for enrolling in prairie strips. Prairie strips is a very flexible practice that can be implemented in a way to improve farm operability and profitability. I'll share more about prairie strips research and Farm Bill programs in future posts.
Would you be open to trying prairie strips on your farm?
- Mapping, Monitoring & Positioning
- Nutrient Management
- Pest Management
- Precision Ag
- Soil Health
- Soil & Water Management
Sean: Interesting approach. Is there a minimum number of years the land needs to be in prairie strips to qualify?
Is there also a minimum land area or maximum land area eligible within a field?
For CRP CP-43 contracts, the land needs to be in 10 or 15 year contracts.
For the EQIP, there is not yet a stand-alone practice standard for prairie strips, but a combination of conservation cover, contoured buffers, filter strips a d field borders may be used. EQIP contracts are usually 3 years, but can be 5 years.
there are some guidelines regarding widths of buffers. I’ll research those and get back to you.
We hear much about cover crops, but it seems prairie strips (along with the incentives) could be less risky as a soil conservation measure as one moves north to shorter growing seasons and west (or in dry growing seasons) where cover crops can use considerable soil moisture.