No-Till acres on the rise in South Dakota

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A new survey released last week from the South Dakota Natural Resources Conservation Service revealed that South Dakota farmers are leaders when it comes to caring for the land.

The 2013 Cropping Systems Inventory revealed that no-till practices were being utilized on 45% of the state’s cropland (more than 6.2 million acres), up from 37% (4.8 million acres) in 2004. A 29% increase in acreage from less than a decade ago.

In 2004, South Dakota had four counties with no-till adoption rates of over 75%. But in 2013, the state had 14.

What is “no-till”?

No-till is a practice in which farmers minimally disturb the soil leaving roots and residue behind to build the soil’s organic matter, minimizing erosion, reducing runoff, conserving moisture and capturing carbon, which improves overall soil health and productivity. No-till also reduces emissions and energy usage.

No-till doesn’t work for everyone as the survey indicates with different geography and climate presenting different challenges. But more importantly the survey demonstrates that in less than a decade, there has been a substantial increase in the number of farmers who have successfully implemented conservation practices on the land.

Click here for the complete SD NRCS Cropping Systems Inventory: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/sd/home/?cid=STELPRDB1252271

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