Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Land use practices to improve water quality (#journal)

Estimating water quality effects of conservation practices and grazing land use scenarios
Conservation management practices such as reduced tillage, fertilizer management, and buffer strips are well-established means by which to control erosion and nutrient losses from fields planted in annual row crops. However, agricultural systems which include perennial plant cover may represent an alternative way to reduce these losses. In this study, management intensive rotational grazing (MIRG) was tested as a means by which to improve water quality on highly vulnerable row crop land, compared to more traditional conservation management schemes in Southeastern Minnesota. The effects of both sets of alternative scenarios were evaluated with a watershed-based modeling approach using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool. Watershed-wide implementation of all conservation management practices resulted in reductions in sediment (52%) and total P (28%) loads.

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