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Dirty water? You’ve got runoffDirty water? You’ve got runoff

Video: NRCS rainfall simulator shows water quality and quantity after a 1-inch rain event.

1 Min Read
MUDDY MESS: Soil health specialist David Doctorian holds up two jugs of water collected after a 1-inch simulated rainfall.

Management of cover on pastures and cropland can determine whether water runs off your fields or stays put. David Doctorian, USDA-NRCS soil health specialist, says growers may be surprised at how much water runs off a field after only 1 inch of rainfall.

“We expect to see some runoff on those tilled crop acres,” he says, “but what we don’t expect is the amount and quality of water running off those continuously grazed pastures.” While some cover is better than no cover, farmers should focus on the species and amount of cover to improve permeation.

Soil type, tillage, cover and root mass affect soil health. However, they all play a role in determining the level of water runoff, infiltration and quality.

For Doctorian, it all boils down to management practices for crop and livestock farmers that keep water out of the roads and ditches and in the field. He travels to farms sharing tips on how good cover and grazing practices can increase moisture availability.

So just how much water leaves a field after an inch of rainfall? Click on the video to find out. You will learn about management practices to keep water in place.


About the Author(s)

Mindy Ward

Editor, Missouri Ruralist

Mindy resides on a small farm just outside of Holstein, Mo, about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis.

After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism, she worked briefly at a public relations firm in Kansas City. Her husband’s career led the couple north to Minnesota.

There, she reported on large-scale production of corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and dairy, as well as, biofuels for The Land. After 10 years, the couple returned to Missouri and she began covering agriculture in the Show-Me State.

“In all my 15 years of writing about agriculture, I have found some of the most progressive thinkers are farmers,” she says. “They are constantly searching for ways to do more with less, improve their land and leave their legacy to the next generation.”

Mindy and her husband, Stacy, together with their daughters, Elisa and Cassidy, operate Showtime Farms in southern Warren County. The family spends a great deal of time caring for and showing Dorset, Oxford and crossbred sheep.

Jen Koukol

Digital Editor

Jen grew up in south-central Minnesota and graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato, with a degree in mass communications. She served as a communications specialist for the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, and was a book editor before joining the Corn & Soybean Digest staff.

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