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What brings the biggest benefit to soil water infiltration?What brings the biggest benefit to soil water infiltration?

Down in the Weeds: Analysis compares practices such as no-till, cover crops, perennials in the rotation and grazing.

Tyler Harris

December 3, 2019

1 Min Read
cover crops in field between corn crop
NOT ALL ARE EQUAL: The recent meta-analysis of 89 studies from around the world found that not all practices are equal when it comes to effect on soil water infiltration. Tyler Harris

Editor's note: You can listen to my conversation with Andrea Basche by clicking on the Soundcloud file embedded in this blog.

If you've been paying attention to news surrounding soil health, no-till and cover crops, you've likely heard by now about the recent meta-analysis conducted by University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers that compiled data from 89 studies around the world to help quantify the benefits of different alternative practices on soil water infiltration.

In the latest episode of Down in the Weeds, we visit with Andrea Basche, assistant professor in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, and one of the study's authors, on some key findings from the analysis.

"We were motivated to do this work, largely because we felt there was not a good quantification of the impact that different practices related to soil health have," Basche says. "That was really the thread that pulls these different practices together — what are the relative benefits that they have when it comes to soil water in particular? I feel the most common practices we hear about are cover crops and no-till. I wanted to understand not only the relative impact that some of these practices have, but also think about some of those other principles that are out there. How are we implementing them on farms? What's the relative benefit that they might have? Are all these practices equal, and do we know about some more than others?"


About the Author(s)

Tyler Harris

Editor, Wallaces Farmer

Tyler Harris is the editor for Wallaces Farmer. He started at Farm Progress as a field editor, covering Missouri, Kansas and Iowa. Before joining Farm Progress, Tyler got his feet wet covering agriculture and rural issues while attending the University of Iowa, taking any chance he could to get outside the city limits and get on to the farm. This included working for Kalona News, south of Iowa City in the town of Kalona, followed by an internship at Wallaces Farmer in Des Moines after graduation.

Coming from a farm family in southwest Iowa, Tyler is largely interested in how issues impact people at the producer level. True to the reason he started reporting, he loves getting out of town and meeting with producers on the farm, which also gives him a firsthand look at how agriculture and urban interact.

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