No-Till Key to Preserving Water for Future Generations

One of the great attributes of no-tilling is the ability of this system to manage water. In previous articles, I’ve written about no-tilling and managing the moisture Mother Nature provides to produce crops and forage under dryland farming.

I feel no-till allows us to also manage our irrigation water, as well, to the best of our abilities and help us conserve this valuable resource.

Throughout the state of Nebraska, water is becoming a major issue. Former Gov. Dave Heineman called water the issue of the decade for the state. Compliance with other states over water management of our rivers and depletion of groundwater in the Ogallala aquifer are major concerns in the management of the state’s water.

These resources — both surface and groundwater — are intertwined in their relationship to one another, and management of one affects the other. It’s a very complex water system that our Natural Resources Districts and Department of Natural Resource agencies are in charge of managing to meet the demands required by agriculture, recreation, and municipalities across the state.

Agriculture is the primary user of our state’s water resource, using 96% of the state’s water annually. The burden of conserving this resource while remaining profitable is going to fall directly upon our farmers and ranchers. This is a challenge those of us involved in agriculture should take seriously as the decisions we make now will affect generations to come.

Here in Box Butte County, our portion of the Ogallala aquifer is slow to recharge…

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Mark Watson

Mark Watson no-tills near Alliance, Neb., and has served as the Panhandle no-till education coordinator since 2007. He is also chairman of the Panhandle No-Till Partnership.

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