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The poor crew from Pennsylvania State University, NRCS and ARS looking to study nutrient losses in runoff left my farm very disappointed this past fall.
They spent three days setting up nine rainfall simulators on 6-foot plots across my field. They then applied a full 3 inches of water to the plots over the course of an hour. At each of the nine plots they collected zero runoff. Zero. While it was a tough situation for them, to me it was a testament to the fact the practices I’m using — including decades of no-till and extensive cover cropping — are working well.
I’m thankful for those results. I can’t afford to have nutrients, water or what little topsoil I have to be running off my fields. With our shallow topsoil we always seem to be about 2 weeks away from a drought, so I was pleased to see my fields taking in every drop.
Being in the Chesapeake Bay watershed really puts us under the microscope, too. This failed experiment goes to show I’m, gladly, doing my part to protect the sensitive environment.