Making your farm more resilient
Level of Expertise: Introductory/Overview,
Topics: Cover Crops, Diversified Cropping and Agroforestry, No-Till and Reduced Disturbance, Soil Health and Building Soil Carbon,
If you are like most farmers, one of the ongoing challenges for you is dealing with weather extremes, from droughts to heavy rainfalls where your fields or pastures are sopping wet. There is no single management approach that can stave off drought or hold back flooding, but improved soil health and certain management practices can reduce some of the impacts from weather challenges. For example, when it’s a dry year, getting every drop of rain into the soil can make a big difference. Combining cover crops with no-till is a key way to have more macropores that allow rain to quickly soak into the soil and add to the organic matter that makes the soil more like a sponge. Soil aggregate structure is improved, which also helps with internal water storage and gas exchange. These same soil health features are beneficial during wet periods, as better internal soil drainage helps reduce surface ponding. Better soil health in pastures can also allow them to be more productive in dry or wet periods.