Supporters of the “no-till” style of farming are celebrating results of a U-S-D-A study that shows Iowa leads the nation in the environmental practice. Larry Beeler is a conservationist at the Natural Resources Conservation Service office in Des Moines.During 2000, Beeler says five million acres of crops in Iowa were planted using no-till, mostly corn and soybeans, an increase of 30-percent since the last survey was done in 1998. Beeler says there are many benefits to using the no-till practice. Conservation tillage is the practice of leaving stalks and other residue from the current year’s crop on the soil’s surface after harvest to protect it from wind and rain.Since 1990, the total number of acres in conservation tillage in Iowa has almost doubled, while no-till acreage has increased by eight-hundred-percent. While no-till farming can help prevent soil erosion and water pollution, Beeler says there are other common-sense reasons to adopt the practice. He says no-till make is cheaper with the current price of fuel.The N-R-C-S report finds eight Iowa counties reported more than 100-thousand acres of no-till corn and soybeans each. The top county was Pottawattamie, followed by Cass, Marshall, Shelby, Jasper, Clinton, Page and Audubon.
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