A national survey finds Iowa farmers still lead the country in the use of conservation tillage practices, protecting millions of acres of cropland from erosion. Dennis Pate , a state conservationist at the Natural Resources Conservation Service, says Iowa’s ranking depends on which category of the survey you want to focus on. According to the 2002 Crop Residue Management Survey, Iowans used conservation tillage on 12-point-eight million acres last year. That’s more than 56-percent of the total cropped acreage in the state. No-till systems were used on about five-million acres. Pate says it’s important for farmers to practice these methods to preserve Iowa’s fertile soil. When the fall crop is plowed under and the land is left bare, it’s subject to erosion by wind and rain. He says leaving some of the residue on the surface after harvest is like the blanket on your bed, keeping the soil from washing and blowing away. Pate says no-till use in Iowa has skyrocketed in the past 12 years, rising one-thousand percent since 1990. Conservation tillage has risen better than 275-percent since 1990.
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