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Soil Quality Benefit with Residue Management

Highlights in Conservation icon

Soil Quality Benefit with Residue Management

The right equipment Great Plains Plow (under cutter) pictured above can help develop proper residue management in the soil.

The right equipment Great Plains Plow (under cutter) pictured above can help develop proper residue management in the soil.

Location icon
Whitman County

Project Summary icon
Soil, water and air resource protection while improving soil quality.

Conservation Partners icon
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Local Work Groups.

Resource Challenges icon
To identify and promote good residue and tillage management systems that provides resource protection and soil quality improvement.

Conservation Program Used icon
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) offered by NRCS, in 2007 targeted, identified and promoted residue management systems that provided a high level of resource protection. The problem some soil organic matter increased but would not meet Residue and Tillage Management No-Till/Strip Till/Direct Seed for the entire system.

Innovations and Highlights icon
Soil organic matter is an indicator of soil quality. Evaluating the planned systems’ biomass returned to the soil, intensity of tillage operations and soil erosion can predict trends in soil organic matter. NRCS Soil Conditioning Index (SCI) is used to evaluate planned systems. Thresholds for eligibility are determined after evaluating conservation tillage systems that local work groups and conservation planners want to promote.

Results and Accomplishments icon
Thirty one operators in five eastern Washington counties adopted Residue Management Mulch Till, Organic Matter Improvement systems in 2007. Recognizing the importance of soil organic matter and the associated soil quality benefits, this residue management system gives them many alternatives while still providing a high level of resource protection. Operators may change crops, rotation and operations to take advantage of timely moisture or crop markets, as long as the minimum SCI benefit is still met. Helping operators to improve their soil quality has many positive effects, on production and off-site water and air quality. It’s a win-win for the operator and the environment

Contact icon
Ann Swannack, Colfax Field Office, (509) 397-4301

NRCS, Fall 2007


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