Iowa farmers advised to let soil rest for the fall


October 11th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) – Soil experts are advising Iowa farmers to let their drought-degraded soil rest this fall.  The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports that the experts say tilling the soil soon after harvest will further dry the topsoil and raise the potential for erosion.  Decorah farmer Paul Johnson, who used to head the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, told The Gazette farmers “all remember the black ditches that used to be common in the winter when we did a lot of fall plowing. We need to be careful this year.”

Jason Johnson says fall fertilizer application could be counterproductive as well. He says that because of the drought, crops didn’t use all of the applied nitrogen. He says disturbing the soil will just help waste the leftover.