3 Big Takeaways: Soil Health and Water Quality

The Current Webinar 45: Soil Health and Water Quality featured three professionals in agronomy and soil science who discussed their research on the connection between cover crops, tile drainage and tillage timing on nutrient management and sediment runoff.

Miss the webinar? Watch the full recording on our YouTube channel. Don’t have time to watch the recording? Not a problem – here are three big takeaways:

  1. Nathan Nelson from Kansas State University discussed his research exploring the impact of cover crops on phosphorus (P) loss from surface-broadcast fertilizer in no-till production systems. Through his work, Nelson found that the use of cover crops resulted in a 60-70% decrease in sediment loss, but had no major impact on total P loss in two of his study years. Nelson’s research showed that cover crops decreased particulate P, but increased dissolved P with fall broadcast fertilizer application.
  2. Steven Safferman, Michigan State University, and his team are researching a way to remove, and potentially recapture P from water. To do this, Safferman is exploring whether sorption media such as biochar & waste slag can effectively and efficiently remove soluble P from tile drain water during critical flow periods.
  3. Francisco Arriaga of UW-Madison Division of Extension is researching how no-tillage, conventional tillage, and cover crops impact soil health and water quality improvements. Arriaga and colleagues found that cover crops reduce runoff regardless of tillage, however there was a time effect. The presence of cover crops in October showed no difference in P loss, but reduced total P in April. Arriaga’s team found that a cereal rye cover crop improved soil function by reducing total runoff, reducing P losses and increasing aggregate stability.

You can watch the full webinar recording on the Network’s YouTube Channel. For more information on our speakers and the work presented in this webinar, please contact the presenters:

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