water and herbicide runoff by 50% or more.
Reduces soil erosion up to 90%.
Conserves soil moisture up to 2 inches.
Improves water infiltration.
Improves long-term productivity by
increasing soil organic matter.
Reduces soil compaction.
Improves water quality.
Sequesters carbon - Plowing releases
almost ten times as much carbon dioxide.
Improves air quality.
Provides food and cover for wildlife.
Reduces equipment maintenance costs by
as much as 5 dollars per acre.
Improves soil tilth.
Increases earthworm populations.
Equip combines or other harvesting machines with spreaders
capable of distributing residue over at least 80 percent of
the combine header width.
secondary removal of crop residue
by baling or
grazing. Retain the amount of residue needed to achieve the
Do not burn
by full width
tillage operations except for spot treatment of weeds or
limited use of undercutting operations, such as sweeps or
blades used to level ruts or alleviate compaction.
benefits to wildlife and improve equipment operation.
Coulters and/or double disk openers must be run at the
correct depth and speed to cut through surface residue and
place seed at the proper depth. Good slit closure is
required for soil seed contact.
residue disturbance in the row.
Disturb no more than 1/3 of the row width by nutrient
injection, row cleaning, planting, or other operations
during the cropping season.
may be attached to
the planters to move residue out of the row area and help
warm and dry the seedbed.
able to operate in high residue. Anhydrous injectors, manure
injectors, and similar equipment may need to be modified to
operate in high residue.
must be carefully
planned and implemented to maintain residues, control weeds,
and maximize yields. Other pests should be closely
monitored. Limit herbicide choices to non-incorporated.
If pesticides or
their containers are handled or applied improperly or if
unused portions are not disposed of safely, they may be
injurious to humans, domestic animals, desirable plants, and
fish or other wildfire. Follow the directions and heed all
precautions on the product label.
minimum of 50% surface cover
to retain soil
moisture for crop use by enhancing infiltration and reducing
Tips from Tennessee Farmers
Take test early. Sample in the fall and apply lime if
planting in sod,
perform chemical burn down well in advance of planting
(at least 2 months). In sod you may need to apply a
second burn down prior to planting.
rate by at
well in advance of cropping season.
obtain desired plant populations, proper seed depth, and
drill when changing seed.
Plant at later
yielding varieties and increase plant
populations even more to take advantage of higher yield
potentials on the best soils.
tolerant varieties on thin upland soils.
planting on wetter bottom soils.
soil temperature before planting.
On slopes greater than 7%, rows should be cross
slope or contoured.
Use treated seed
equipment. Proper application rates and
coverage are critical.
may be needed, especially with no-till corn in
Become very familiar with and follow label
as indicated by soil test.
Reduce application amounts of commercial nitrogen
fertilizers according to the residual nitrogen left from
previously grown legume crops (i.e., crimson clover,
vetch, soybeans, alfalfa).
Reduce application amounts of commercial
fertilizers according to the residual nutrients supplied
by manure. Manure application within the last two to
three years should be considered.
insects and weed competition. Be prepared to use control
measures when warranted.
Planting into small
grain. Plant crops following small grain
diagonally to the direction of small grain harvest.
Excerpts taken from NRCS Standards January 2000