Strips of prairie plants slow loss of soil, nutrients and water, double biodiversity

Matt Helmers from Iowa State University discusses STRIPS near a flume. Photo by Jane Hodgins, US Forest Service.

Newtown Square, PA, October 2, 2017 – A clean white plastic flume in an Iowa soybean field is testimony to a novel and possibly heretical idea: prairie plants, once plowed under by farmers growing corn and soybeans in the Midwest, yield benefits for farmers as well as the environment when integrated with rowcrops.

The flume is just one of many used on and near the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge east of Des Moines, Iowa, over the course of a decade of research called “Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips,” or STRIPS. Without strips of prairie plants arching down the sloped field of soybeans, the flume would likely have held several inches of soil after a heavy rain.

The STRIPS research team is led by Iowa State University, the USDA Forest Service, Leopold Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. A paper published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) describes research quantifying the effects of integrating strips of native prairie species amid corn […]

More about healthy soil and groundwater:

Building Roots for a More Water Secure California

Can American soil be brought back to life?

Benefits of Groundwater Recharge Demonstrated in Lodi Vineyards

Diverse forests are stronger against drought

Plant roots go to extreme lengths to find water

Summary
Strips of prairie plants slow loss of soil, nutrients and water, double biodiversity
Article Name
Strips of prairie plants slow loss of soil, nutrients and water, double biodiversity
Description
Prairie plants, once plowed under in Midwest corn and soybean fields, yield benefits for farmers as well as the environment when integrated with rowcrops.
Author
Publisher Name
USDA
Publisher Logo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.