How planting prairie strips on Iowa farms could save soil, water, wildlife and money — in-state and beyond


…researchers at Iowa State University have demonstrated that planting just 10 percent of a field of row crops, like corn or soybeans, with buffer strips of native prairie plants will reduce soil loss on that field by 95 percent. It also reduces runoff of phosphorus and nitrogen from fertilizer, a major source of water pollution, by almost as much. And it cuts the need for pesticides.

“Mother Nature is a pretty wonderful business partner,” said Seth Watkins, the first farmer to plant prairie strips as part of ISU’s “Science-Based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips” program, or STRIPS, as it is known.

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Sara WissingerComment