Research Bulletin (Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station)


Conservation and improvement of the soil is one of the foremost problems facing farmers on the hilly Ida-Monona and associated soils that border the Missouri River bottomlands in western Iowa. Some changes in the present systems of farming, which center around grain crops and drylot fattening of cattle and hogs, are necessary to control serious gully and sheet erosion.

Several alternative ways are suggested by which old gullies can be controlled, new gullies prevented and the productivity of the soil maintained or improved. These are: use of crop rotations which include more acres of grass and legumes; a combination of better rotations and such practices as terracing and contouring; and a combination of better rotations, mechanical erosion-control practices and fertilizer. On 160-acre farms use of rotations alone to control erosion would limit the acreage of grain to about 35 acres of corn and 25 acres of oats. Although about 95 acres of hay and pasture in the crop rotation would increase the yields per acre of grain crops, the percentage decreases in acreage of grain would be much greater and total production of grain would be lowered. Total production of forage would be increased because of the larger acreage, but the increase in forage production would not be enough to offset the decrease in grain production.



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