Land and Vegetation Management

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The following section provides details of the land and vegetation practices to be applied on your farm. Each practice specification has details on how to apply and maintain the practice for optimal performance.

The dairy will follow manure application setback distances for all fields and employ cover crops on all fields where corn will be grown.

PRACTICE SUMMARY POINTS

Install, operate, and maintain the following practices and/or structures following NRCS recommended practice standards and recommendations. For installation and as-built records, see specific design documents.

  • Follow all vegetative buffer specifications and operational guidelines. 
  • Install and maintain relay crop (22 lbs/acre) on corn fields at side-dress time. 

For more details on each practice, see specific practice management plans in this section.

NRCS PRACTICE SPECS

 

FILTER STRIP

OVERVIEW

A properly operated and maintained filter strip is an asset to your farm.  This filter strip was designed and installed to prevent contaminated runoff water from entering watercourses.  The performance life of this system can be assured and usually increased by developing and carrying out a good operation and maintenance program.
This practice will require you to perform periodic operation and maintenance to maintain satisfactory performance.  The following recommendations will help you in performing adequate operation and maintenance.

GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Maintain vigorous growth of desirable vegetative coverings. This includes reseeding, fertilization, and controlled application of herbicides when necessary. Periodic mowing may also be needed to control height.
  • Repair any erosion damage and divert all runoff until vegetation is established.
  • Limit livestock usage to vegetative growth periods.
  • If fences are installed, they shall be maintained to provide warning and/or prevent unauthorized human or livestock entry.
  • Limit traffic and do not use as a roadway.
  • Eradicate or otherwise remove all rodents or burrowing animals. Immediately repair any damage caused by their activity.
  • Apply insecticides for insect control as per the manufactures recommendations and precautions, as needed.
  • Immediately repair any vandalism, vehicular, or livestock damage.
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IRRIGATION WATER MANAGEMENT PLAN

Irrigation water management is applicable to all irrigated lands.

Application Rates and Frequencies

Currently, grass fields are irrigated during the dry season (June -September) as necessary. On average, grass fields receive approximately 1.0 inches of water per irrigation cycle. Fields are irrigated 4-5 times per season as needed. Irrigation rates and timing will vary depending on seasonal weather patterns and crop needs. See the attached irrigation schedule field sheets for an example for irrigation timings and rates.

General Guidelines 

The following guidelines should be followed when practicing irrigation on your fields:

  • Irrigation water shall be applied in accordance with federal, state, and local rules, laws, and regulations. Water shall not be applied in excess of the needs to meet the intended purpose. 
  • Measurement and determination of flow rate is a critical component of irrigation water management and shall be a part of all irrigation water management purposes. 
  • The irrigator or decision-maker must possess the knowledge, skills, and capabilities of management coupled with a properly designed, efficient and functioning irrigation system to reasonably achieve the purposes of irrigation water management. 
  • An irrigation system adapted for site conditions (soil, slope, crop grown, climate, water quantity and quality, air quality, etc.) must be available and capable of efficiently applying water to meet the intended purpose(s). 
  • Additional Guidelines to Manage Soil Moisture to Promote Desired Crop Response 
  • The following principles shall be applied for the various growth stages of your irrigated crop: 
  • The volume of water needed for each irrigation event shall be based on plant available water-holding capacity of the soil for the crop rooting depth, management allowed soil water depletion, irrigation efficiency, and water table contribution. 
  • The irrigation frequency shall be based on the volume of irrigation water needed and/or available to the crop, the rate of crop evapotranspiration, and effective precipitation. 
  • The application rate shall be based on the volume of water to be applied, the frequency of irrigation applications, soil infiltration and permeability characteristics, and the capacity of the irrigation system. 
  • Appropriate field adjustments shall be made for seasonal variations and field variability. 
  • Limited irrigation water supplies shall be managed to meet critical crop growth stages. 
  • When water supplies are estimated to be insufficient to meet even the critical crop growth stage, the irrigator or decision-maker shall modify plant populations, crop and variety selection, and/or irrigated acres to match available or anticipated water supplies. 
  • Application rates shall be consistent with local field conditions for long-term productivity of the soil. 
  • Water application shall be at rates that minimize transport of sediment, nutrients and chemicals to surface waters and that minimize transport of nutrients and chemicals to groundwater. 
  • Consider potential for spray drift and odors when applying agricultural waste waters. Timing of irrigation should be based on prevailing winds to reduce odor. In areas of high visibility, irrigating at night should be considered. 
  • Quality of irrigation water should be considered relative to its potential effect on the soil's physical and chemical properties, such as nitrate levels, pH, permeability, salinity, and structure. 

Operation and Maintenance

The operation and maintenance (O&M) aspects applicable to this standard consist of evaluating field available water holding capacity, changes in crop evapotranspiration rates, and changes in soil intake rates and then adjusting the volume, application rate, or frequency of water application to achieve the intended purpose(s).

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