Good time to start: Fall farm practices for helping crops and water

Farmers can boost their yields and protect water, too, by using a set of best management practices when applying fertilizer this fall, says a team of OARDC and other experts. The team, which has studied and refined the practices, is sharing details on them with farmers around Ohio.

“There are some immediate practices that people can implement this fall as they are making fertilizer applications that can help them continue to maximize yields while helping improve water quality,” said team member Greg LaBarge, field specialist with OARDC’s outreach partner, Ohio State University Extension (pictured).

“Some of them can be done at no additional cost, while others can be offset through cost share programs.”

One key practice is to follow the research-based Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations for Corn, Soybeans, Wheat and Alfalfa, which, like the other practices, is designed to cut the risk of nutrients getting into water.

“Doing soil testing and following Tri-State recommendations will not add additional costs to farmers, but they result in benefits to water quality.”—Greg LaBarge

Best practices based on best science

  • Other best practices, for example, include testing soil, avoiding winter application of fertilizer and manure, and minimizing the movement of water from a field.
  • In addition to OARDC and OSU Extension, team members are also from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service.
  • The team’s recommendations have been reviewed by the state technical committee of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
  • To contact the source: Greg LaBarge at

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