New Statistics Show Big Increase in Iowa Soil Conservation Efforts

Survey shows Iowa farmers are using soil-saving methods on more acres.

Published on: Jun 2, 2009

Iowa farmers used soil-saving conservation tillage on more than a million additional acres in 2007 according to the latest survey by the Conservation Technology Information Center (


New reports show these soil-saving measures which keep crop stubble on the field from year to year increased to 15.17 million acres, up 8.5% from the 2006 planting figures. On corn, conservation tillage was used on 6.44 million acres, up nearly 16% from the previous year. Soybean producers grew their conservation tillage on 8.54 million acres, up 5.2% from the year before. 


"Iowa farmers believe in protecting the land and the water, not just because it's the right thing to do. They depend on our natural resources to sustain them," says Iowa Farm Bureau Federation President Craig Lang. "Protecting our soil and water is a daily challenge; one that has been made more difficult by the historic rainfall we have had the last couple of years. But the continued efforts of farmers and additional funding for conservation practices can help us reach our goal of cleaner water."


Farmers are doing more than 'conservation tillage'


In order to be considered 'conservation tillage,' a farmer has to leave more than 30% residue on the field when they plant. But that's not all that Iowa farmers do to protect the soil and watershed; seven major conservation practices used on Iowa farms are estimated to remove as much as 38% of the total nitrogen, 28% of the nitrate and up to 58% of the phosphorus from Iowa's rivers, streams and lakes. 


Also, according to Iowa State University's Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowans invest about $435 million annually in these agricultural conservation practices. To view the CARD report, click on the following link: