NRCS Eases Highly Erodible Land Rules

Agency issues an "area-wide variance" for residue requirements.

Published on: Oct 11, 2012

The South Dakota Natural Resources Conservation Service has granting an "area-wide variance" for minimum residue requirements on highly erodible lands (HEL) due to the drought.

The variance applies to all counties in South Dakota except Roberts County, if eligibility requirements are met.

The area-wide variance would be available for any untilled HEL fields where residue levels are less than required by the conservation plans due to drought or because residue has been harvested for forage (silage baled, grazed).

With the following exceptions, the variance would not apply to HEL fields that have been tilled and have inadequate residue levels since it is expected that tillage activities be reduced or eliminated in an attempt to ensure planned residue levels are met.

Variances to maintain residue cover on highly erodible land will be granted in nearly all South Dakota counties due to the drought.
Variances to maintain residue cover on highly erodible land will be granted in nearly all South Dakota counties due to the drought.

Exceptions would also apply to tilled HEL fields if:

•A cover crop or fall crop was planted immediately after fall tillage

•The only tillage was due to spring application of anhydrous ammonia with a narrow or low disturbance shank on 30-inch or wider spacings.

The variance will only apply if minimum residue levels identified in the HEL compliance plan are not met. HEL fields with adequate residue levels would be considered actively applying the conservation plan and would not need a variance.

For more information on the area-wide variance for HEL, contact Gerald Jasmer, South Dakota NRCS State Resource Conservationist, at 605-352-1234.

Source: SD Department of Agriculture