The Cannon River Agricultural Collaborative leverages the strengths and abilities of member organizations to support farmers in implementing practices that improve farm profitability, regenerate the soil, and improve water quality. The Collaborative is an expansion of Environmental Initiative’s unique watershed model, started in the Cedar River Watershed. This model brings together public, private, and non-profit representatives to work together in assisting farmers to adopt new practices that improve the soil, water and economic health of their farms.
The Collaborative connects farmers with the resources of its members with the end goal of certifying farmers through the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program.
Farm Management Practices
- Cover crops
- Grid sampling / Soil sampling
- Nitrogen Stabilizers
- Split Application
- Variable rate technology (VRT)
Cover crops improve soil health by adding organic matter to the soil and add nitrogen in a slow-release way that plants can handle, leading to less fertilizer waste. Cover crops can also act as mulches if managed correctly, improve the physical properties of soil physical properties, and attract beneficial insects and pollinators to your garden.
Grid sampling / Soil sampling
Soil sampling is used to determine the average nutrient status and to provide some measure of nutrient variability in a field. Grid sampling is a form of soil sampling that focuses on specific areas within fields. Both methods look for trends in soil fertilizer levels to other variables to precisely apply inputs.
Nitrogen stabilizer products help prevent nitrogen fertilizer loss while increasing how efficiently your crops use the fertilizer. Nitrogen stabilizers inhibit specific parts of the nitrogen cycle that lead to losses.
No-till farming is exactly what it sounds like, growing crops without disturbing the soil through conventional tillage. It increases the water that infiltrates the soil and the retention of organic matter while reducing soil erosion.
Split nitrogen application, the practice of dividing total nitrogen application into two or more treatments, which synchronizes nitrogen supply with a plant’s ability to use those nutrients, can help enhance efficiency, promote optimum yields and minimize nutrient loss.
Strip-tilling disturbs only the portion of the soil that will contain a seed row. It combines the benefits of conventional tillage with the soil-protecting advantages of no-till to the portions of your field not used for planting. Special equipment is required for strip tilling.
Variable rate technology (VRT)
Variable Rate Technologies allow for automated application of inputs on the landscape, including fertilizers, chemicals and seed. These technologies use data from maps, sensors and GPS to optimize crop production.