- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
In addition to researchers, the seven-minute video spotlights farmers and industry representatives with solid experience implementing the basic principles of conservation agriculture in California. Those principles are minimum soil disturbance, preservation of crop residues, diverse crop rotations, use of cover crops, integrated pest management, precision irrigation and controlled or limited mechanical traffic on soils.
“I saw a bumper sticker one time that said, ‘Stop treating your soil like dirt.’ That’s been my mantra now,” Yolo County farmer Fritz Durst says in the video. “I look and see what does my soil need, and that’s what I try to do.”
Dan Munk, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Fresno County, said conservation agriculture integrates soil management and water management practices.
“One of the things we’re finding is that, by preserving residue on the surface, we’re actually decreasing the amount of evaporation substantially during the season, thereby increasing water use efficiency,” Munk says.
Ron Harben, CASI executive board member, adds that, “It all starts by looking at conservation tillage as objectively as possible.”
Subsequent videos in the documentary series will do just that. The next episode, to be released Monday, Aug. 13, focuses on maintaining crop residues. Research has shown that residues from the previous crop or a winter cover crop helps improve the soil and reduces evaporation from the surface.
A complete table of contents for the six-part video documentary series is available online at http://ucanr.edu/documentary.