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Soil Health Minute: Rainfall simulator

Management makes a difference for water movement into and across soils during heavy rains. On this Soil Health Minute, Abbey Wick uses a rainfall simulator to show us how much water movement varies across different management approaches.

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Management makes a difference for water movement into and across soils during heavy rains. On this Soil Health Minute, Abbey Wick uses a rainfall simulator to show us how much water movement varies across different management approaches.

What we'll do today is use a rainfall simulator to talk about water movement into soil. So in these four pans we have the same soil type, just in different managements.

In the pans we have Moberg plow, CRP, recently converted CRP to cropland, and 15 years of no till. So what we'll see is how water moves across the surface in these front bins, and how water moves through the soil in the bins behind it. As you can see, this is simulating a pounding rain on some of these different soil management systems. So you can see in the Moberg plow pan, that soil is running off the surface and it's actually quite muddy in that first jug.

Underneath, there's very little water that's moving through that soil deeper into the soil profile.  On the CRP you can see that the water running off of the surface is quite clear, and a lot of that water is infiltrating through that soil, which would recharge deeper in the soil profile.   And the recently converted CRP, some of that disturbance is leading to a little bit of runoff, but then also water moving through that soil and still infiltrating.

On the last pan, we have wheat on a fifteen year no till soil. And you can see that the water that is running off is very clear, but most of the water is actually moving through that soil and infiltrating deeper into the soil profile.

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After one inch of water in this demonstration, you can see how the water either moves across the surface, or down through the soil profile. You can catch this demonstration on the NDSU soil health bus tour, taking place July 25th and 26th out of Valley City.  For more information, and get registered for the bus tour, you can go onto the NDSU soil health web page .

Related Topics: AGWEEKTVSOIL HEALTH
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