How do I find more information about prairie strips?
There are many ways to get more information about prairie strips. This website, www.prairiestrips.org, is a good place to start for these items: Read more about FAQ: How do I find more information about prairie strips?
How do the prairie strips treat sub-surface water flow?
Research as part of our project and other research on buffers and riparian buffers has found that when shallow subsurface flow interacts with the root zone under the prairie strip or other buffers, we can see significant reductions in the concentration of nitrate-nitrogen.
How will butterflies and bees find the prairie strips? Will they die when they get to the strips? Will treated seed kill the wildlife in the strips?
Butterflies and bees are attracted to the colors and scents of flowers within the strips. Flying above the crop pollinators will be able to locate the strips using these cues.
STRIPS stands for Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips. The STRIPS project is composed of a team of scientists, educators, farmers, and extension specialists working on the prairie strips farmland conservation practice. Our research shows that prairie strips are an affordable option for farmers and farm landowners seeking to garner multiple benefits. By converting 10% of a crop field to diverse, native perennials farmers and farmland owners can reduce the amount of soil leaving their fields by 95% and the amount of nitrogen leaving their fields through surface runoff by up to 85%. Prairie strips also provide habitat for wildlife, including pollinators and other beneficial insects.
Need more information on just what prairie strips are? Click here.
Or visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.
To watch a short movie about the history, design, and benefits of prairie strips please click here.
To find out about our team, mission, vision, and guiding principles: Read more.
To date, we’ve seen no effects of prairie strips on yields in adjacent cropped areas. Of course, converting cropland to prairie strips will reduce the amount of land that is cropped. Payments for prairie strips from federal conservation programs and other sources can help offset this cost. Read more about FAQ: Will prairie strips help increase my crop yield?
Iowa’s plentiful agriculture draws on the diminishing heritage of native prairies: rich soils, biodiversity, cleaned water and controlled erosion – services that are impaired by today’s agricultural practices. Are there practices that mix row-crop agriculture and prairie to develop win/win systems? The 6,400-acre Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge in Jasper County in central Iowa provided a unique opportunity for researchers to test practices on a "whole" watershed. Read more about FAQ: Why did you start your experiment at a National Wildlife Refuge?
Prairie strips will not completely eliminate erosion, and you may still need grass waterways. Data from our initial work at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge has shown that prairie strips can dramatically reduce sediment loss from the field, but there are still signs of in-field erosion, especially along the fall line of the watershed where a grass waterway could be quite effective. Read more about FAQ: Will prairie strips eliminate erosion completely?
Contour buffers are typically planted with fixed widths. In contrast, we vary the width of the prairie strips based on the amount of water they intercept, with the goal of treating all of the runoff leaving the crop field. Where more water is flowing down-slope, prairie strips should be wider, and where less water is flowing down-slope, the strips can be narrower. Read more about FAQ: How are prairie strips different from contour buffers and grass strips?