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How Prairie Strips Address Midwestern Farmer Challenges

Challenge #1 How can Prairie Strips reduce Soil Erosion?

The flumes pictured below are used to measure runoff from the STRIPS watersheds. Note the difference in the amount of sediment displaced between pictures 1, 2 and 3. Picture 1 represents a 100% no-till crop field with corn and soybean rotation compared to just 10% prairie treatment in picture 2 and 100% prairie in picture 3. Read more about How Prairie Strips Address Midwestern Farmer Challenges

Prairie Strip Installation and Establishment

Installation and Establishment

Prairie strips are most easily established in fields which have previously been used for tilled annual row crop production (Jarchow and Liebman, 2011). Seeding following soybeans is especially favored for prairie strip establishment because the tilled field will have a reduced seed bank of annual weed seed and the soybean stubble will decompose readily (Jarchow and Liebman, 2011).

Nonetheless, if the correct procedures are followed prairie can be easily established following any crop or land cover. Read more about Prairie Strip Installation and Establishment

Prairie Strips Consultants

The Become a Prairie Strips Consultant program for Technical Service Providers (TSPs), Certified Crop Advisers (CCAs), and other farm advisors offers education for supporting installation and maintenance of prairie strips. See our list of participants who completed the program at the Bluestem, Coneflower, and Prairie Clover levels as of October 18, 2 Read more about Prairie Strips Consultants

Why Prairie Strips?

Our cooperating farmers and farmland owners are best at explaining why and how prairie strips fit into the commercial farm environment. They are also passionate about sharing their perspectives with others. Click this link for a series of short interviews. Read more about Why Prairie Strips?

Research Overview

Helmers-Watkins-Liebman NSNWRThe STRIPS project began in 2003, when Iowa State University scientists began discussing the opportunity to test the effects of integrating restored prairie in crop fields with managers at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge. Together, the scientists and refuge managers established four different treatments on 12 small watersheds at Neal Smith in 2007. As of 2012, we're now also working on a growing number of commercial farm fields across Iowa and northern Missouri. Read more about the research background, farmer collaborators, and research topics here. Read more about Research Overview

Small changes = BIG impact!

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.

Interested in implementing prairie strips on your land? Contact prairiestrips@iastate.edu today!  Read more about Small changes = BIG impact!

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