(Posted Thu. Sep 22nd, 2016)

Keywords: Soil Health Partnership; SHP Sustainability

Top 5 Things Farmers Need to Know About Roots and Tiles   As cover crop acres increase throughout the Midwest, some farmers have questions about possible unintended consequences. Last spring, a few growers in Central Indiana reported tile blockages due to roots (See article).   Some assumed that cover crop roots were the culprit. Yet cover crop acres have increased the past five years, and almost no issues were reported in prior years. Cover crops significantly help reduce soil erosion, keep nutrients from leaching, and increase soil organic matter.   Here are the top 5 things farmers should know about potential roots in tile drains, according to the Soil Health Partnership:   Weather can be a major factor. The warm fall of 2015 and mild winter of 2016, followed by the very warm March and wet April resulted in more cover crop top growth and perhaps more root growth than normal.  An Ontario, Canada report suggested that roots grow downward in the soil profile to reach...