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sustainability, Big Sioux aquifer, nitrates, water quality


The overall goal of the SARE/Water Quality project was to determine whether economic incentives offered by recent environmental provisions of the Federal farm program are sufficient to induce Western Corn Belt/Northern Great Plains farmers in environmentally sensitive areas to adopt sustainable farming practices and systems. To attain this goal, four case farms were chosen to be involved in this study based on their size, soil types, cropping systems, topography, and management in the Big Sioux Aquifer study area. Case Farm No.3 is located in Minnehaha County and has corn, soybeans, oats, alfalfa, and clover. It is a dry-land operation that uses conventional tillage. The total operation consists of 168 acres, with 108 of the acres under the Water Quality Incentive program (WQIP) being focused on in the study. The acres are divided into two separate fields that are managed differently. A corn/soybean rotation is followed on the lower field and inorganic fertilizers were used. The upper field contains two different rotations. One rotation is a corn/oats,clover rotation and the other is a corn/oats,alf/alf/alf/alf/alf rotation. The majority of the soils on the lower field under WQIP are a combination of medium (Brandt), and coarse textured (La Prairie) soils. Both of these soils overlay a shallow drinking water aquifer. The upper field was mostly Moody soils (medium-textured). These soils don't overlay an aquifer, but contribute to the runoff onto the lower field.


Economics Pamphlet 95-3