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Agricultural Research Center – Hays

Infiltration Measurement on Cover Crop Fields

Infiltration measurement on cover crop fields

Infiltration rate is an important soil quality indicator particularly for water-limited environments in the semiarid Great Plains. Soils with greater water infiltration will generate less runoff and store more water from precipitation for crops. Infiltration rates are strongly influenced by land management practices (example tillage, cover crops, crop rotation, residue management etc.).  No-tillage and cover crop practices build soil organic matter; improve soil structure and water infiltration.
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The photos above show infiltration measurements in May 2019 (using the Cornell Sprinkle Infiltrometer) on a cereal rye cover crop field near Hugoton, KS. This research is part of the applied soil management research project located in Hays (led by Dr. Obour) focused on cover crop management options to improve soil health and crop productivity in dryland systems in  Western Kansas.