“Now that the creeks are fenced back, we’re starting to see more quail.” More wildlife and better habitat are among the many reasons Floyd Kitchen lists for applying Conservation Practice 22 on his Crawford County farm. He and his neighbors took advantage of this federal Conservation Reserve Program practice, also known as “Riparian Forest Buffer,” to install wells, water lines and thousands of feet of fence. Now Floyd and his neighbors, all of whom practice management intensive grazing, are also getting better use of their upland acres. “We didn’t have water on the ridges,” Floyd says. “Our cattle had to come down to the creek.” CP22 pays up to 90 percent cost-share on all labor and materials necessary to protect forest streams. “It’s all a good deal,” Floyd says. To find out if your farm is eligible for CP22, contact your local Farm Service Agency office.
Native shrub thickets such as blackberry, wild plum and shrub dogwood can be made usable again for bobwhite quail by simply eradicating tall fescue or other sod-forming grass from underneath. In the fall, after a heavy freeze and the leaves have dropped from the shrub, spray the sod-infested area with glyphosate-based herbicide. Make sure to spray the area around the existing shrub thicket, too, since shrubs will quickly grow into the surrounding area.
If your yields thinned out along the hedgerows this fall, consider signing up for CP33. Research shows that this Conservatiomann Reserve Program practice, also known as “Habitat Buffers,” improves yields along field margins. To prove it, scientists compared ears of corn from the same farm, the same corn variety and the same inputs. The ear from the CP33 side was three times as large as the one from the timber-shaded side. Incentives include $100 per acre signup bonus, up to 90 percent cost-share, and an annual rental payment, depending on soil type. 2008 data show that incentives combined with increased crop yields more than pay for CP33 on three out of four farms. To see if your farm qualifies for CP33, contact your local Farm Service Agency office.
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