State climatologist says changing hydrological cycle is shifting farming practices

A climate scientist says defining climate-smart agricultural practices is ongoing.

Aaron Wilson with Ohio State University Extension tells Brownfield the trend toward wetter and warmer conditions is becoming more pronounced.

“The seasonal distribution is changing as well, so we’re seeing wetter winters, wetter springs, drier summers in a lot of areas of the Midwest from Iowa stretching through Illinois, Indiana, into Ohio as well, and then back to wet falls,” he explains.

He says farmers need practices to address water management along with increased weed and pest pressures.

“What are the practices that help us build resilience to increasing precipitation?” he asks.  “Is it no-till, is it cover crops, is it the conservation techniques that by the way improve soil quality, water quality?”

Since 1995, Ohio farmers have lost five days for fieldwork in April and October.  Wilson says management decisions and equipment sizes are adjusting to those smaller working windows as well.

USDA defines climate-smart practices as activities that store carbon and improve resilience and soil health.

Brownfield interviewed Wilson during this week’s Ohio Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference in Ada.

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