The benefits of healthy soil in sustaining crop production are most evident when growing conditions are less than ideal. Healthy soils increase the capacity of crops to withstand weather variability, including short term extreme precipitation events and intra-seasonal drought. The extreme drought in 2012 resulted in variable yield reduction to corn and soybean production in Iowa with the worst impact on fields with conventional tillage systems (i.e., chisel plow, deep ripping, etc.). Increasingly highly variable weather conditions present increased risks to crops and require more careful attention to conservation planning to mitigate impacts on soil health and crop productivity.
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