Conservation tillage in Georgia: economics and water resources

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Reeves, D. W.
Norfleet, M.L.
Abrahamson, D.A.
Schomberg, H. H.
Causarano, H.
Hawkins, G. L.
Hatcher, Kathryn J.
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Conservation tillage systems have proven effective in reducing soil erosion, but additional benefits to agricultural production, water quality and quantity, and on- and off-site impacts of water loss are often ignored. In spite of known benefits, no specific mention has been made of the use of conservation tillage in the development of the current statewide comprehensive water use plan. We estimate that water savings from the use of conservation tillage on cropland currently in conventional tillage could result in potentially enough water to support 2.8 million people annually in Georgia, and that off-site benefits associated with reduced erosion and improved water quality could be as great as $245 million annually. Based upon these potential benefits, conservation tillage needs to be considered in the formulation of the current policy to conserve and protect the state’s water supply for the future. Conservation tillage warrants recognition as a cost-effective practice to conserve Georgia’s water resources.
Sponsored by: Georgia Environmental Protection Division U.S. Geological Survey, Georgia Water Science Center U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia Water Resources Institute The University of Georgia, Water Resources Faculty
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