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Conservation Corner

Submitted by Braedon Honetschlager, NRCS Soil Conservationist

The James River Soil Conservation is excited to introduce their new employee – Nicole Kluck. Nicole will be filling the role of District Operations Manager and is quickly learning the ropes of tree planning. But she is also excited to become involved in the other conservation efforts promoted by the James River SCD like providing technical assistance for improving natural resources throughout the county.

Nicole grew up in Western South Dakota, just outside of the Black Hills working on the family ranch raising cattle and sheep. A couple years after high school, she worked on a larger cattle ranch and extended her agricultural experience. After attending Ranching for Profit and other grassland management classes, she gained an interest in rangeland production - specifically shifting from production-based agriculture to more of a holistic agricultural view. After taking a three-year hiatus to Europe to further her education, she came back with an International Business degree as well as some Holistic Health Coaching training. If she’s not training horses or

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checking cows, you are likely to find her playing guitar and singing in a quiet corner of a bar or trekking through nature looking for interesting rocks, plants, bugs, and mushrooms, usually with a fishing pole in tow.

We look forward to the experience and knowledge Nicole will bring to our office!

The late summer cool season seeding date closed September 15th leaving dormant seeding as the only option until spring of next year. This dormant seeding window is open once the soil temperature hits 40 degrees Fahrenheit for a minimum of five consecutive days. This usually happens after November 1st. If you have any cool season grasses that you still want to get planted this year this will be your last option for planting.

The flooding that we experienced this last spring left a lot of farmers with much of their fields bright white with salinity. Most of these salinity spots destroy the cash crops planted there leaving nothing growing except common weeds like foxtail barley. These salinity spots, without proper management, will continue to grow in fields and continue to be unproductive acres for farmers.

A lot of times what NRCS recommends for these areas is putting it into a grass or into CRP with grasses that are very salt tolerant. The wheatgrass family are some of the best grasses to plant in these saline soils if someone did want to go the route of planting it to grass. Other options would be planting crops whose yields drop off less as your salinity goes up. Two of the best crops to plant would be barley or oats whose yields drop off less than most cash crops as the salinity increases. Corn and soybeans are two crops whose yields fall off fast when your salinity goes up even a little bit so try to stay away from planting these two in those saline spots.

Treating salinity is not an overnight accomplishment. It will usually take a couple of years for you to see the effects of proper management to see those areas reduced and hopefully gone from your field. If you wanted to read more on the subject, “Managing Saline Soils in North Dakota” is an article published by NDSU that goes through all the options you can use to help deal with salinity spots.

Dates to Remember:

October 10th – Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Office Closed

October 11th – SCD Board Meeting, 8 am, CBS’ Ellendale.

For more information contact the James River Soil Conservation District and Ellendale NRCS office at 349-3653, ext. 3. Our field office is in Ellendale at 51 N. 1st Street. Also, remember to visit the James River Soil Conservation District Facebook page and our websites for more information –http://www.jamesriverscd.org/ and http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/site/nd/home/. The NRCS is an equal opportunity employer, provider and lender.