The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) was initially established as a cropland set-aside program offered by the United States Department of Agriculture in the 1985 Farm Bill. Over the past twenty years, priorities for this program shifted to support wildlife habitat, specifically nesting habitat, food and cover for upland birds. Due to this shift, many fields that are monocultures of cool season grasses such as smooth brome are now considered improper habitat for this program. Recently, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) has required owners of these properties to suppress cool season grasses and diversify the plant species present by inter-seeding the fields with desirable forbs. This management is intended to enhance wildlife habitat by increasing plant species and structural diversity as well as remove duff and control woody vegetation. While options for management are provided by the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), limited information exists on the effectiveness of herbicides and tillage in suppressing cool season grasses, establishing desirable forbs, and how these treatments can affect soil loss.
Soil Science Extension
University of Wisconsin Madison