Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Bird Use and Nesting in Conventional,
Minimum-tillage, and Organic Cropland
The study took place in the Prairie Pothole Region of southeastern North Dakota
(Stewart and Kantrud 1974). The region is glaciated, gently-to-moderately rolling,
and is interspersed with small wetlands, which occupy some 10% of the land.
About 10-30% of the land is native grassland, and since 1990, an average of
5.6% of the cropland in these counties has been retired and planted to perennial
grass under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) (Kantrud 1993). Most of the
land is cropland that is devoted to small grains (primarily wheat and barley),
row crops (primarily sunflowers and corn), and fallow fields. Fallow fields
are normally treated with tillage or herbicides to reduce plant growth and increase
soil moisture and nutrients for crops planted the following year.
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