Conservation systems offer great potential for improving soil quality and reducing soil compaction. Compaction is reduced because there are fewer trips across the field with conservation tillage and smaller, lower horsepower tractors are used. Modern equipment, GPS and autosteer allow tillage to be limited to areas where it is needed. Controlling surface traffic also reduces soil compaction. Management is critical to avoid problems of herbicide and insecticide resistance by crop pests.
The many benefits of conservation practices result in more efficient and profitable crop production in the Southern Piedmont. Crop rotation, including production of forage crops where feasible, remains a helpful tool for efficient agriculture that protects the environment. There are opportunities to diversify crop rotations, such as including multi-year or perennial forage crops for use as animal feed and/or as sources for renewable energy production.