Design and Layout of Prairie STRIPS

1. Make a plan

  • Hold a meeting. Landowner, tenant, and Prairie STRIPS Consultant meet to discuss objectives, challenges, and a path to success.
  • Analyze field maps. Look at yield, contour, and LiDAR maps to determine STRIPS placement. STRIPS are most useful on steep slopes, and where overland flow of water is greatest.
  • Existing practices. Identify where existing practices such as terraces, CRP, or a riparian buffer are already in place.
  • STRIPS dimensions. Use crop production equipment width (sprayer, planter) and field characteristics to determine number of STRIPS, and their width (~30-60 feet), totaling around 10% of field area.
  • Accessibility. Ensure STRIPS will be accessible to a tractor and mower in the growing season for establishment management
  • Barriers to establishment. Identify where herbicides were applied that may carry over into seeding dates, or where allelopathic cover crops like rye might inhibit germination.

2. Apply for financial assistance (optional)

  • Apply for the Conservation Reserve Program with the Farm Service Agency. Details in How Prairie Pays.
  • Funding entity will provide a timeline for implementation.

3. Lay out prairie STRIPS

  • Measure and flag out locations of strips in the field.
  • Take GPS coordinates, and ensure that farm field navigation equipment is updated with prairie strip locations.
  • Avoid edges up and down vertical slopes, which may cause washouts.
  • Farmer and Landowner review and approve the flagged out STRIPS before the prairie is seeded.

Next Step: Prairie Seeding and Establishment


Reviewed by the STRIPS science team at Iowa State University for science/economic content related to prairie strips on April 3, 2018.