Corn rows help shelter snowy roads
Strategically placed rows of corn and a lot of teamwork are helping keep more rural roads open in central and southwestern Minnesota this winter by reducing the amount of snow blowing onto roads that are prone to drifting shut, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).
The standing corn rows are part of a MnDOT program started about 15 years ago that pays farmers to leave corn stalks up in the winter. The corn rows break the wind’s force, causing the snow to collect around the corn rows instead of drifting onto the roads. The rows improve driver visibility, road surface conditions and lower costs of road maintenance.
Under the MnDOT agreement, farmers leave a minimum of six rows of corn in the field in a snow trap area. They get reimbursed using a formula based on yield, production, costs, inconvenience factors and price of corn.
The program returns $14 in savings for plowing, equipment use and labor for every dollar invested.
Research conducted by MnDOT, the University of Minnesota Extension Service and the Center for Transportation Studies shows standing corn rows reduced the severity of injuries on curves by 40 percent.
Landowners who want more information about the standing corn row program can contact their MnDOT district office; contact information can be found at www.mndot.gov.
Additional information about the program is atwww.mndot.gov/environ ment/livingsnowfence/.