Potential for wind erosion in alternative cropping systems
The potential for wind erosion in agricultural soils is a function of the distribution of aggregates at the surface, soil structure and moisture, and crop residue. These properties were measured in a cropping systems study designed to determine the effect of input level and crop diversity on sustainability and the potential for wind erosion. The experiment was established on a sandy loam soil in the Dark Brown Soil Zone at Scott Saskatchewan. Input levels were organic, reduced and high, while cropping-diversity levels were low diversity, diverse annual and diverse annual perennial. Differences in residue were attributed to the effect of tillage and the relative levels of productivity in the systems. Spring and fall tillage in organic systems reduced the amount of residue compared to reduced input systems. Levels of crop residue were low at the beginning of this study, and crop residue cover should be measured in future years to determine potential for erosion. Crop residue levels may not reflect the system's potential for soil erosion until two rotation cycles are complete. Relative treatment differences observed in the study, were similar to those calculated with of the Douglas-Rickman decomposition equation and tillage coefficients.
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