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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Potential Loss of Soil During Summer Fallow Associated with High Winds on the Columbia Plateau

item Sharratt, Brenton

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 28, 2006
Publication Date: September 28, 2006
Citation: Sharratt, B.S. 2006. Potential Loss of Soil During Summer Fallow Associated With High Winds on the Columbia Plateau. Meeting Abstract.

Technical Abstract: Winter wheat is produced every other year in the low precipitation zone (<300 mm annual precipitation) of the Columbia Plateau in the Pacific Northwest United States. During non crop years, summer fallow is employed to conserve soil water and control weeds. Land in summer fallow is very susceptible to wind erosion which contributes to poor air quality across the region. In fact, several locations in eastern Washington have failed to meet the US EPA national ambient air quality standard for PM10 (particulates less than 10 micrometers) due to elevated dust concentrations as a result of wind erosion. No studies have assessed the loss of soil or PM10 from agricultural fields during high wind events within the Columbia Plateau. Therefore, instrumentation was installed to measure the loss of soil (using BSNE airborne sediment samplers) and PM10 (using high volume air samplers) from a 9-ha field maintained in summer fallow during 2003 and 2004. Six high wind events occurred over the two year period, with soil loss ranging from 43 to 2320 kg ha-1. Suspension-sized particulates (<100 µm in diameter) comprised greater than or equal to 90% of the eroded sediment, indicating that direct suspension and not saltation was the dominant erosion process. The corresponding loss of PM10 ranged from 5 to 210 kg ha-1. Loss of PM10 comprised 9 to 12% of the total soil loss for the six events. Current investigations focus on tillage practices that will reduce the loss of topsoil and PM10 from summer fallow fields during high wind events.

Last Modified: 4/21/2015
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