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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SOIL AND CROP MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS TO SUSTAIN AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION AND ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY IN THE NORTHERN GREAT PLAINS

Location: Soil Management Research

Title: Using landscape restoration to increase crop yield and improve soil quality on severely eroded hilltops in southwestern Manitoba

Authors
item Smith, Diane - UNIV. OF MANITOBA
item Lobb, David - UNIV. OF MANITOBA
item Schumacher, Thomas - SD STATE UNIV.
item Papiernik, Sharon
item Lindstrom, Michael

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: February 2, 2008
Publication Date: February 2, 2008
Citation: Smith, D., Lobb, D., Schumacher, T.E., Papiernik, S.K., Lindstrom, M.J. 2008. Using Landscape Restoration to Increase Crop Yield and Improve Soil Quality on Severely Eroded Hilltops in Southwestern Manitoba. In: Proceedings of the Manitoba Soil Science Society, January 31-February 1, 2008, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. p. 109-119.

Technical Abstract: Tillage erosion is the dominant soil erosion process in cultivated hilly landscapes in Western Canada. Organic-rich topsoil is removed from convex upper slope positions and accumulates in concave lower slope positions. The loss of topsoil on hilltops results in poor soil quality and ultimately a reduction in crop productivity. Landscape restoration is the practice of removing accumulated topsoil from lower slope areas and replacing it on the hilltops as a means to restore crop productivity in eroded landscapes. Four research sites were selected in southwestern Manitoba to examine the impacts of landscape restoration on crop yield and soil quality. In addition plots, yields increased by as much as 133% compared to control plots. Although there was a reduction in yield where topsoil was removed from lower slope positions at one of the three sites, there remained a 74% net increase overall. Nitrogen, phosphorus, sulphur, organic matter concentrations and moisture retained at field capacity were also significantly improved in addition plots. The results from this study demonstrate the positive impact of landscape restoration on soil quality and subsequent improvement in crop production. These benefits make landscape restoration an attractive practice and a promising new approach for producers to adopt in order to manage the negative influences of tillage erosion in cultivated hilly landscapes.

Last Modified: 4/21/2014
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