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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Effects of Cropland Management Practices on Storm Runoff and Erosion

Authors
item Meyer, L
item Dabney, Seth
item Murphree Jr, Carl
item Harmon, William
item Grissinger, Earl

Submitted to: Management of Landscapes Disturbed by Channel Incision Stabilization Rehabi
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 7, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Six years of erosion-plot research showed that no-till crop production systems can effectively control erosion on many fields of upland silty soils. No-till for sorghum, corn, soybean, and cotton reduced soil loss by 70 to 90% or as compared to conventionally tilled soybean. The no-till systems also reduced runoff by several inches per year, especially those that included vetch as a cover crop. Reductions were greatest during years of high rainfall. Conservation production systems for major crops will enable farmers to farm erodible upland field while maintaining agricultural productivity and reducing downstream sediment problems. They also decrease storm runoff which increases water available for crop use and reduces flood flow rates downstream

Technical Abstract: Data collected from 16 erosion plots at the Nelson Farm during 1990-1995 show that soil conservation practices can decrease runoff and greatly reduce erosion on these highly erodible upland silty soils. As compared with conventional soybean, no-till for soybean, corn, or sorghum reduced soil loss by more than 80% and no-till for cotton by more than 70%. Ridge-till soybean was more than twice as erodible as no-till, while no-till soybean double-cropped with wheat was the least erodible of the eight systems studied. The measured erosion rates indicate that several of these conservation management practices are capable of keeping soil losses below tolerance limits for intensively cropped fields with steepnesses and lengths typical of those on DEC watersheds. Some practices also appreciably decreased runoff. Vetch planted as a cover crop with no-till sorghum or corn reduced runoff by several inches per year, and double-cropped soybean-wheat had less than 75% the runoff of conventional soybean. All no-till treatments had less runoff than conventional soybean. The greatest reductions from these conservation practices occurred during the years of higher runoff amounts

Last Modified: 12/20/2014
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