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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Principles to Predict and Control Wind Erosion and Dust Emissions from Farm Fields

Authors
item Saxton, Keith
item Stetler, Larry - WASHINGTON STATE UNIV.
item Horning, Lance - WASHINGTON STATE UNIV.

Submitted to: Air and Waste Management Annual Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 1, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The physical interaction of winds and farm field surfaces is complex and variable, yet quite universal. Across regions such as the Columbia Plateau of eastern Washington, northern Oregon, and the Idaho panhandle, wind erosion from farm fields has been a common observation since farming began. But not all fields have the same susceptibility to having their topsoil stripped away by the wind. Cover, residue and roughness are all factors that influence the potential for wind erosion. Five Columbia Plateau soil classes were tested for erodibility to determine areas with the highest potential for erosion by wind. The wind tunnel results reaffirmed the effectiveness of field surface conditions to reduce the soil erosion potential of wind. With this understanding, farmers can more readily define and select their conservation measures and further develop farming systems which will reduce wind erosion and dust emissions and preserve their soil resource.

Technical Abstract: The physical interaction of winds and farm field surfaces is complex and variable, yet quite universal. Across regions such as the Columbia Plateau of eastern Washington, northern Oregon, and the Idaho panhandle, wind erosion from farm fields has been a common observation since farming began. But not all fields have the same susceptibility to having their topsoil stripped away by the wind. Cover, residue and roughness are all factors that influence the potential for wind erosion. Of the five Columbia Plateau soil classes tested, L1 was most erodible and L5 least erodible, with L1 from five to ten times more erosive than the other soils. Soil erodibility is a function of inherent physical properties which developed in response to climate, organic carbon, and field management. Our preliminary findings suggest that more detail than the traditional L1-L5 boundaries will be required for determining wind erosion and dust emission potentials. Additional analyses of dry and wet dispersed soil particle sizing and organic matter will provide more physically based relationships and definitions. Results from the wind tunnel reaffirmed the effectiveness of field surface conditions to reduce the soil erosion potential of wind. While soil characteristics largely determine its erodibility, residue cover and random roughness are the major controllable factors in farm fields which will reduce the wind erosion potential.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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