|MUTCHLER, CALVIN - RETIRED ARS EMPLOYEE
Submitted to: Mississippi Water Resources Research Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/14/2000
Publication Date: 4/18/2000
Interpretive Summary: Erosion of row-cropped land is a severe problem. A review of results under natural rainfall as well as from Laboratory and field experiments with simulated rainfall highlighted the effectiveness of crop residues in reducing soil erosion. General soil erosion processes were reviewed and the role of crop residues in reducing soil erosion was emphasized. The article shows that researchers have generally agreed on the following concepts: (1) the erosion process begins when raindrops strike the soil surface; (2) the erosion process can be divided into rill and interrill components; (3) many soils unprotected by cover exhibit a tendency to have a sealing effect, which results in reduced infiltration and increased runoff amounts; and (4) that plant canopy and surface residues are highly beneficial in reducing erosion. Cropping and management factors derived for use in the revised universal soil loss equation (RUSLE) for conservation tillage practices that maximize effective use of crop residues were considerably lower than those for conventional-till. These lower values then lead to lower soil loss predictions reflecting the benefits of crop residues in reducing soil erosion. The summary of these results will be useful to extension personnel, action agencies involved in conservation planning and soil loss prediction, and to farmers.
Technical Abstract: Erosion of row-cropped land is a severe problem.This article reviews some general soil erosion processes and emphasizes the role of crop residues in reducing soil erosion. Discussions include interrill erosion, rill erosion, surface seals, plant canopy, and tillage implements. Research results from laboratory experiments on soil erosion and field experiments help to appraise the effectiveness of crop residues in reducing cropland soil erosion. The article also discusses application of low cropping and management factor values used in the revised universal soil loss equation (RUSLE).