Location: Rangeland Resources & Systems ResearchTitle: Crop residue cover dynamics for wind erosion control in a dryland, no-till system
|SCHNARR, CASSANDRA - Colorado State University|
|SCHIPANSKI, MEAGAN - Colorado State University|
Submitted to: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/13/2021
Publication Date: 5/18/2022
Citation: Schnarr, C., Schipanski, M., Tatarko, J. 2022. Crop residue cover dynamics for wind erosion control in a dryland, no-till system. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 77(3):221-229. https://doi.org/10.2489/jswc.2022.00005.
Interpretive Summary: Among the benefits of dead crop vegetation on the soil after harvest is its influence on reducing soil wind erosion. The height and soil cover of these dead plants influence wind speeds and potential soil loss by wind erosion. Understanding the role of the type of crop and farming history in determining the amount of plant decay is useful to land managers and scientists for wind erosion prediction. We used a long-term crop research project to examine the influence of different crop types on plant soil cover over time in eastern Colorado. Results showed that winter wheat consistently produced more cover immediately after harvest, which also stayed on the surface almost twice as long as forage crops. The theory that the rate of dead plant decay decreases over time was supported for forage sorghum and forage millet, but not for wheat. The results of this study can aid in understanding plant decay for wind erosion prediction equations. In addition, the different decay rates for various crop types suggest that changes in crop rotations can have important effects for wind erosion control in the semi-arid Great Plains.
Technical Abstract: Among the benefits of crop residues is their influence on reducing soil wind erosion. Residue height and soil cover influence wind speeds and soil susceptibility to wind erosion events. Understanding the role of crop residue type and management history in minimizing residue loss can inform managers for improved residue retention and wind erosion modelers for better simulation of the residue decomposition process. We used a long-term cropping systems project, the Dryland Agroecosystem Project (DAP), to examine the influence of different crop types on temporal soil cover patterns in dryland no-till systems in eastern Colorado. Results showed that winter wheat (Triticum aestivum) consistently produced more residue cover immediately after harvest, cover that also persisted almost 2-fold longer than forage crop residues (Sorghum bicolor and Setaria italica). The hypothesis that an exponential decay model fit for residue cover was supported for forage sorghum and forage millet, but not for wheat. The results of this study can aid in refining models for wind erosion prediction. In addition, the different residue trajectories by crop type suggest that shifts in crop rotations within no-till management systems can have important implications for wind erosion control in the semi-arid Great Plains.