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Title: EFFECT OF NARROW GRASS STRIPS ON CONSERVATION RESERVE LAND CONVERTED TO CROPLAND

Author
item RAFFAELLE, JR, J
item McGregor, Keith
item Foster, George
item Cullum, Robert

Submitted to: Transactions of the ASAE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/25/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Many acres of highly erodible areas could soon be removed from the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and returned to crop production. Research is needed on the best conservation systems to use in returning grassland areas previously in the CRP to crop production. This study with simulated rainfall over three years provided information about soil loss rates occurring following the conversion of grassland plots to crop production. Simulated rainfall (64 mm/h) was applied for two hours to bare fallow, conventional-till, and no-till plots (with and without grass strips located across the bottom of plots) during the summers of 1993, 1994, and 1995. The plots had been in continuous grass since 1973 except in 1985 when no-till soybeans were grown on them and in 1986 when no-till grain sorghum was grown. This 3-year study showed that grass strips were effective in trapping sediment. The conventional-till plots with grass strips averaged 42, 66, and 72% less soil loss in 1993, 1994, and 1995, respectively, than that from conventional-till plots without grass strips. The no-till plots with the grass strips averaged 20, 64, and 57% less soil loss in 1993, 1994, and 1995, respectively, than from the no-till plots without grass strips. The bare fallow plots with grass strips averaged 65, 84, and 88% less soil loss in 1993, 1994, and 1995, respectively, than the bare fallow plots without the grass strips. Results from this study help in estimations of cropping and management ratios and erosion control supporting practice factors for use in soil loss predictions. Also, results from this study will help conservationists and farmers in conservation planning

Technical Abstract: Simulated rainfall of 64 mm/hour was applied during the summers of 1993- 1995 to no-till, bare fallow, and conventional-till plots with and without grass strips located across the bottom of plots. These studies were conducted on areas that had been in grassland. Narrow grass strips (about 0.6-m wide) across the bottom of 10% sloping conventional-till corn and bare fallow plots significantly reduced soil losses as compared to those occurring on similar plots without grass strips. Grass strips on no-till corn plots had low numerical soil loss reductions because the no-till soil loss values on plots without grass strips were low. The most dramatic reduction in the magnitude of soil losses due to grass strips occurred on the bare fallow plots because of the large soil losses on bare fallow plots. The grass strips also were very effective in reducing soil losses on conventional-till plots. Soil losses for bare fallow, conventional- till, and no-till plots with grass strips averaged 4.4, 2.7, and 0.3 t/ha , respectively, as compared to 26.8, 7.4, and 0.7 t/ha, respectively for similar plots without grass strips. The relative effectiveness of the no-till, and conventional-till treatments over time were illustrated with estimated soil loss ratios and estimated supporting conservation practice factors for use in soil loss prediction. Conservationists can use these data to help farmers plan for returning idle land to crop production