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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Stetler, Larry
item Saxton, Keith

Submitted to: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/1/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: 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. The data show that by limiting horizontal soil erosion, emitted dust can be simultaneously reduced. 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.

Technical Abstract: Research to investigate relations between simultaneous processes of soil erosion by wind and PM-10 emissions from dry land fields on the Columbia Plateau, Washington, has been initiated by the US Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Washington State University. Dry land agriculture is the primary cropping system worldwide but is constantly threatened by erosive winds which reduce the soil resource and/or remove fines which are the most active soil portion for plant production. Soils on the Columbia Plateau are very fine-grained containing more than 4 percent of freely occurring aggregates or particles less than 10 um aerodynamic diameter. Analysis from eight wind events show that significant relations exist between total mass of soil in both horizontal (saltation) and vertical (suspension) transport. The data suggest that by limiting horizontal soil erosion, emitted dust can be simultaneously reduced. Aggressive conservation tillage can be an effective weapon in reducing soil erosion by maintaining surface residue and roughness.

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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