Conserving crop residue for erosion protection on summerfallow
Peer Reviewed StatusNon-Peer Reviewed
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Conserving crop residues on the soil surface has proven to be one of the most effective means of controlling wind erosion on summerfallow. Tillage practices are constantly changing and some recent trends have given rise to concern over their effect on wind erosion; namely the widespread use of mounted harrows on cultivators and use of higher tillage speeds. Results of these studies suggest that both practices decrease residue conservation on summerfallow. Use of mounted harrows deceased residue conservation by approximately 50 % compared with cultivators alone. Similarly, increasing tillage speeds from 5 to 10 to 15 km/h decreased residue conservation to approximately 50 and 30 %, respectively, of that conserved at 5 km/h. Depth of tillage had little effect on residue conservation after 2 operations but deeper tillage significantly reduced residues in subsequent operations. Where herbicides were substituted for tillage operations, both total and anchored residues increased as the number of tillage operations replaced was decreased. These results indicate that elimination of mounted harrows would have a very substantial impact on wind erosion. Where weed control needs to be enhanced, occasional use of trailed rod weeder attachments would be preferred. Reducing tillage speeds and minimizing depths of operation would also be beneficial. Where initial residue levels are, low, substituting herbicides for some or all tillage operations will likely be required to provide adequate protection.
Part OfSoils and Crops Workshop
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