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Here's how to reduce soil erosion

Editor's note: The following information was provided by Todd County Soil and Water Conservation District.

When evaluating a field for a producer, a conservationist from the Natural Resources Conservation Service will look at a variety of resource concerns including soil, water, air, plants, animals, human considerations and energy. All of these resources interact with each other and can be broken down into component parts. One component of soil resources that is a concern is erosion, which is explained further.

Erosion doesn't always happen on steep hillsides. Sheet and rill erosion is caused by management practices. The NRCS uses a tool to model the estimated amount of erosion. Depending if the erosion is induced by water or wind, a separate modeling tool is used. The input values for these tools include the crop rotation, yields, tillage and timing of soil disturbance.

Crops grown, tillage and the timing of fertilizer applications affect how much organic matter is in the soil. These tools can also be used to compare different management options for erosion, increasing or decreasing soil organic matter and energy consumption.

The amount of soil transported from concentrated flow (classic gully) is estimated by the length, width, depth and how long it has taken to form. The NRCS usea grassed waterways or water and sediment control basins to stabilize these soils.

When topsoil moves off the field, you are losing organic matter, fertilizer (phosphorus attaches to soil particles) and soil moisture. It negatively impacts the farms overall productivity and can cause water quality and other related issues.

Look for future articles about soil quality and the other resource concerns or visit the local NRCS office located at 607 9th ST NE in Long Prairie or call 320-732-6618 ext. 3 for more information.