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Competency Area 5: Soil conservation AEM

PO 46. Understand how agronomic management practices can reduce erosion.

  1. Tillage and crop residue management
  2. Crop rotations
  3. Cover cropping

Tillage and crop residue management

Clean tillage leaves the soil unprotected by burying all crop residue. Leaving more residue at the surface will protect the soil from erosion.  All tillage disturbs and loosens soil and this make the soil more sensitive to erosion.

 Crop rotations

Crop rotations can help control erosion by rotating perennials with annuals because the soil will not be tilled during the growth of the perennial. Rotations of crops with wide row spacing such as corn with crops with narrow row spacing such as small grains also helps combat erosion because the latter protect the soil better. If crops are planted in strips, the soil that is eroded from a bare strip will be caught in the strip with living vegetation below it.

 Cover cropping

Keeping the soil covered in the fall and winter protects it from erosion. The mulch left by the cover crop can protect the soil from erosion (if not plowed under). The cover crops help improve soil aggregate stability.