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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Wind Erosion Losses as Related to Plant Silhouette and Soil Cover


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 86 No. 3, p. 550-553
    Received: Dec 21, 1992

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. J. D. Bilbro  and
  2. D. W. Fryrear
  1. Cropping Systems Res. Lab., USDA-ARS, P.O. Box 909, Big Spring, TX 79721-0909.



Wind erosion adversely affects soils, plants, animals, equipment, the environment, and people. Wind erosion can be minimized or prevented by either standing residue or flat residue cover. Our objective was to develop mathematical relationships between these two crop residue properties and soil loss ratio (SLR: soil loss from protected soil/soil loss from flat, bare soil), for more accurate predictions of wind erosion soil losses. Therefore, from a previously reported wind tunnel study (wind tunnel 1.1 m high, 0.51 m wide, and 5 m long) we took data for velocities ranging from 9.4 to 16.1 m s−1 and silhouette areas (S) of upright wood dowels (simulating plant stems) ranging from 31 to 813 cm2 m−2 of soil surface (washed sand <0.42 mm) and developed the following equation for standing residue and SLRs: SLRs = exp(−28.49 × S0.6413/V2.423) (r2 = 0.95), where S = stalk height (cm) × stalk diameter (cm) × stalk density (no. m−2) and V = wind velocity in m s−1 at a height of 0.61 m. We combined data from a second previously reported wind tunnel (0.9 m high, 0.6 m wide, and 7 m long) study in which the soil had been covered from 0.0 to 80.0% with wood dowels, artificial clods, or cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) gin trash with data from field studies published by other researchers for various soil types and soil coverages ranging from 8 to 95% with wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) residue or gravel, and developed the following equation for soil cover and SLRc: SLRc = exp(-0.04380 × psc) (r2 = 0.94), where psc is the percent of the soil that is covered by nonerodible material (e.g., soil aggregates, rocks, plant material). These equations should be useful to researchers developing and evaluating wind erosion models, prediction systems, and wind erosion control practices.

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