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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Soil Conservation Limitations on Removal of Crop Residues for Energy Production1


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 8 No. 4, p. 533-537
    Received: Dec 21, 1978

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  1. M. J. Lindstrom,
  2. E. L. Skidmore,
  3. S. C. Gupta and
  4. C. A. Onstad2



Potential soil erosion by water for Major Land Resource Areas (MLRA) in the Corn Belt and by wind in the Great Plains was calculated using the Universal Soil Loss Equation and the Wind Erosion Equation for current cropping practices. Crop statistics and components of the erosion equations were obtained from the States Crop Reporting Service, Soil Conservation Service, and information available from related literature. The calculations showed that only limited quantites of residue can safely be removed from either region because of soil erosion potentials. In the Corn Belt under conventional tillage with all residues removed only 36%o of the cultivated area would have a soil loss at less than the soil loss tolerance (T) level. Residue and tillage management can increase the area adequately protected to 78%. In the Great Plains only 40 and 56% of the cultivated area produce enough residue to hold soil loss by wind at 6.7 and 11.2 metric tons/ha per year, respectively, when the fields are wide and the soil surface is smooth, i.e., K = 1.0. Increasing soil surface roughness, K = 0.5, increases the cultivated area to 81% where enough residue is produced to maintain a soil loss level of 11.2 metric tons/ha per year.

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