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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 43 No. 4, p. 772-777
    Received: Oct 23, 1978
    Accepted: Mar 14, 1979

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Influence of Surface Roughness and Clod Size and Stability on Soil and Water Losses1

  1. C. B. Johnson,
  2. J. V. Mannering and
  3. W. C. Moldenhauer2



Rough cloddy surfaces increased infiltration and decreased soil erosion compared to smoother surfaces as determined by simulated rainfall studies. Overtilling reduced surface roughness and cloddiness. One field experiment showed that a rough surface decreased runoff by 77% and soil erosion by 89% of that from a smooth surface. Tillage of wet soil increased surface roughness, but another field experiment showed that clods resulting from plowing the soil when wet were quite unstable compared with clods from plowing nearer the upper plastic limit. Tilling of compacted soil results in greater cloddiness than tilling of uncompacted soils. However, a laboratory experiment showed that compacted loam clods were less resistant to breakdown by water drop energy than those from uncompacted soil. Compaction of silty clay loam and silty clay soils did not change their stability significantly. To be effective as an erosion control measure, soil clods must be large enough and stable enough to keep infiltration at a high level until the crop canopy covers the soil surface. These studies describe the size and stability necessary to maintain a high level of runoff and erosion control.

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