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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 68 No. 5, p. 1689-1694
    Received: Dec 4, 2003

    * Corresponding author(s): blanco.16@osu.edu
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Soil Berms as an Alternative to Steel Plate Borders for Runoff Plots

  1. Humberto Blanco-Canqui *a,
  2. C. J. Gantzerb,
  3. S. H. Andersonb and
  4. A. L. Thompsonc
  1. a School of Natural Resources, The Ohio State Univ., 2021 Coffey Rd., Columbus, OH 43210-1085
    b Environmental Soil Sci., 302 Anheuser-Busch Natural Resources Building, Univ. of Missouri–Columbia, Columbia, MO 65211
    c 251 Agricultural Engineering Building, Univ. of Missouri–Columbia, Columbia, MO 65211


Steel plates are often used to border runoff-erosion plots, but they are difficult to install and are expensive. This study assessed the effectiveness of using polyacrylamide (PAM; 2-propenamide, homopolymer) treated soil with and without geotextile fabric (GF) for soil berm plot borders in laboratory and field conditions. Hemispherically shaped soil berms of 250 mm wide by 150 mm high were constructed in erosion boxes. Erosion and runoff from untreated berms, berms treated with 9 kg ha−1 of PAM, and berms treated with 9 kg ha−1 of PAM and covered with GF (PAM-GF) were measured under simulated rainfall. A dry simulation run was conducted for 1 h followed by a wet simulation run after 24 h under field conditions. The PAM-GF reduced soil erosion from berms by 99% when compared with the untreated soil berm (control). Use of PAM alone reduced erosion from berms by ≈84%; however, erosion with PAM increased rapidly with time. Effectiveness of PAM alone decreased for reducing soil loss from 94% in the first 10 min of the 1-h dry run to 27% by the end of the 1-h wet run in field conditions. Although some runoff occurred from berms into the plots, this was insignificant for plot-to-berm ratios ≥10:1(P < 0.01). Results show that soil berms treated with PAM and GF reduced erosion to nondetectable levels. The cost for soil berm construction is about 10% of that for steel plate plot borders. The PAM-GF treated soil berms can be an economical alternative to conventional steel plate plot borders especially for short-term runoff studies.

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Copyright © 2004. Soil Science SocietySoil Science Society of America