When we think about soil erosion, it is easy to see erosion caused by water as it cuts ditches through fields fills road ditches as it leaves the field, and clouds streams. However, there is another kind of erosion that displaces millions of tons of soil every year-wind erosion (Figure 1). Although prevalent, wind usually peaks during thunderstorms and changing of the seasons. Early spring and after harvest are when most wind erosion occurs. These windows of time have the least amount of cover.
There are several short- and long-term practices that can be done to help alleviate wind erosion. A helpful short-term practice is the use of cover crops planted in the late summer or early fall. This practice works well in soybean ground or on light soils. Residue from corn stalks left untouched and no-till planting can reduce the potential for soil lifting into the air with strong winds. Reduced tillage, especially in the fall, helps reduce wind erosion during winter. Long-term practices may include the planting of shelterbelts on the side of the most prevalent winds.
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