Soil Erosion:

It Can Run Away With Your Farm!

Ok. You have now expanded your acreage, decided how you will use all of your acres and whether or not you will use chemicals. You have purchased your chemicals (if you are a conventional farmer) and your seed. You have purchased your machinery. You are all ready to plant your crops!! Well done!!

But wait...Whoa! You are having some serious soil erosion problems that you need to fix if you are going to have healthy crops!

Erosion is a process that removes soil layers and carries them away from farmer's fields to bodies of water or other land. Erosion results in the loss of valuable soil and its nutrients that are necessary for crops to grow. There are three primary kinds of erosion: wind, water, and tillage. In areas where the land is especially flat or dry, wind erosion is a problem. As wind blows it spreads soil particles across the land.
Water erosion may occur gradually during rainfall
or when winter snow melts in fields. It can
also happen suddenly during floods.
Erosion carries away nutrient-rich soil layers

Soil erosion and sedimentation
NRC Alternative Agriculture 1989: 209

Tillage erosion is mostly caused by the way a farmer tills the land. The kind of equipment a farmer uses, how often the farmer tills the fields, and how the farmer manages the fields during the winter months affect how much soil may be lost. Heavy machinery, frequent tilling, and lack of soil cover during winter months contributes to soil erosion

If the slope of the land is steep, all three kinds of erosion become more of a problem.

Let's do an experiment to understand how soil erosion happens!

Although water and wind erosion are caused primarily by natural elements, the farmer's tillage practices are also important.

Without soil you won't have crops....without crops you won't have a farm. Soil erosion can "run away with your farm," so you must figure out a way to stop it! Never fear! Since erosion has long been a big problem for farmers, they have developed many ways to deal with it. The kind of methods farmers use to farm their land and deal with soil erosion is another way that family farms differ! Let's go see what they are doing....maybe it will give you some ideas of your own!


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