Jeff Hemenway, state agronomist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Huron, said lack of winterkill on lands planted last fall to winter wheat helped ease the kinds of soil losses that occurred in recent years.
Although much of the state lacked snow cover for long periods during the mild winter, crop residues have largely kept erosion in check, he
"It's surprising that we did not see the winterkill that we thought we were going to see because of the fluctuations in air temperatures earlier in the year without snow cover," Hemenway
It has been estimated that slightly more than 1 million acres of winter wheat will be harvested in South Dakota this summer, or nearly three times the harvested acreage of last year.
Any vegetation, including crop residues from no-till farming, stems soil loss during winter months, Hemenway
A biennial crop residue survey done in 2000 found that 22.2 percent of the 13,523,495 acres planted to all crops in the state were devoted to no-till, he
said.Ridge-till accounted for 1.1 percent of acres and mulch-till for 16.4 percent.
Conventional tillage that left residues of 15 percent to 30 percent accounted for 28.9 percent of planted acres, and the remaining 31.4 percent of cultivated acres had residues up to 15 percent.
"We've had a substantial number of acres go into no-till practices, and as that increases across the state, winter survival of winter wheat will go up substantially," Hemenway
"The most conducive fields for wind erosion are those that are lined and open and smooth and don't have any plant growth or residue at all," he
said."As the weather warms and we end up with a growing crop, erosion, especially from wind, goes down substantially."
Even though wind erosion generally peaks during the winter months, it is not unusual to have huge soil losses when the spring is especially cold and windy, he
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