Cultivated Crops

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Vegetation is generally the most effective means of wind erosion control. Cultivated crops reduce wind velocity and hold soil against the tractive force of the wind. Woody plants, such as shrubs and trees, can be planted to reduce wind velocities over large areas. Whenever possible, cultural practices should be used before blowing starts, because wind erosion is easier to prevent than to arrest.

In general, close-growing crops are more efficient for erosion control than are intertilled crops. The crop effectiveness depends on the following factors:

• climatic conditions.

Pasture or meadow tend to accumulate soil from neighboring cultivated fields that is deposited by sedimentation. Field studies have shown that close-growing crops in the Texas Panhandle gained soil, but intertilled crops lost soil by wind erosion [39].

The best practice is to seed the crop normal to prevailing winds. A good crop rotation that maintains soil structure and conserves moisture is highly advisable. Crops adapted to soil and climate conditions and providing protection against blowing are also recommended. Stubble mulch farming and cover crops between intertilled crops in humid regions help control blowing until the plants become established. In dry regions, crops with low moisture requirements planted on summer fallow land may reduce the intensity of wind erosion. Vegetation should have the ability to grow on open sandy soils, the firmness against the prevailing winds and long life. It should also

• supply a dense cover during critical seasons,

• provide an obstruction to the wind that is as uniform as possible,

• reduce the surface wind velocity,

• form an abundance of crop residue.

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