Slope is the inclination of the soil surface from the horizontal expressed as a percentage. The slope influences runoff velocity, erosion, and the ease with which machinery can be used. Steep slopes limit application methods and rates and machinery choices. Runoff velocity, soil carrying capacity of runoff, and potential water erosion increase as slopes become steeper.
Limitations for the application of agricultural wastes are slight if the slope is less than 8 percent, moderate if it is 8 to 15 percent, and severe if it is more than 15 percent. Agricultural wastes applied to soils that have moderate limitations should be incorporated. This minimizes erosion and transport of waste materials by runoff, thus reducing the potential for surface water contamination.
Soils that have severe slope limitations have limited cropping potential and are subject to excessive runoff and erosion. Agricultural wastes should be incorporated into these soils as soon as possible to reduce the potential for surface water contamination. Conservation practices that reduce potential water erosion and runoff help prevent the erosion and transport of agricultural wastes and should be incorporated in the agricultural waste management system.
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