Intensive tillage
leads to soil erosion. Soil erosion is described as the detachment and movement
of soil particles from point of origination through the action of water and
wind. Wind erosion is the more visible, though water erosion is the most
devastating. The loss of natural nutrients and
possible fertilizers directly affect crop emergence, and growth. Seeds can be disturbed or removed
and pesticides can be carried off. This means fewer nutrients for plants leading to reduced yields.

 

The soil quality, structure, stability, and texture are also affected,
which in turn affect the holding
capacity of the soil referred to water infiltration rate. This is due to the aggregate break down
and a decrease in soil organic matter. Soil water erosion has great
environmental implications as eroded soils can
inhibit the growth of seeds, bury seedlings, contribute to road damage, and even contaminate water sources.

 

Soil is one of the most
important natural resources farmers have. Without soil farmers cannot farm. As
with other important resources it is vital that they are protected or improved
for the benefit and sustainability of future generations. Once soil leaves a
farmers field it is gone forever. As soil erodes from farmer’s fields, the most
valuable part of the soil (the top soil) is lost.

 

The top soil typically
has more organic matter and more plant nutrients than the soil deeper in the
soil profile. Associated with the organic matter are billions of soil
micro-organisms. Micro-organisms are the “engine” that keeps a soil alive and
productive. Numerous scientific studies have shown that a soil with fewer
micro-organisms or a lower diversity of micro-organisms is less productive than
soils with a good balance. Erosion can be made more severe due to man’s
influences. Understanding the factors that influence soil erosion help us to
understand things we can do to reduce or even reverse soil erosion processes.

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