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Conservation Planning for Wind Erosion in Western Kansas

Conservation Planning for Wind Erosion in Western Kansas

by Robert Schiffner, Resource Conservationist
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Hays, Kansas

Wind erosion can cause crop loss, fertility loss, moisture loss, and loss of valuable top soil. Blowing soil causes dirt clouds, drifting sand, and hard feelings between neighbors. Blowing soil also cuts off growing crops, covers fences, closes roads, and gives rural and urban communities a bad perception of farmers.

Conservation plans can help prevent wind erosion by outlining a crop rotation, tillage methods, and conservation practices that will reduce wind erosion on your field(s). Conservation plans are as dynamic as your operation and can be adopted and changed to meet your changing farming operation.

If you can provide your local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) field office with land location, crop rotation, and tillage operations, this will provide them with a starting point to develop a conservation plan on your field(s).

There are numerous conservation practices that will reduce wind erosion on any field. Cropping rotations that allow increased high residue growing crops, conservation tillage that reduces the number of tillage operations leaving more residue on the field surface, field windbreaks that help reduce the wind blowing over the field surface, strip cropping which helps reduce the length of unsheltered distance in your field, wind barrier strips that help break up field lengths, and other conservation practices. These practices, alone or combined with others, will reduce wind erosion and save you money and top soil.

Depending on the conservation practices selected, most conservation practices can usually be incorporated right into your existing operation and rotation. There are conservation programs that will assist with the cost of certain practices to reduce wind erosion. Check with your local NRCS office to find out what programs are available to assist you with reducing wind erosion on your operation.

Contact your local NRCS office today to get your conservation plan or revisit your existing conservation plan to reduce wind erosion and become a better steward of the land. For more information about natural resources conservation, call or stop by your local NRCS office or conservation district office. The office is located at your local U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Service Center (listed in the telephone book under United States Government or on the internet at offices.usda.gov). More information is also available on the Kansas Web site at www.ks.nrcs.usda.gov. Follow us on Twitter @NRCS_Kansas. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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