Soil salinity is a widespread concern in South Dakota and the Northern Great
Plains. Excessive soil salinity adversely affects crop production on
approximately 5-15 percent of the irrigated and dryland cropland in South
Dakota. The development of saline seeps is related to the geologic
formations: their salt content, structure, and water movement properties.
Side hill seeps are formed from the lateral flow of water through these
formations and are affected by crop rotations and management systems.
Conventional tillage systems such as wheat-fallow often allow water and salts to
move below the root zone and increase the acreage affected by salinization.
This process is especially prevalent in those years in which greater than normal
rainfall also occurs.