4 Tactics to Prevent Farmland Soil Erosion
If you are thinking about purchasing farmland for sale in Florida, learning about soil conservation techniques is crucial to properly protecting your land investment. Soil erosion is a naturally occurring process of the Earth’s ecosystem. Top level soil is eroded by wind and water and new soil is formed, but new soil formation happens at a much slower rate. Dependent on the regional climate, it can take between 500 – 1000 years for one inch of new soil to form. As a result, rapid soil erosion can be a major problem for farmland owners. On average, American croplands lose 1.7 billion tons of soil each year, at an estimated cost of $37.6 billion annually due to lost productivity.
While Earth’s natural elements can not be controlled, there are steps that can be taken to promote soil conservation. After purchasing Florida farmland for sale, we recommend evaluating the benefits of these 4 tactics to assist in the prevention of accelerated soil erosion that can deplete your land’s nutrients and negatively affect crop cultivation.
1. Reduce Tillage
Reducing tillage allows crops to remain in the soil rather than being plowed at the end of a season. The benefit of no till farming is uninterruption to the soil structure, which leaves more residue on the surface to stand up against harsh water and wind conditions. This also allows crops to naturally breakdown within the soil. Soil remains secured in place, nutrient depletion is held to a minimum, and fertile top soil is greater protected against erosion.
2. Contour Farming
With contour farming, instead of planting crops in straight lines, crops are planted based on the contour lines of the field to create reservoirs that conserve rainwater and reduce top-level soil erosion. The practice of contour farming has been around for centuries, but its widespread adoption in the U.S. did not come about until the 1930s.
3. Cover Crops
Cover crops are implemented into crop rotations between planting seasons to maintain and enrich the soil with a full range of macronutrients and micronutrients and to shield the top soil against harmful weather conditions. Some common types of Florida cover crops include rye, ryegrass, wheat, and oats. For northern areas of Florida, cereal rye is commonly used as a cover crop because of it’s effective use as a windbreak.
Windbreaks are barriers created out of different natural material, such as trees and high shrubs. Windbreaks assist in slowing down and limiting the path of strong winds. In turn, this decreases the rate of wind erosion. Windbreaks are typically found in multiple perpendicular rows running adjacent to crop fields.
Soil erosion can cause big problems for farmland, but with proper conservation tactics in place, soil damage can be kept to a minimum. If you own farmland or are looking to purchase farmland for sale in Florida, we recommend consulting with a local conservationist or farmer to learn the most successful techniques for that particular climate and land topography.