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Narrow grass hedge effects on runoff and soil loss
- Gilley, J.E., Eghball, B., Kramer, L.A., Moorman, T.B.
- Journal of soil and water conservation 2000 v.55 no.2 pp. 190
- Panicum virgatum, runoff, water erosion, rain, tillage, no-tillage, crop residues, Zea mays, soil conservation, erosion control, width, Iowa
This rainfall simulation study provided information on the effects of 0.72 m (2.4 ft) wide switchgrass hedges located at the bottom of plots on runoff and soil loss under both no-till and tilled conditions. The study area, which had slopes ranging from 8 to 16%, had produced corn for 33 years and the grass hedges had been established for six years. Simulated rainfall [64 mm hr-1 (2.5 in hr-1)] was applied for two hours to plots [3.7 m (12 ft) wide by 10.7 m (35.1 ft) long] with corn residue and to plots where corn residue was removed. The narrow grass hedges substantially reduced runoff and soil loss. Under no-till conditions, the plots with corn residue and grass hedges averaged 52% less runoff and 53% less soil loss than similar plots without grass hedges. Under tilled conditions, the plots with corn residue and grass hedges averaged 22% less runoff and 57% less soil loss than comparable plots without grass hedges. The plots with corn residue removed but with grass hedges present averaged 41% less runoff and 63% less soil loss than similar plots without grass hedges. Narrow grass hedges are an effective conservation measure, especially when used in conjunction with such conservation practices as no-till or reduced-till farming systems.