Winter soil erosion

You might be surprised to know that topsoil erodes even in the winter when it is frozen. As you can see in the photograph from southern Minnesota where they do a lot of fall tillage, the topsoil does not stay put. Exactly how does topsoil move into the snow drift in the ditch in this photograph? Let me explain. This road between New Richland and Waldorf, Minnesota, runs east-west. The prevailing winds that bring snow in the upper Midwest are usually west/northwest winds. That means if the field on the north side of this road is loosened up by fall tillage, the wind, as it blows the snow into the ditch, will also pick up some of the soil particles and deposit them with the snow, into the ditch. This field was in corn last year, since you can see a little corn stubble showing up in the black topsoil. The farm operator chisel-plowed this field after harvest last fall.

The next question we have to ask is, so what if the soil erodes? Another related question is, is it possible to create new topsoil with conservation practices?



This is a photograph from February 8, 2017 on a state highway between New Richland and Waldorf, Minnesota. You can also see the snowmobile tracks in the snow.


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