Biological Systems Engineering


Date of this Version



Publsihed in the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 52(3) (May-June 1997): 184-188.


This study was conducted to determine the effects of tillage on soil erosion potential and soil quality characteristics of a former Conservation Research Program (CRP) site. Following tillage, the study area in northern Mississippi was maintained in a fallow condition for nine months. Soil loss from simulated rainfall events was minimal on recently tilled plots and an adjoining, undisturbed CRP area. In contrast, soil loss from the former CRP site which had been tilled nine months previously was similar to values obtained before the CRP program when the area had been cropped for several years. Tillage and over-winter fallowing caused a degradation in soil quality resulting from the decomposition of biological nutrient reserves. The conservation and soil quality benefits derived from the CRP may rapidly decline once an area is tilled and then left fallow during the non-cropped period.