Date of this Version



© 1995, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


This NebGuide presents photographs and describes how to use the photo-comparison method to estimate the percentage of the soil surface covered with crop residue.

Leaving crop residue on the soil surface is the easiest and most cost-effective method of reducing soil erosion. Research in Nebraska and other midwestern states shows that leaving as little as 20 percent of the soil surface covered with crop residue can reduce soil erosion caused by rainfall and flowing water by one-half compared to residue-free conditions. Greater amounts of residue cover will further reduce erosion.