Conservation tillage has been very effective in slowing or stopping soil erosion.

That from Dr David Lobb, a professor at the University of Manitoba.

However, Lobb notes that stopping erosion doesn't mean soil is going to rebuild in areas such as hilltops.

dr david lobb smallDr. David Lobb

He had a few suggestions on improving biomass in those areas.

"Farmers have been putting all their manure or extra applications of manure on those eroded hilltops, which is a good way to get biomass back into that landscape...the other practice people can do is they can change their crop rotations but that may not fit in well to some people's cropping systems," commented Lobb. "The most immediate way and possibly the most cost-effective way is to actually move the topsoil back to the hilltops."

Lobb says this practice has been happening for decades in Europe and for generations in China.

He adds there is a big cost to doing nothing when it comes to soil erosion.

"The cost of what we've been doing over the last 30 or 40 years is quite substantial. The cost has increased, it hasn't decreased but as I point out, largely because of market situations and productivity situations where we're growing higher value crops and higher yielding crops so what was a 10 per cent yield loss back in the 1970's is not nearly as substantial as a yield loss now. In my analysis, even though I showed that the economic loss is tripled, in reality it could be much higher than that."

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