GARRETSON, S.D. (KELO) — During wind storms, you may have seen lots of dust in the air. A majority of that dust was top soil off of fields.

Farmers are experiencing two different types of erosion following recent storms: wind and rain erosion. However, some farmers who are implementing no-till practices in their operations say they experience less loss of top soil or erosion than those who conventionally till.

It’s been a windy year and farmers are experiencing a loss of top soil. In some cases, they are losing tons of top soil per acre.

“That’s the best soil from the field that it came from and its high in nutrients, its high in organic matter, and of course the whole world is talking about carbon now, that’s carbon rich soil. It’s a huge loss,” said Anthony Bly soil field specialist at SDSU Extension.

This soil loss is huge and can take centuries to recover from.

“I mean some of our soils don’t rejuvenate very quickly depending upon the soil forming factor and the climate that they’re in, the amount of moisture that they get and the amount of plants that they can grow every year,” said Bly.

But, for farmers like Bruce Carlson who practices no-till and cover cropping on their operations, they experiences less loss of top soil and minimal wind and rain erosion.

“I can’t say we that we are no erosion what-so-ever, I can’t say that. We have slowed it down a lot,”
said Carlson. “I’ve gone over a lot of the fields where we did have reels before and looked to see did we correct anything and I am seeing less and less of it all the time.”

“You can visibly see the differences in the field where erosion occurred in the conventional method where it’s not occurring in the conservation method,” said Bly.

Protecting the soil for generations to come.

“I’ve seen others that they are still doing the tillage and you know its worked for them,” said Carlson. “But it was just sad for me to see all of this top soil washing in places it shouldn’t be.”

“Everyone eats, so everyone has a steak in this issue. It’s just not the farmers themselves, it’s everybody,” said Bly.

If you are interested in learning more about conservation methods, both these farmers will be hosting the 2022 Soil Health School on their operations later this summer.