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Protect fields from wind

Years ago now, as I drove east on Hwy 564 heading home to Rockyford, AB, I saw in front of me a huge brown cloud sitting over the road. Being a city girl, I didn’t know what it was and pulled over to assess whether I should drive through it.

soil blowing
Spot the truck!

I looked for its source, but it seemed to be just there. Other cars were driving through in both directions. They didn’t seem harmed by it, so I went ahead.

When I heard the grit hitting my car, I had an epiphany. I was driving through dirt! Someone’s top soil was headed north east. I will never forget that first time I saw the effects of wind erosion on the prairie. 

We’ve come a long way since 1930, but there are still a few situations where soil erosion can happen and some answers we haven’t found yet.

According to an Alberta Government webpage, “Most soils require a 30% ground cover to prevent wind erosion. In the case of cereal crop residues, this is equivalent to about 900 to 1100 kg/ha (800 to 1000 lbs/ac) of residue. Highly erodible soils could require double this amount of residue.”

This webpage covers all aspects of wind erosion and offers ways to reduce its incidence on your farm. It addresses factors influencing wind erosion, control by crop and pasture management, and shelterbelts.

Other resources:
Agriculture Canada – Soil management
Agriculture Canada – Shelterbelt planning and establishment
Prairie Shelterbelt Program