Soil erosion

Soil erosion is a key issue across the SA Murray-Darling Basin natural resources management region, particularly during dry times and drought.

Wind erosion largely impacts upon sandier soils across the Mallee and Riverland Districts of the region, while water erosion is more prevalent in the waterways and hill slopes of the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges.

Managing soil erosion involves maintaining adequate vegetation cover to anchor the soil and prevent soil particles from becoming airborne.

The percentage of vegetation cover required to hold soil in place will vary with the texture and type of soil. However, a general rule of thumb is to maintain as a minimum cover to over 70% of the soil surface. The following images indicate what cover will look like in a pasture paddock.

 Image depicting 50 per cent ground to assist with minimising soil erosion  Image depicting 70 per cent ground to assist with minimising soil erosion
Above: Image depicting 50 per cent vegetation cover. Above: Image depicting 70 per cent vegetation cover.

For cereal and legume cropping land use it is strongly recommended that stubble retention practices such as no-til farming be adopted to provide the vegetation cover required to anchor the soil over summer and autumn when crops are not actively growing. Refer to two images below.

Farm equipment undertaking no-til farming practices   A paddock demonstrating no-til farming practices  

See the below link for reports and fact sheets on soil erosion.

Regional soil protection reports


Related links

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