Dust Blowing In The South

I’m so glad that Robin posted some information on Mother Nature’s influence especially related to the severe drought in the South.  This gives me the chance to piggyback off of that post and talk about wind erosion.  I work for the Engineering and Wind Erosion Research Unit in Manhattan, and one of the scientists I work for has an excellent collection of information and pictures that show the power and damage related to drought and dust storms. 

Any loose, dry, and bare soil can easily be picked up by the wind.  The drought conditions going on in Texas, Oklahoma, southern Kansas, and New Mexico are a huge risk for erosion and damage.  These are the exact conditions that preceded the Dust Bowl in the 30’s and other severe dust storms.  Although early spring is when dust storms are most likely, wind erosion is still a concern.

Strong winds not only remove the fertile topsoil from susceptible fields, but they also deposit it in huge amounts on crops and sandblast plants in the process, causing the necessary replanting or abandonment of fields.  Windbreaks, shelterbelts, crosswind strip-cropping, ridging, residue, and other methods of promoting surface roughness slow the wind velocity at the surface and keep topsoil from being picked up.  I have been working with the unit this summer to analyze some susceptible areas to wind erosion and develop site-specific prevention methods.  We are also conducting research to fine-tune a wind erosion prediction system developed by the unit. 

I hope you enjoy the info/pictures and keep those battling the weather in your thoughts!

In Sisterhood,

Michelle Busch

By Michelle Busch

Irrigation Ditch


3 inch removed leaves and plants standing on their roots

Pawnee County Kansas---1996




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Filed under Agriculture, Economics, Land, Sigma Alpha

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