In Episode 13 of the Iowa Learning Farms Conservation Chat, Jackie Comito sat down with Dr. Rick Cruse to dig into the science behind estimating soil erosion and the impacts of soil erosion on agriculture production and society as a whole. Rick is a Professor of Agronomy at Iowa State University and Director of the Iowa Water Center.
Rick leads a team looking to improve soil erosion estimates through the Iowa Daily Erosion Project. Most of the current erosion measurement tools only include sheet and rill erosion and exclude the larger gully erosion resulting from intense rain events.
Conservatively the estimate for annual soil loss per acre is 5 ton/acre, also known as the tolerable soil loss rate or T. However, the average rate of soil renewal is about 0.5 ton/acre/year. By these estimates the tolerable soil loss rate is 10 times that of the renewable rate! Rick and Jackie discuss the importance of unlinking tolerable and sustainable soil loss when addressing conservation planning and other farming decisions.
Check out the full podcast to learn more about the soil renewal process and Rick’s ideas for helping protect the soil from erosion. You can also watch the video below as Rick slow jams soil erosion!