ECM for Cropped Environments


By the end of this section the student/user will be able to:

     Describe erosion control measures for cropped environments.

Accompanying - Exercise: (For students to print off, complete, and turn in for a grade)

     Erosion Control Measures of Cropped Environments- Exercise (pdf)

Earlier in this lesson, some erosion control measures for construction lands were described. This section of the lesson will focus on erosion control measures of cropped environments.


Vegetative cover is the single most effective and economical measure to protect agricultural soil. The degree of soil protection depends on the cropping system and the vegetation type. The table below shows the erosion hazard of different cropping system compared to a control example of continuous clover. For example, the relative erosion hazard of leaving the soil fallow (land area left uncropped or unplanted) is 244 times that of continuous clover.

Degree of Erosion Hazard Relative to Continuous Clover

Cropping System

Relative Erosion Hazard







continuous corn


continuous clover


Source: Iowa State University;

Thinking Question:

From the above table, why is the erosion hazard rated higher in the corn-soybean rotation compared to that of continuous corn? Continuous soybean cropping is not listed in the table. How might the erosion hazard of a continuous soybean system compare to those listed in the table above? Justify your speculation.

Hint: See residue distribution difference in the erosion lesson at:

Residue Cover Percentage

Corn Residue Cover and Soybean Residue Cover