Cropland

Sheet and rill erosion occurs when water begins to flow off the land. Sheet erosion is difficult to see because the soil is lost in a way similar to a few sheets of paper being peeled from a tablet. Rill erosion leaves definite marks where the soil has been washed away.

Ephemeral erosion is runoff water flowing from uneven landscapes tends to concentrate in natural, depressional channels. These channels can be reshaped and farmed across, but continued, concentrated flow takes away the soil. Eventually, a gully will form.

Gully erosion over time, heavy rains with gushing, concentrated runoff can seriously erode soil and create very large ditches or gullies on the land—thus, the term "gully washer" for a heavy rain.

How to slow erosion

A combination of ground cover and terraces offer excellent erosion control. Covering the ground prevents raindrops from bombarding the soil and dislodging soil particles. Grasses, legumes, crop residues, and trees and shrubs are most often used by farmers to protect the soil. The other basic way is to slow the water’s path down a hillside. If water is caught and detained on a hillside, such as it is with contoured and terraced fields, erosion will be reduced. Covering the ground is also a very effective way to control erosion by wind. It is the most commonly used method. Another way to reduce erosion by wind is with wind barriers.The barriers – most often natural windbreaks of planted trees and shrubs – break the wind. These barriers may be around farmsteads, as farmstead windbreaks, or in long rows as field windbreaks.

Take a closer look at these erosion control practices: