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Tools For Predicting Soil Loss

Tools For Predicting Soil Loss

By Jen Weld and Sjoerd Willem Duiker

Tools such as PAOneStop can help farmers and landowners calculate soil loss. This creates an opportunity to understand how crop management changes can impact soil loss.

You need to understand your cropping practices and field characteristics when determining soil loss. However, using your crop management and field information to calculate soil loss can seem complicated. In our previous article, Predicting Soil Loss with RUSLE2  , we discussed the factors used in the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE2) calculation. When working with a soil conservation professional, RUSLE2 will typically be used to calculate soil loss. There is another tool designed specifically for Pennsylvania farmers and landowners, called PAOneStop, that can be used to calculate soil loss.

PAOneStop uses the same information as RUSLE2 but has a simplified user interface that streamlines entering your farm management information to help you calculate soil loss.

Specifically, PAOneStop

  1. Allows you to map the fields where you want to calculate soil loss
  2. Determines important field characteristics for soil loss calculation such as the predominant soil type, field slope, and slope length
  3. Allows you to build your crop rotation for your field
  4. Creates a map illustrating which fields have soil loss values above or below the tolerable soil loss value. For more information about tolerable soil loss values, see our recent article 
  5. Determines soil loss that can be used for development of Agricultural Erosion and Sediment Control Plans

As cropping management decisions are made, considering changes to soil loss can be important. Using tools such as PAOneStop can help you better connect your crop management decisions to soil loss determination. PAOneStop also allows you to evaluate the impact of changes in management yourself instead of having to rely on a conservation professional. 

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