Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Plant Science

First Advisor

Gary D. Lemme


Soil productivity is defined as the capacity of a soil to produce a specified plant or sequence of plants under a particular management system. Soil erosion is a threat to our agricultural productivity. Soil loss seldom improves the capacity of the affected soil to produce crops and often reduces the long-term crop production potential of that soil. It is estimated that 181 million acres of our nation’s 413 million acres of cropland are susceptible to erosion exceeding tolerable soil loss levels (T-values). This amount will continue to increase as more marginal land is put into production. However, the degree to which erosion reduces agricultural productivity varies with the type of soil, regional climatic conditions, management systems employed, and the type of crop grown. High rates ·or erosion on one soil may be detrimental to crop production whereas on another soil no significant yield reductions would be observed. Although many studies since the early 1940's have shown that erosion reduces yields, not until recently has the need to determine the causes of these yield reductions been fully recognized. Difficulty exists in detecting] productivity losses. One problem is that the reduction of soil productivity is often masked by increased fertilizer application and improved crop varieties. Another problem with detection is that productivity losses may proceed so slowly that yield reductions may not be recognized until the land is no longer capable of economically producing crops. (USDA-SEA 1981). The Joint Council on the Food and Agricultural Sciences lists a need to develop an understanding of the relationship between erosion and soil productivity as a research priority for 1985. A long range objective of the council is to promote the qualitative assessment of erosional impacts on cropland. According to the council, this can be accomplished by developing and validating quantitative models that will predict long-term changes of major soils in each region of the country due to soil erosion. The objectives of this study were: (l) to determine the effects o£ erosion on soil properties; (2) to determine the effects of erosion on continuous corn yields; and (3) to develop a prediction model investigating the influence of soil properties and erosion on corn yields.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Soil erosion
Soil productivity
Crop yields



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


No Copyright - United State