Soil is physically removed from farmland by a range of processes. Erosion is recognised as a major threat to the long term protection of soils. It is driven by a number of factors, rain falling on soil, wind blowing across dry, freshly-tilled soils and the tillage of sloping land are the main ones. Soil is also removed from fields on equipment and root crops.
The aim of this project is to identify the various factors, other than erosion events caused by water, which cause agricultural soil loss. The contribution of each to the total amount of agricultural soil lost per annum will also be assessed.
The Department requires a scoping study to be undertaken, to:
• Identify how these key factors contribute to significant agricultural soil loss,
• Assess the relative importance of these soil loss factors, compared to water erosion, in relation to location, the quantities of soil lost and the consequences (including economic costs),
• Identify how current mechanisms and advice on best practice for the control and mitigation of such soil loss could be improved,
• Identify and prioritise future R&D needs in this area,
This research will consider:
• immediate and long-term potential impacts (economic & environmental) of non water-driven soil losses,
• the effect of soil type, climate, topography and management regimes,
• the potential impacts of climate change on the identified mechanisms of soil loss.