Soil & tillage research vol:64 issue:3-4 pages:189-201
Despite the fact that soil erosion by water causes considerable on-site and off-site problems, farmers in Europe are reluctant to adopt prevention and control measures when such measures require additional labour and material inputs. This paper documents the impact of multiple sowing of small grains on concentrated flow erosion rates and grain production for a winter triticale field (X Triticosecale Wittmack ex. A. Camus) in the Belgian loess belt. Multiple sowing refers to drilling more than once in zones of concentrated flow erosion in order to increase the total root mass in this zone. Multiple sowing strongly altered the morphology of erosion channels and reduced soil loss significantly. Statistical analysis confirmed that differences in channel dimensions could be explained by the seedling density. Doubling the root mass in the topsoil by multiple sowing' resulted on average in a reduction of soil loss by 42% for the whole growing season. For the winter period, soil loss reduction, mainly attributed to the triticale roots, amounted even to 53%, showing the tremendous impact of seedling roots on soil erosion by concentrated overland flow in the early stages of vegetation growth. Furthermore, total grain yield in the multiple drilled zones was not significantly smaller compared to the conventionally drilled parts of the field. Grain size of cereals was slightly smaller. The results of this case study indicate that double sowing in concentrated overland flow zones may be a viable soil erosion control technique. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.