Measures for controlling erosion and keeping soil on the paddock include:

  • The use of cover crops.  This solution is particularly useful in flat paddocks.  A cover crop is any crop which is grown to be ploughed into the soil rather than harvested.  This incorporation of a crop back into the soil improvise quality and long term production.
  • Wheel track ripping.  These increase water infiltration and decrease soil movement.  On slopped land they are generally buttressed by a sediment control measure at the bottom of the paddock.
  • Contour drains which collect water runoff and discharge into a permanent drain.

The preparation and implementation of farm environmental management plans and nutrient budgets can enable the range of environmental impacts from a single farming operation to be identified and managed. However, the adoption of best practice farm management approaches at the individual farm level, will not necessarily be sufficient to reduce the impacts of farming activity at a catchment level, so that they are within the environmental carrying capacity of the catchment. This may require controls on the location of farming activity, on the use of fertilisers, and/or on stock numbers.

Horticultural activities may result in nutrients from fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides leaching from the soil into freshwater. Such impacts can be reduced by carefully matching fertiliser use to plant requirements and maintaining riparian margins.  Horticulture New Zealand has produced a code of practice guideline document which can be accessed here.


Example: Hawkes Bay - Wind erosion

Planting secondary crops alongside a regular vegetable crop can stabilise soil and reduce erosion. To address wind erosion some Hawke’s Bay growers have  planted “strips of maize within squash crops, while others in the region have used strips of cereals within onion crops to slow wind speeds and reduce wind erosion. An added benefit is that sensitive vegetable crops are protected from the abrasive effects of wind-blown soil.” 4161

Erosion deriving from water may also be modified by planting a temporary secondary cover crop to reduce erosion losses from fallow land between crops, with the soil further benefiting from the return of organic material back into the soil.

A useful resource from Horticulture New Zealand: “Holding it together” can be found by clicking here

  1. PR Johnstone, DR Wallace, N Arnold N, D Bloomer Holding it together – soils for sustainable vegetable production (Horticulture New Zealand, July 2011) at 24.

Last updated at 7:07PM on February 1, 2018