Crop Residue

position statement

Soil and Water Conservation Society
South Dakota Chapter

Management of crop residue provides our best, most economical and easiest erosion control method for protecting the soil from wind and water erosion.

Residue is essential to maintain a fertile and productive soil and is largely responsible for
building and maintaining organic matter. Organic matter is often called the "life blood of the soil" and its presence is a measure of soil productivity. Plant residue itself is a source of plant nutrients and is essential to control erosion and maintain a fertile and productive soil.

Crop residue protects water supplies by increasing water infiltration and reducing sediment. It improves air quality by reducing wind erosion and ties up plant nutrients that would otherwise become pollutants in ground waters, lakes, and streams.

Residue improves the soil's tilth, increasing the water intake and holding capacity of the soil, for increased yields and lower production costs.


The value of crop residue for protecting fields and maintaining soil fertility for future food and fiber production is often misunderstood.

As a result crop residue is being used for livestock feed and for other commercial uses such as energy, building materials, plastics, and other synthetics. This widespread industrial use of crop residue is resulting in soil deterioration and destruction of the soil resource.


The South Dakota Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society is a voluntary organization of practicing land operators, professional conservationists, and other concerned citizens. Members share a common interest in advancing the science and art of good land and water use worldwide. The Chapter believes that good crop residue management is necessary for sound land use.

It is the position of the Chapter that:

For more information please contact:

Soil and Water Conservation Society, South Dakota Chapter, P.O. Box 794 Huron, SD 57350-0794