Volume 24, Number 3, April 2004
Page(s) 129 - 136
Agronomie 24 (2004) 129-136
DOI: 10.1051/agro:2004010

Grass strip effects on runoff and soil loss

Yves Le Bissonnaisa, Véronique Lecomtea, b and Olivier Cerdana, c

a  INRA, Science du Sol, BP 20619, Ardon, 45166 Olivet Cedex, France
b  Chambre d'Agriculture de Seine Maritime, BP 59, 76232 Bois Guillaume Cedex, France
c  BRGM ARN/MSO, 3 Av. Claude Guillemin, 45060 Orléans Cedex, France

(Received 1st January 2003; accepted 22 January 2004)

Abstract - The effects of grass strips on runoff interception, sediment trapping and soil loss were studied during two agricultural seasons. Field studies, conducted on loamy soil susceptible to sealing, allowed the comparison of three situations corresponding to buffer strip widths of 0, 3 and 6 m located at the downslope end of a winter wheat field. In 1997-98 the 6-m grass strips led to an average increase in infiltration of 87% with a coefficient of variation of 16% in comparison with a situation where no grass strip was present. The 3-m grass strip showed a slightly lower and more variable efficiency (average: 80%, coefficient of variation: 19% in 97/98). Maximum grass strip infiltrability was estimated at about 50  mm/h. Grass strips reduced the event mean sediment concentration by a factor of four on average. Sediments deposited in the grass strip were enriched in sand and coarse silt, whereas exported sediments contained twice as much clay and fine silt as the soil surface horizon. Net soil loss from the field was decreased by 76% in 96/97 and by 98% in 97/98 for the 6-m grass strip.

Key words: runoff / soil loss / grass strip / infiltration capacity / sediment trapping

Corresponding author: Yves Le Bissonnais

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2004