quarters of the maize crops in the South West of
England are contributing towards flooding according
to a report in the Journal of Soil Use and Management.
area around the River Parrett in Somerset is particularly
vulnerable. Professor Bob Evans from Anglia Ruskin University in
Cambridge said: "The National Soil Map makes it clear that
some soils on the Parrett catchment are vulnerable to run-off.”
height of the maize crop and spraying early in its life produce
bare rows of earth. The ground is then compacted by very heavy cropping
machinery which increases the run off in winter rains. Because the
ground has been cultivated but left bare there is a significant
and unnecessary increase in the silt load of run-off
probably increased in the 1970s-80s because of the change in cropping
to winter cereals around that time," said Prof. Evans. "The
possibility of erosion occurring in winter cereals is one field
in 42, in maize it's one field in seven."
have indicated that they are considering new legislation for maize
cultivation which is currently outside soil management rules. The
siting of field entrances on higher ground and cover crops are obvious
improvements to affected fields.
There are government
rules on soil management of other crops but environmentalist say
that they are often ignored because farmers only face a 1% chance
of an inspection.