The National Soil Erosion Research Laboratory
Tillage is the process of cutting loose, granulating, and turning over the soil. These actions greatly reduce the soil's overall resistance to detachment, through destruction of the soil structure and organic matter (particularly live and dead roots) which bind the soil particles together. Some tillage operations can temporarily reduce erosion by producing a rough, cloddy surface. This rough surface, along with crop residues, prevents both rain water and wind from carrying off soil and organic matter. However, with time as the soil surface becomes smoother, erosion increases again.