Soils in Dunn County

The Soil Survey of Dunn County was originally published in 1975. An update was issued in 2004. The soil survey contains information that affects land use planning and predictions of soil behavior for selected land uses. The survey highlights soil limitations, improvements needed to overcome the limitations, and the impact of selected land uses on the environment.

The southern part of Dunn County is made up of the Northern Mississippi Valley loess hills. The northern part of the county is similar to Central Wisconsin and Minnesota thin loess and till. Areas in the western part of the county are similar to eastern Iowa and Minnesota till Prairies. There are areas scattered throughout the central and southern parts of the county that are more similar to Wisconsin and Minnesota sandy outwash.

The calculated average soil losses for Dunn County continue to show very little change. Since 1999, Dunn County has used WI Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection's transect survey method to estimate soil erosion on agricultural land. Minor changes in the yearly calculated soil loss can be contributed to changes in the soil loss formula itself (which took place in 2008) and to changes in staff who conducted the survey. The data from the transect survey is used to assess soil erosion, cropping trends, and tillage methods. Soil erosion rates in Dunn County have not significantly changed over the past 12 years.


Soil erosion concerns are a twofold problem. When soil is eroded from an area, it is transported and deposited in another area. The original soil suffers the loss of some of its productivity when the upper layer is removed. The soil that is eroded is deposited as sediment in another location. If this sediment makes its way to surface water, the nutrients that were in the soil are now available to water loving plants including algae. It is necessary to reduce soil erosion for the sustainability of food and crop production. Sediment is also the number one source of nonpoint source pollution.

The percent of ground cover after planting is one of the management practices that can have a significant influence on soil erosion. The county is experiencing a steady increase of residue left after planting especially in the categories over 50%. Conservation planning efforts have and will continue to encourage producers to leave more than 30% residue.