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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Furrow Dikes

Authors
item Jones, O - TAES
item Baumhardt, Roland

Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Water Science
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: December 15, 2002
Publication Date: August 1, 2003
Citation: JONES, O.R., BAUMHARDT, R.L. FURROW DIKES. STEWART, B.A., HOWELL, T.A., EDITORS. MARCEL-DEKKER, INC., NEW YORK, NY. ENCYCLOPEDIA OF WATER SCIENCE. 2003. P. 317-320.

Interpretive Summary: Furrow dikes are small earthen dams formed periodically between furrow ridges or small basins created in the loosened soil after chisel tillage. Furrow diking is known as tied ridging, furrow damming, basin tillage, and basin listing. Dike basins reduce runoff from the soil surface to increase infiltration of rain or irrigation water for plant use. Furrow diking is a versatile soil and water conservation practice that has been adapted to dryland and irrigated crop production on gently sloping land in arid and semiarid areas. Poor weed control and keeping excess water on the soil surface can harm crop production, but dryland crop improve under conditions of: (a) annual or intensive cropping, (b) large rainfall/runoff events before or early in the growing season and (c) limited growing season precipitation.

Technical Abstract: Furrow dikes are small earthen dams formed periodically between the ridges of a ridge-furrow tillage system or, alternatively, small basins created in the loosened soil behind a ripper shank or chisel. The furrow diking is as tied ridging, furrow damming, basin tillage, basin listing and microbasin tillage. The dikes or basins prevent/store runoff on the soil surface, allowing the water to infiltrate; thus, decreasing storm or irrigation water losses and increasing plant available water in the soil. Furrow diking is a versatile soil and water conservation practice that has been adapted to dryland and irrigated crop production on gently sloping land in arid and semiarid areas. Economical equipment is available for furrow diking on most soils and crops. Cotton, sorghum, sunflower, and corn usually increased yields with furrow diking in field tests. Conditions conducive to dryland yield increases with furrow diking are (a) annual or intensive cropping, (b) large rainfall/runoff events before or early in th growing season and (c) limited growing season precipitation. Negative crop responses to furrow diking are usually due to poor weed control or to excess water retained on the soil surface, which prevents aeration or timely planting and tillage.

Last Modified: 7/27/2014
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