Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #333223

Research Project: Sustainable Intensification of Grain and Biomass Cropping Systems using a Landscape-Based GxExM Approach

Location: Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research

Title: Terracing and contour farming

Author
item THOMPSON, ALLEN - University Of Missouri
item Sudduth, Kenneth - Ken

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/8/2017
Publication Date: 2/16/2018
Citation: Thompson, A.L., Sudduth, K.A. 2018. Terracing and contour farming. In: Delgado, J., Sassenrath, G., and Mueller, T. editors. Precision Conservation: Geospatial Techniques for Agricultural and Natural Resources Conservation. Agronomy Monograph 59, ASA and CSSA, Madison, WI. doi:10.2134/agronmonogr59.2016.0010.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.2134/agronmonogr59.2016.0010

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Terraces are earthen embankments constructed across the prevailing field land slope. They have been used in differing forms for thousands of years in an attempt to protect steep land slopes from runoff induced erosion. Contour farming, where tillage and planting create ridges and furrows at nearly right angles to the field slope, is encouraged to facilitate reduction in sheet and rill erosion with or without terraces. Precision farming concepts and technologies have modified agricultural practices by introducing new opportunities to apply spatial precision to field operations. Implementation of precision technology has potential to enhance the design and implementation of both terraces and contour farming practices. This book chapter reviews the basic concepts of terracing and contour farming and describes the application of geospatial data and analysis to the planning, design and implementation process. A case study shows that terrace systems designed using these new methods can meet functional requirements with increased efficiency and at a lower cost than those designed using traditional methods.