Our farm has fields that are both “on bottom ground” and “in the hills”. The bottom ground is near the river, and mostly flat land. Our hill ground is obviously in the hills and parts of the fields have some slope to them. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of land.
One of the conservation practices that we employ on our land is to have terraces on the contour of the hill which decreases soil erosion. In conjunction with the terraces, another practice we use is contour farming which means that we don’t farm over terraces, we farm with the curve of the terrace. The purpose of the terraces is to shorten the length of the slope of the hill. The combination of terraces and contour farming allows a reduction in the erosive energy that the water has as it travels down a hill. Therefore, the terrace helps to decrease soil erosion.
Terraces will naturally erode some overtime and need to be maintained. Every few years our terraces will be plowed to maintain their water holding capacity. The reason that plowing is effective in maintaining terraces is because it throws the soil sideways as the soil turns over. This throws the soil to the top of the terrace which makes the terrace bigger and builds it up. Here are some pictures of a terrace that was plowed earlier this week.
Although we are still in a drought in Kansas, the dry weather is allowing a lot of extra projects to be done over the winter. Over the next few weeks, I’ll share some of the other things that we’re doing during the winter months.