What Is the Difference Between Contour Plowing and Terrace Farming?

When it really comes down to the topic of agriculture, there are typically two main methods that farmers usually use to essentially cultivate their land: terrace farming and contour plowings. Each one has its own unique benefits, but it can be rather difficult to figure out which one is the best option for specific situations. The question is what is the difference between contour plowing and terrace farming?

The main difference between contour plowing and terrace farming is that terrace farming is the practice of creating stepped terraces on top of sloped land while contour plowing is the actual practice of following the contours of the land while plowing.

For this purpose, terrace farming is mainly used to prevent soil erosion and to be able to make the most of the land’s potential, and contour plowing is used to prevent soil erosion, which means it makes the most of the land’s potential and is used to increase production. The benefits of terrace farming include improving soil quality and fertility, reduced water runoffs, and increase production. To learn more about the difference between contour plowing and terrace farming keep reading below.

What Is the Benefit Of Contour Plowing?

Contour plowing is essential for following the contours of the land that’s being plowed. This kind of method is mainly used to prevent the soil from erosion and to make the very most out of the land’s potential. Some of the benefits of contour plowing include the following:

  • It reduces water runoff
  • It increases production
  • It improves the soil quality and fertility

Procedure Of Contouring Plowing

The procedure of contour plowing includes the following:

  • First, the plow is drawn along the contour of the land being plowed
  • This essentially lifts up the soil and can create a furrow on the slope
  • And the actual size of the furrow solely depends on the overall length of the land and the gradient of the slope itself
  • Then the soil that was made from the furrow is used to create a kind of ridge on the other side of the slope that was made
  • Then of course the process of plowing is repeated until the entire field has been completely plowed.

What Is It Meant Of Terrace Farming?

Terrace farming is actually a practice of making stepped terraces on a sloped piece of land. This specific type of agriculture is only used to prevent soil erosion and to make the absolute most out of the land’s potential. Some of the benefits of terrace farming include the following:

  • It improves soil quality and the fertility
  • It reduces water runoff
  • It also increases production

The Procedure of Terrace Farming

Terrace farming is the most traditional way of agriculture which is essentially accomplished by taking sloping land and converting it into small flat levels. Within the type of farming, the overall soil is retained by constructing small walls of earth, concrete, or stone.

The number one purpose of terrace farming is to completely prevent soil from being washed away by rainfall or from being carried off by strong winds.

Some of the steps that involve terrace farming include the following:

  • Clearing all of the slopes: The very first step you have to take is by clearing the slopes of all trees and shrubs. This is necessary to make the land ready for the construction of the new terraces.
  • Making Contours: The very next step is to make sure you mark the contours of the slope. This can be done easily by utilizing a level or a spirit level.
  • Constructing The Terraces: Then you use the contours to construct the terraces. This can be done by bulldozing or using a tractor.
  • Filling The Terraces: The very next step to take is to fill the terraces with as much soil as possible. You can accomplish this by using a bulldozer or shoveling in the soil.
  • Cultivating The Land: The very last step is to cultivate the land. You can accomplish this step by using a plow or a tractor.

What Are the Two Types of Terrace Farming?

The types of terrace farming can actually vary. For one thing, they can be cross-channeled, steep, or braided. And they can have a narrow or broad base, as well as be parallel or perpendicular, and present at actually different gradients and outlets.

They can also vary from one country to another, and from one region to another of the same exact country. Mostly, making a terrace infrastructure can be a time-consuming process and the climate effects are even further.

For example, in Iraq, where they don’t have irrigation from natural springs, terracing, for now, is only economically viable in the higher precipitation areas that have seasonal rainfall. However, if areas with lower precipitation, terracing can be worthwhile in higher declivity areas.

The Two Types Of Terracing farming

Here are the two top terracing farming and they include:

  • Slopped terrace farmlands
  • Combination level terraced farmlands and their natural sloped land

Slopped Terrace Farmland

When riser dikes are built and farmers do not have the potential to level out their land for farming by plowing over many years, it gradually gets flattened. With land that has natural slopes, the overall spacing between riser dikes can vary.

The actual slopping terrace is way less effective than bench terracing in water and soil conversation. It is in fact more adaptable in regions where the per capita land is more available.

Combination Level Terraced Farmlands

It typically refers to the flattening of farmlands so that the rain and/or irrigation water can be evenly distributed over the field and the water runoff is minimized.

In Summary

Both terrace farming and contour plowing have their benefits. One is completely different than the other. But you can’t go wrong using either one of them. If you want to prevent erosion and water runoff you can expect it to be done with terrace farming. Hopefully, you have a better understatement of both of them.

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