Terraces and Farming

29 May

There are terraces….

…and there are terraces!

Quite a difference!!!

We recently terraced some fields that were showing signs of erosion. I really enjoyed getting watching the terrace construction!  This picture shows the completed work…

Notice the small dams or berms which control and divert the flow of rain water.  Before terracing, “gully-washers” or excessive rainfall would wash valuable topsoil downhill and create ditches and gullies.

Now the water flows through tile inlets and is released downhill, but it took careful thought and planning to design the terraces and restore the soil for production…

Working from a detailed set of plans made from arial-photos, cad (computer assisted drawings) and gps maps, an engineer staked the site with flags so the bulldozer operator knows where to construct the terraces. Notice that every 10’ – 15’ there is a different elevation measurement.

I knew there was going to be some serious earth-moving when the big equipment moved in! The black coil is a roll of plastic tile-pipe. That is a fuel tank in the foreground. They are ready to roll…

The operator is stripping the black soil away. This is topsoil with the highest organic matter and is the most productive soil.

The topsoil is laid in windrows so that it can be restored later.  Notice the tile snaking across the field…

Constructing the terrace cores.

Trenching the tile lines.

Completed terrace with restored topsoil.

The yellow “dot” is the trash guard on top of the tile inlet. The guard slows the water flow and keeps trash and animals out. The outlet is downhill and releases the water through trees and sod.

And yes, you are exactly right, we could have stayed at THE TERRACES for quite some time for what it cost to build field terraces.  But saving valuable topsoil for future generations—priceless!

Though the corn and soybeans raised on this field will probably be fed to livestock, our sweet corn is raised across the road so I am including the recipe for a delicious CORN DIP Ryan Edwards’ mother, Vicki, served at his college graduation party picnic:


1 (12 oz) can Mexicorn

1 (12 oz) can Shoepeg Corn

½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup sour cream

2 cups shredded cheese

(I used cheddar, but suit your taste or your fridge)

1 bunch green onions, chopped

Dash of worchestershire sauce

Salt and pepper

Dash of garlic


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