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    How does terrace farming help in soil conservation?

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    How does terrace farming help in soil conservation?


    Prevents water flow


    Prevents soil erosion only


    Prevents it from gathering speed and washing soil away


    Manipulates water flow

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    organic farming

    terrace cultivation, method of growing crops on sides of hills or mountains by planting on graduated terraces built into the slope. Though labour-intensive, the method has been employed effectively to maximize arable land area in variable terrains and to reduce soil erosion and water loss. In most systems the terrace is a low, flat ridge of earth built across the slope, with a channel for runoff water just above the ridge. Usually terraces are built on a slight grade so that the water caught in the channel moves slowly toward the terrace outlet. In areas where soils are able to

    organic farming


    Alternate titles: organic agriculture, organic gardening

    By Raoul Adamchak • Edit History

    organic farming See all media

    Related Topics: organic food cropping system

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    Read a brief summary of this topic

    organic farming, agricultural system that uses ecologically based pest controls and biological fertilizers derived largely from animal and plant wastes and nitrogen-fixing cover crops. Modern organic farming was developed as a response to the environmental harm caused by the use of chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers in conventional agriculture, and it has numerous ecological benefits.

    Compared with conventional agriculture, organic farming uses fewer pesticides, reduces soil erosion, decreases nitrate leaching into groundwater and surface water, and recycles animal wastes back into the farm. These benefits are counterbalanced by higher food costs for consumers and generally lower yields. Indeed, yields of organic crops have been found to be about 25 percent lower overall than conventionally grown crops, although this can vary considerably depending upon the type of crop. The challenge for future organic agriculture will be to maintain its environmental benefits, increase yields, and reduce prices while meeting the challenges of climate change and an increasing world population.


    The concepts of organic agriculture were developed in the early 1900s by Sir Albert Howard, F.H. King, Rudolf Steiner, and others who believed that the use of animal manures (often made into compost), cover crops, crop rotation, and biologically based pest controls resulted in a better farming system. Howard, having worked in India as an agricultural researcher, gained much inspiration from the traditional and sustainable farming practices he encountered there and advocated for their adoption in the West. Such practices were further promoted by various advocates—such as J.I. Rodale and his son Robert, in the 1940s and onward, who published Organic Gardening and Farming magazine and a number of texts on organic farming. The demand for organic food was stimulated in the 1960s by the publication of Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson, which documented the extent of environmental damage caused by insecticides.

    Organic food sales increased steadily from the late 20th century. Greater environmental awareness, coupled with concerns over the health impacts of pesticide residues and consumption of genetically modified (GMO) crops, fostered the growth of the organic sector. In the United States retail sales increased from $20.39 billion in 2008 to $47.9 billion in 2019, while sales in Europe reached more than $52 billion (€45 billion) in 2019.

    The price of organic food is generally higher than that of conventionally grown food. Depending on the product, the season, and the vagaries of supply and demand, the price of organic food can be anywhere from less than 10 percent below to more than 100 percent above that of conventionally grown produce.


    certified organic

    Organic agriculture is defined formally by governments. Farmers must be certified for their produce and products to be labeled “organic,” and there are specific organic standards for crops, animals, and wild-crafted products and for the processing of agricultural products. Organic standards in the European Union (EU) and the United States, for example, prohibit the use of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, ionizing radiation, sewage sludge, and genetically engineered plants or products. In the EU, organic certification and inspection is carried out by approved organic control bodies according to EU standards. Organic farming has been defined by the National Organic Standards of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) since 2000, and there are many accredited organic certifiers across the country.

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    Although most countries have their own programs for organic certification, certifiers in the EU or the United States can inspect and certify growers and processors for other countries. This is especially useful when products grown organically in Mexico, for example, are exported to the United States.

    Organic farming methods

    Organic farming methods Fertilizers


    Discover the benefits and drawbacks of organic farmingSee all videos for this article

    Since synthetic fertilizers are not used, building and maintaining a rich, living soil through the addition of organic matter is a priority for organic farmers. Organic matter can be applied through the application of manure, compost, and animal by-products, such as feather meal or blood meal. Due to the potential for harbouring human pathogens, the USDA National Organic Standards mandate that raw manure must be applied no later than 90 or 120 days before harvest, depending on whether the harvested part of the crop is in contact with the ground. Composted manure that has been turned 5 times in 15 days and reached temperatures between 55 and 77.2 °C (131 and 171 °F) has no restrictions on application times. Compost adds organic matter, providing a wide range of nutrients for plants, and adds beneficial microbes to the soil. Given that these nutrients are mostly in an unmineralized form that cannot be taken up by plants, soil microbes are needed to break down organic matter and transform nutrients into a bioavailable “mineralized” state. In comparison, synthetic fertilizers are already in mineralized form and can be taken up by plants directly.

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    Terrace Farming Advantages, Purpose, Types, And Specifics Of Use

    Terracing agriculture helps in soil conservation and addresses soil erosion. Modern terrace farming is easier to implement with online ag tools.


    Terrace Farming Purpose, Benefits, And Common Types


    Terrace farming is an efficient and often the only solution for hilly farmlands. Yet, its advantages are multifold. The importance of terrace farming goes far beyond cultivating lands that are not suitable for agriculture otherwise. Furthermore, terrace farming prevents soil erosion and contributes to soil conservation. Nowadays, the method allows growing versatile crops, and its management is more comfortable with online agricultural software.

    What Is Terrace Farming?

    Terracing is an agricultural practice that suggests rearranging farmlands or turning hills into farmlands by constructing specific ridged platforms. These platforms are called terraces.

    The essential (and distinguishing) feature of terracing agriculture is excavating and moving topsoil to form farmed areas and ridges. The trick is that water flows down to lower platforms when the upper ones are full. Thus, the amount of water is distributed more or less evenly, not just at the foot of the hill.

    Why is terracing necessary? Typically, the purpose of terrace farming on slopes is to decrease water flows and prevent soil erosion. However, using it in the mountains is not the only option. Opposite to graduated step-like platforms, there are relatively level ones on gentle slopes or wavy lands, which shows that terracing applies for different field elevations.

    Most Common Types Of Terraces

    Farmed areas in agricultural terracing are either level or tilted, depending on the soil infiltration properties. If soil infiltration is sufficient, they are made level. Typically, outlets are not required, too.

    The most popular terracing types in farming are , , and . Their choice depends on how steep the hill is. Correspondingly, not all the types imply farming of all terrace slopes.

    Broad-Base Terrace Farming

    The farming technique is suitable for the gentlest hills, and terrace cultivation embraces all the slopes. For this reason, they should suit machinery needs, and the terrace spacing is typically equal to the number of machinery swaths. Crossing the ridges is prohibited – the equipment is supposed to move between the terraces through designated passages. Broad-base terracing is applicable on slopes up to 8%.

    Grassed Back-Slope Terrace Farming

    The farming type is an example of perennial terracing. As the name suggests, the back slope cover is a perennial grass. In the given terrace farming technique, the back slope is not cultivated, unlike the main part. Typically, the main part includes the soil taken from the downhill upwards, with further leveling for farming.

    Narrow-Base Terrace Farming

    A terrace of this type is another example of perennial terracing, but in this case, permanent vegetation covers both the front and back sides. These parts are not cultivated. Like with the grassed back slope, the earth is usually moved from downhill. Yet, this is the steepest terracing type, requiring less amount of earth for platforms than others.

    Terrace alignment depends on the slope steepness and the soil type. In particular, it is not suitable when lands are prone to sliding.

    Terrace Farming Systems

    The commonly used terracing systems are , , and . Their names give an idea of their layout.

    Bench Terracing

    Bench systems in farming resemble benches or steps across the slope, with flat or almost flat farmed platforms arranged at regular intervals. Such regular arrangement is labor-consuming and suggests intensive soil disturbance. The slopes may consist of earth proper, covered with perennial vegetation, or may be fortified with stones.

    Bench terracing in agriculture is most common for growing rice since bench terraces allow retaining water. For this reason, such a terracing layout is not suitable in the cases like:

    crops are sensitive to waterlogging, e.g., potatoes;

    lands are prone to sliding;

    frequent rains characterize weather patterns in the area.

    Contour Terracing

    Like in contour strip farming, these terracing systems follow the relief contour. Terraces consist of point rows and grassed waterways. Even though such platforms require less input to arrange them, they are difficult for farming activities due to space irregularities.

    Parallel Terracing

    Parallel constructions are the easiest for farming activities, so they should be kept as parallel as possible. If the slope does not allow that, they are built through land-leveling operations. It facilitates machinery movement, yet it is labor-, cost-, and time-consuming. In this regard, sometimes it will make sense not to treat those parts but leave them under perennial cover or as grass waterways.

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