Web-based program designs more efficient farm terrace layouts

May 21, 2009

From the time of the Babylonians to the Incas, terracing has been used to prevent water from eroding steep and hilly croplands. Designing terrace layouts can be time consuming and labor intensive. Now, University of Missouri researchers are developing a Web-based program that will design multiple farm terraces in a short time period. This technology will help farm experts choose the most efficient and cost-effective layout.

"Coupled with new computerized topographical information, the program would produce more alternative terrace layouts in a fraction of the time that manually devised plans require," said Allen Thompson, associate professor of in the MU College of Engineering.

Using information about a farm, such as perimeter, the area to be terraced and data on how water flows on the property, the program will quickly produce several possible ways to terrace the land. Without terraces to prevent , valuable topsoil can be washed away reducing farm productivity and polluting and lakes. Terracing and other social conservation techniques can significantly cut the amount of soil lost each year.

"The program will help determine the best locations to collect and drain water, tell users how far apart channels and berms (the shelves that form) should be and possibly provide specific heights for the berms," Thompson said. "This system should provide a simple way to help produce farmable terrace designs acceptable to both landowners and conservationists."

Currently, it can take farm experts an entire day to determine exactly where to place terraces within a 20-acre field. In contrast, this program would allow a person to plan several terrace options on a computer in an hour or two, Thompson said.

In the future, researchers hope the program will be able to produce plans with acceptable slopes as it smoothes any sharp curves along the terrace placement. This will ensure that the layouts are in accord with farm practices.

Source: University of Missouri-Columbia (news : web)

Explore further: Off-world manufacturing is a go with space printer

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Coast Guard gets wind farm power

Jun 22, 2006

Congress has reached an agreement concerning a proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm in Massachusetts, giving the U.S. Coast Guard oversight of the project.

Alternative farming cleans up water

Jul 19, 2007

Although the addition of nutrients to soil helps to maximize crop production, fertilizer can leach nutrients, polluting the water supply. A recent study by researchers at the University of Minnesota shows alternative cropping ...

Japanese scientists track bird flu strains

Jul 11, 2005

The Japanese government will destroy 8,500 chickens at a poultry farm in Bando, Ibaraki prefecture, after scientists found genes of the avian flu virus.

Field of germs: Food safety is in farm worker's hands

Feb 20, 2009

The recent salmonella outbreak linked to 575 illnesses and eight deaths across 43 states was shown to come from a dirty peanut processing plant in Georgia. And while it is essential for food processing plants to be clean ...

Recommended for you

Off-world manufacturing is a go with space printer

Dec 20, 2014

On Friday, the BBC reported on a NASA email exchange with a space station which involved astronauts on the International Space Station using their 3-D printer to make a wrench from instructions sent up in ...

First drone in Nevada test program crashes in demo

Dec 19, 2014

A drone testing program in Nevada is off to a bumpy start after the first unmanned aircraft authorized to fly without Federal Aviation Administration supervision crashed during a ceremony in Boulder City.

Fully automated: Thousands of blood samples every hour

Dec 19, 2014

Siemens is supplying automation technology for the longest and one of the most cutting-edge sample processing lines in any clinical laboratory. The line, or automation track, 200 meters long, in Marlborough, ...

Explainer: What is 4-D printing?

Dec 19, 2014

Additive manufacturing – or 3D printing – is 30 years old this year. Today, it's found not just in industry but in households, as the price of 3D printers has fallen below US$1,000. Knowing you can p ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.