? on Farming in NE AR

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Ken Scharabok, May 7, 2005.

  1. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    I needed to make a quick trip up to the Springfield, MO area to pick up an eBay purchase. Traveled through northeast Arkansas on Highway 63. Some of the fields had ridges in them which appeared to have been made by scooping up dirt on both sides into a pile. These meandered around the field. Is this some type of flood irrigation method?
     
  2. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    they do it that way when they grow rice
     

  3. Cat

    Cat Well-Known Member

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    Here if they use terracing it's because the field is on the slope of a hill (sorry, KS doesn't have mountains...lol) and it's to prevent runoff, I believe. Maybe this is possible, too?!
     
  4. Ozarks_1

    Ozarks_1 Well-Known Member

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    mtman is correct.
     
  5. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    dw family planted rice in that part of ar. thats the way its done and over in the delta the closet thing to a mt is a ant hill
     
  6. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Those darn fire ants build pretty big hills!
     
  7. tikaani

    tikaani Well-Known Member

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    those are rice fields. the locals refer to them as mosquito farms
     
  8. EasyDay

    EasyDay Gimme a YAAAAY!

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    Boy, you aren't kidding! My family has been farming NE Ark for over 100 years. We mainly farm wheat, cotton, and soy beans. Then we decided to do some rice....and of course it was the acres across the road from the house instead of some that was miles away! Them skeeters would carry you away! They no longer only came out at night... middle of the day they'd start picking at you!

    It didn't pay off, and we quit with the rice. Very expensive adventure.

    Back on subject, yes to all those who said that those are furrows in rice fields. Yes, Ken, it is an irrigation method.
     
  9. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    While the terraces in Arkansas that you saw are no doubt rice fields as detailed in the posts, in Kansas we use terraces to control soil errosion. Fields that are terraced might otherwise have to be placed back into pastureland to control the errosion.

    In Kansas most all terraces are built using a single or double belt terracing machine. The machine is pulled by a large tractor. A disc thows the soil onto a conveyer which drops in onto the forming terrace. Soil is worked only from the uphill side. Terraces are built to slow the runoff, but are nevertheless built to drain, typically into a grassed waterway. Because of this terraces conform to the land shape and must be very carefully built so that they do not become ponds. That is why they appear to meander so.

    In addition to a belt terracer a road grader is used to help shape the actual terrace. To meet Soil Conservation Service guidlines the terrace can contain only a set degree of slope on the back and front side of the terrace. The top must be a certain width also. Some 25 years ago there was cost sharing funds available to help a farmer install terraces, I don't know if there is still cost sharing or not.

    The higher the percentage of grade of a field the closer together the terraces must be placed. Some of those small terraces are a real pain to farm. Lots of extra turning and implement overlapping. It costs extra to farm a terraced field, but I was once told that a terraced field will out yield one without by about 7%.

    I tried to find a photo of a Malsom brand belt terracer but didn't have any luck.

    To see terraces in Kansas go to http://maps.google.com then click onto satellite view. A search for Ellis, KS will easily show terraced fields.

    A search for Turon, KS doesn't show much in the line of terraced fields, but does show what center pivot irrigation fields look like from an aerial view. If you click and drag the map you can see that the pivot irrigation units can be set to cover only a part of a circle, such as 3/4ths or 1/2. Different crops show up as different greens. Browns are fallow land being prepared for a crop, or dried up pasture grasses from drought.

    A search for Ellis, Ks shows interesting county roads. They use crushed limestone on them which shows up on the aerial views as neatly painted lines.
    Did I mention that throughout Kansas there is typically a county road every mile, thus forming a gridwork of roads? The land between would be a section, i.e. 640 acres. Most sections can easily be viewed by the quarter section, i.e. 160 acres. You can also see some 80 acre and 40 acre fields.

    Sorry if I got off on a tangent there, just decided to toss in a little extra education.
     
  10. EasyDay

    EasyDay Gimme a YAAAAY!

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    Windy, the terraces you talk about are for hilly terrain and erosion issues. The area that Ken is talking about is in the Mississippi River delta area of NE Arkansas, and it's flat, flat, FLAT!!! (That's why I'm not moving back to the "home place", I like mountains.) These furrows are used to form broad beds of rice. They are used to control water flow to the various bed, and it is said that it also hinders pests from migrating from bed to another. I'd have to ask my uncle about that one.... he's the agri professional.
     
  11. Siryet

    Siryet In Remembrance

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    Actually the terraces are where we bury the city type folks who come here and try to change things their way LOL
    You know
    SSS