Definitions for Contour plowing

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  1. Contour plowing

    Contour ploughing or contour farming is the farming practice of ploughing and/or planting across a slope following its elevation contour lines. These contour lines create a water break which reduces the formation of rills and gullies during times of heavy water run-off; which is a major cause of top soil loss and soil erosion. The water break also allows more time for the water to settle into the soil. In contour ploughing, the ruts made by the plow run perpendicular rather than parallel to slopes, generally resulting in furrows that curve around the land and are level. This method is also known for preventing tillage erosion. Tillage erosion is the soil movement and erosion caused by tilling a given plot of land. A similar practice is contour bunding where stones are placed around the contours of slopes. Soil erosion prevention practices such as this can drastically decrease negative affects associated with soil erosion such as reduced crop productivity, worsened water quality, lower effective reservoir water levels, flooding, and habitat destruction. Contour farming is considered an active form of sustainable agriculture.

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