Adapting Furrow Dikes for Southeast U.S. Farming
Durham September 20, 2005
Furrow dikes may lead to greater absorption of water and reduced
runoff during rain events, resulting in more water becoming available for crop
use, according to preliminary data from Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists. Furrow dikes are small
basins formed in loosened soil between crop rows.
Nuti of the ARS National Peanut Research Laboratory (NPRL)
in Dawson, Ga., found that even in a wet growing season, the use of furrow
dikes resulted in enhanced water infiltration and better maintenance of soil
Furrow diking is commonly used by farmers in the arid regions of the
western and northwestern United States, when growing crops such as cotton,
grain sorghum and potatoes.
Nuti is adapting furrow diking to accommodate the sloping crop sites
often found in the southeastern states, where peanuts, cotton and corn are
often grown. Slopes in the topography often lead to quick water runoff and
ponding at lower elevations. Capture of more rainfall by furrow dikes could
improve yield stability in non-irrigated cropping systems.
The data will be added to the In-Season Cost Monitoring and Irrigation
Scheduling System called
that was developed by NPRL researchers. This software package is used by many
growers to monitor all crop production inputs, from initial tillage operations
to final crop harvest. Previous research has demonstrated that using expert
systems software increases confidence in making farm management decisions by 91
percent by providing precise, timely recommendations based on current
technology and scientific data.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief in-house scientific research agency.