Crop rotation and contour farming combined in strips of row
crops planted on the contour and alternated with strips of forages or small
How it works
Plantings are arranged so that strips of small grains or forages
are alternated with strips of row crops. Not more than half of a field can be
planted to row crops. Forages or small grains slow runoff, increase
infiltration, trap sediment, and provide surface cover. Ridges formed by
contoured rows slow water flow and reduce erosion. Rotating the strips from
grain to legumes allows nutrient-needy crops to benefit from nitrogen added to
the soil by legumes. This combines the beneficial effects of contouring and crop
How it helps
Can protect growing crops from wind damage
Reduces soil erosion and protects water quality
May reduce fertilizer costs
May include energy crops as forage plantings
Do you have a use for hay?
Does your crop rotation allow for alternating row crops with
small grains and forages?
Will herbicide carryover be a problem?
Row crops need to run parallel to each other and as close to
the contour as possible. A 10% variance is allowed.
Strip widths are based on 10-year storm event values and
slope length, with strips and row crops of equal width. Correction strips
that vary in width may be needed.
Where contours are too sharp to keep machinery aligned,
establish turn strips on ridge points wide enough to maneuver equipment.
Strip widths may be adjusted downward to accommodate your
equipment width for even rounds.
Stripcropping is not as effective if crop strips become too
wide, especially on steep slopes.
Keep strip widths consistent
from year to year.
- If hay crop fails or is winter-killed, a conservation planner may be
able to help you make adjustments in the rotation schedule.
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