Archive for September, 2002

LETTERS

I noted in your issue No. 69 an article on Soil and Water Conservation by Tessa Armstrong requesting techniques used. I had experience in farming large estates in Kenya from 1947 to 1962. There are three kinds of terracing. One of these is the deep cut to the required capacity but it cannot be sown and cultivated mechanically and harbours couch grass which quickly spreads to the whole area. It is acceptable for hand cultivation. The second one is the broad-based one with the same capacity, that can be sown and cultivated mechanically. However, on fairly steep slopes the terraces are fairly close together so that some difficulty is found in placing the dead furrow with the ordinary plough, but this is eliminated if using the modern one-way or reversible plough. I recommend the third way with the double vertical interval and capacity which gives a wider range of cultivation over the bigger area and is much easier for mechanically harvested maize or grain crops. All the residue of the previous crop should be ploughed in as this helps to prevent soil erosion and increases the fertility with the humus. The burning of residues should be strictly banned as this destroys humus I recommend construction of dams to conserve water wherever possible. They should be constructed when the soil is moist to aid compaction, the slope on the inside should be one-in-three and the outside one-in-two with a large spillway to prevent an overflow of the dam wall.
Vincent Hollows

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