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Maintain terraces before snow fliesMaintain terraces before snow flies

Kansas has 290,000 miles of terraces, making it No. 2 in the U.S. for the practice.

Jennifer M. Latzke

November 17, 2023

1 Min Read
Terraced field
MAINTENANCE EVERY YEAR: Terrace maintenance is best done in the fall and early winter months, experts say. Jennifer M. Latzke

Now that harvest is in the rearview mirror, Kansas State University experts advise growers to maintain their terraces.

DeAnn Presley, K-State University soil management specialist, offers some advice for growers in the Nov. 8 Agronomy eUpdate. She writes that without adequate water-carrying capacity, terraces will be overtopped by runoff in a heavy storm, causing erosion of the ridge, back slope and lower terraces. Typically, terraces are designed to handle runoff from a once-in-a-10-year storm, which is about 5 inches of rain in eastern Kansas, 4 inches in central, and 3 inches in western Kansas over a 24-hour period.

She advises:

  1. Check for erosion or excessive sediment, and any damage from machinery, animals or settling. Do so after a rain, and watch for overtopping or water ponding, for example.

  2. Choose the right tool for the job. That can be a moldboard plow, disk plow, one-way, terracing blade on a pull-type grader, or a 3-point ridging disk, for example.

  3. Have a plan before you start. You’ll want to compare the existing cross-section shape with your optimal design, and then determine where soil should be removed and where it should be placed.

Presley offers more tips online at Agronomy eUpdate, Nov. 9, 2023, Issue 982 (ksu.edu). Read more about terraces in the online K-State publication Terrace Maintenance at ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/pubs/C709.pdf.

About the Author(s)

Jennifer M. Latzke

Editor, Kansas Farmer

Through all her travels, Jennifer M. Latzke knows that there is no place like Kansas.

Jennifer grew up on her family’s multigenerational registered Angus seedstock ranch and diversified farm just north of Woodbine, Kan., about 30 minutes south of Junction City on the edge of the Kansas Flint Hills. Rock Springs Ranch State 4-H Center was in her family’s backyard.

While at Kansas State University, Jennifer was a member of the Sigma Kappa Sorority and a national officer for the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow. She graduated in May 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and a minor in animal science. In August 2000 Jennifer started her 20-year agricultural writing career in Dodge City, Kan., on the far southwest corner of the state.

She’s traveled across the U.S. writing on wheat, sorghum, corn, cotton, dairy and beef stories as well as breaking news and policy at the local, state and national levels. Latzke has traveled across Mexico and South America with the U.S. Wheat Associates and toured Vietnam as a member of KARL Class X. She’s traveled to Argentina as one of 10 IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism. And she was part of a delegation of AAEA: The Ag Communicators Network members invited to Cuba.

Jennifer’s an award-winning writer, columnist, and podcaster, recognized by the Kansas Professional Communicators, Kansas Press Association, the National Federation of Presswomen, Livestock Publications Council, and AAEA. In 2019, Jennifer reached the pinnacle of achievements, earning the title of “Writer of Merit” from AAEA.

Trips and accolades are lovely, but Jennifer says she is happiest on the road talking to farmers and ranchers and gathering stories and photos to share with readers.

“It’s an honor and a great responsibility to be able to tell someone’s story and bring them recognition for their work on the land,” Jennifer says. “But my role is also evolving to help our more urban neighbors understand the issues our Kansas farmers face in bringing the food and fiber to their store shelves.”

She spends her time gardening, crafting, watching K-State football, and cheering on her nephews and niece in their 4-H projects. She can be found on Twitter at @Latzke.

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