A field border surrounding cropland. Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS.
Conservation Buffers, Erosion Control
Row Crop, Pasture, Fodder, Rice, Small Grains
Temperate, Semiarid, Tropical
North America, South Asia, Europe
Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Sediment
Field borders are strips of vegetation planted at the edge of fields that can mark the edge of field or property boundary. Some field borders can be grassy and provide turn areas or travel lanes for machinery. Other field borders may consist of hedges, shrubs, grasses and trees and have the potential of providing wildlife habitat and windbreaks. Field borders can help trap sediment, reduce erosion and runoff, improve infiltration, and minimize nutrient losses at the edge of the field. 1
Field borders reduce the land available to grow crop. Studies have found that crops next to wooded field borders may suffer from reduced yields as a result of shade effects and water competition. Herbaceous crop borders, however, show negligible impacts on crop yields.
Scalable to small farms?
1 "Conservation Buffers." Conservation Technology Information Center. Web. Aug. 2014. http://www.ctic.purdue.edu/Core4/Conservation Buffers/