• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Title Page
 Project area description
 What's the true problem?
 Objectives
 Program development
 The Kiss method
 Help establish priorities
 Basic date needed for conservation...
 Contour planting
 Level bench terraces
 Farmers make there own enginnering...
 Use of organic matter
 Long-term returns?
 Summary
 References cited






Group Title: Guatemalan small farmer : soil conservation regions I and V projects : final contract report
Title: Guatemalan small farmer
CITATION PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE PAGE TEXT
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00055236/00001
 Material Information
Title: Guatemalan small farmer soil conservation regions I and V projects: final contract report
Physical Description: 28 p. : ill., map ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Publisher: U.S. AID
Place of Publication: Washington D.C.
Publication Date: 1980
 Subjects
Subject: Soil conservation -- Guatemala   ( lcsh )
Farms, Small -- Guatemala   ( lcsh )
Genre: federal government publication   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Jerome E. Arledge.
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: Comics in Spanish.
Funding: Electronic resources created as part of a prototype UF Institutional Repository and Faculty Papers project by the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00055236
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 08149812

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Project area description
        Page 3
    What's the true problem?
        Page 3
    Objectives
        Page 4
    Program development
        Page 4
    The Kiss method
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Help establish priorities
        Page 5
    Basic date needed for conservation planning
        Page 5
    Contour planting
        Page 5
    Level bench terraces
        Page 7
    Farmers make there own enginnering level
        Page 8
    Use of organic matter
        Page 8
    Long-term returns?
        Page 8
    Summary
        Page 9
    References cited
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
Full Text
Os? o IQ
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FINAL CONTRACT REPORT


GUATEMALAN SHALL FARMER




:,Soil Conservation Regions I and V Project

520-T-026


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by:


Jerome E. Arledge, USDA/SCS Advisor
SPASA AG-233-1-77 -..-. -.- -
.USAID/ORD GUATEMALA
SApo Miami 34024 --

The Author: Mr. Arledge, effective June 29, 1980 has been
reassigned as State Resource Conservationist, US Department of
Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, US Courthouse and
Federal Building, 100 S. Clinton Street Room 771, Syracuse,
New York, 13202 Telephone Number: (315) 423-5493 or 950-5494(FTS)


Guatemala
27 June, 1980


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PROJECT AREA DESCRIPTION


Guatemala is approximately the same size as the state of Tennessee. There
are 33 volcanoes varying in heights from 1,027 meters (3,369.4124 ft.) to
4,220.36 meters (13,845.1026 ft.) above sea level, the highest point in all of
Central America. There is a six months' dry season (Nov.-April). The rainy
season (May-Oct.) produces 230-5000 milimeters (9-196 inches) of rain usually
related to elevations above sea level.

The small farmers, (less than 10 hectares) Soil Conservation Highland
Project area varies from 600 meters (1,968.498 feet) to 4220.36 meters (13,845.
1026feet )above sea level.

Even though there is a 6 months' rainy season, only June, July, and August
equal or exceed-the evapo-transpiration.needs of the crops .produced. Corn is
the basic diet with black beans providing the major portion of their protein.
Most of the time the beans and corn are interplanted. Wheat is produced mainly
for a cash .crop as the Government has stabilized the price. Some bread is
consumed during the fiestas by the small farmers. Vegetable production is increas-
ing where terracing and irrigation systems have been constructed. The soils of
Guatemala are divided into nine groups (1), (2), and.(3), three of which occur
in the soil conservation project area consisting of 69 different soils (4).
The groups of Ando soils occur on rolling to hilly uplands on volcanic materials
mostly volcanic ash, in the southern part of the project area. They have brown
loamy surfaces and brown or yellowish brown sub-soils containing slightly more
clay than the surface soil. They are moderately fertile soils but are deficient
in phosphorus, and some minor elements. Ando soils are subject to severe erosion
and the unweathered volcanic ash is' exposed in many places. Most of the Ando
soils are forested, some are in pasture, with the balance being used intensively
for cultivated crops of corn, black beans, wheat and very few vegetables.

In the northwest corner of the area on the limestone plains and hills,
the soils are mainly Terra Rossas and Rendzinas. The Terra Rossas are red clays,
whereas the Rendzinas are black or dark brown clays; both are shallow and, in
contrast to like soils in other parts of the world, both have surfaces high in
Organic matter. Throughout the area occupied by these soils are extensive areas
of karst--rugged limestone surfaces generally devoid of soils and with many sink-
holes, TNdges, and peaks. Most of the Terra Rossas and Rendzinas are forested
or in pasture but where depth of soil permits, cultivated crops and coffee are
grown. At least 70% of the area's mountains and steep slopes are dominantly
Lithosolic soils. These soils-have little potential for farming due to the
shallowness to the underlying rock or steepness of slope. The farmers who
live in this area have to cultivate these steep poor lands to scratch out their
living. Therefore, we as technicians have the obligation and responsibility to
show them how to cultivate their steep lands and at the same time conserve their
soil and water resources.

WHAT'S THE TRUE PROBLEM?

Guatemalan farmers have been exposed to Soil Conservation measures for
many years and maybe for centuries. Why, then haven't thousands of hectares
of adequate conservation measures been installed? Why haven't farmers learned
from others who have applied conservation work? Could it be, because the con-
servation practices offered were designed too difficult? Most small farmers
In the highlands cannot read or write. Therefore when charts, tables or
designs "on paper" are presented, a "Mental Block" is. immediately formed be-
cause they know that they cannot read or understand the designs.
.. --' <&









PROJECT AREA DESCRIPTION


Guatemala is approximately the same size as the state of Tennessee. There
are 33 volcanoes varying in heights from 1,027 meters (3,369.4124 ft.) to
4,220.36 meters (13,845.1026 ft.) above sea level, the highest point in all of
Central America. There is a six months' dry season (Nov.-April). The rainy
season (May-Oct.) produces 230-5000 milimeters (9-196 inches) of rain usually
related to elevations above sea level.

The small farmers, (less than 10 hectares) Soil Conservation Highland
Project area varies from 600 meters (1,968.498 feet) to 4220.36 meters (13,845.
1026feet )above sea level.

Even though there is a 6 months' rainy season, only June, July, and August
equal or exceed-the evapo-transpiration.needs of the crops .produced. Corn is
the basic diet with black beans providing the major portion of their protein.
Most of the time the beans and corn are interplanted. Wheat is produced mainly
for a cash .crop as the Government has stabilized the price. Some bread is
consumed during the fiestas by the small farmers. Vegetable production is increas-
ing where terracing and irrigation systems have been constructed. The soils of
Guatemala are divided into nine groups (1), (2), and.(3), three of which occur
in the soil conservation project area consisting of 69 different soils (4).
The groups of Ando soils occur on rolling to hilly uplands on volcanic materials
mostly volcanic ash, in the southern part of the project area. They have brown
loamy surfaces and brown or yellowish brown sub-soils containing slightly more
clay than the surface soil. They are moderately fertile soils but are deficient
in phosphorus, and some minor elements. Ando soils are subject to severe erosion
and the unweathered volcanic ash is' exposed in many places. Most of the Ando
soils are forested, some are in pasture, with the balance being used intensively
for cultivated crops of corn, black beans, wheat and very few vegetables.

In the northwest corner of the area on the limestone plains and hills,
the soils are mainly Terra Rossas and Rendzinas. The Terra Rossas are red clays,
whereas the Rendzinas are black or dark brown clays; both are shallow and, in
contrast to like soils in other parts of the world, both have surfaces high in
Organic matter. Throughout the area occupied by these soils are extensive areas
of karst--rugged limestone surfaces generally devoid of soils and with many sink-
holes, TNdges, and peaks. Most of the Terra Rossas and Rendzinas are forested
or in pasture but where depth of soil permits, cultivated crops and coffee are
grown. At least 70% of the area's mountains and steep slopes are dominantly
Lithosolic soils. These soils-have little potential for farming due to the
shallowness to the underlying rock or steepness of slope. The farmers who
live in this area have to cultivate these steep poor lands to scratch out their
living. Therefore, we as technicians have the obligation and responsibility to
show them how to cultivate their steep lands and at the same time conserve their
soil and water resources.

WHAT'S THE TRUE PROBLEM?

Guatemalan farmers have been exposed to Soil Conservation measures for
many years and maybe for centuries. Why, then haven't thousands of hectares
of adequate conservation measures been installed? Why haven't farmers learned
from others who have applied conservation work? Could it be, because the con-
servation practices offered were designed too difficult? Most small farmers
In the highlands cannot read or write. Therefore when charts, tables or
designs "on paper" are presented, a "Mental Block" is. immediately formed be-
cause they know that they cannot read or understand the designs.
.. --' <&










2


OBJECTIVES:

The main objectives of Soil Conservation Project were:

1. Provide ADEQUATE, SIMPLE, EXCELLENT QUALITY, soil conservation practices
that could be passed on by word of mouth.

2. To eliminate runoff, (except the extreme storms).

3. Allow sufficient storage and time for infiltration to occur.

PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT

The Government of Guatemala with the help of an USAID loan developed a
Soil Conservation Program, considering the above objectives. The highlands are
divided into two regions, (see Project Hap). Guatemala was to appoint a three-
man soil conservation team for each region to set up and operate a pilot soil
conservation project. .

The Advisor arrived in Guatemala on January 27, 1977. The first Guatemalan
counterpart employee was not appointed urtil August of 1977.. The Advisor was
provided a vehicle to use throughout the project. Also gasoline and maintenance
was provided, however, many times with great difficulty involving heavy red tape.
The start of the project was very slow. The first conservation project was
formed and construction began in March of 1978, even though all of the proper
official Government signature approvals were not completed until May 19, 1978. '

All soil conservation project construction had to be completed by June 30,
1978 which was the latest date that the crops could be planted. For all prac-
tical purposes the true soil conservation project work was not able to begin
until November or December of 1978, after the years crops were harvested. In
the meantime, the Guatemalan teams were beginning to take shape. Many of the
conservation principals were produced by the Advisor. However, the Guatemalan
_-.technicians did not accept all of the Advisor's suggestions shown in the pam-
phlet attached. Together the two regional teams and the Advisor developed
ADEQUATE, SIMPLE, EXCELLENT QUALITY soil conservation practices and a program
to fit the needs of the Guatemalan small farmers.

Two hundred thousand (200,000) small farmers living in the 10.1 million
hectare area (25 million acres) cultivate, by hand, fields with slopes up to
80%. Various types of land acquisition eventually formed large land holders
on the more gentle slopes. This left the steep.highland soils for many of
the small farmers who on the average farm less than one-half of a hectare
(0.46 hectare or 1.15 acres).

The Universal Soil Loss Equation (8) shows that on'a given R factor of
20, Sandy clay loam (2$ organic matter), 150 foot length of slope occurring
on a 123 slope, corn with the residue removed, spring turn plowed convention-
ally, moderate production continuously followed, tilled up and down the slope
produces 6.49 tons per acre (16.03 tons per hectare) soil loss.

The same conditions only increasing the slope to 60% produces an esti-
mated soil loss of 82.6 tons per acre 204.1 tons per hectare).

Increasing the R factor to 350 on 12% slope with all other factors equal
to the above example, produces an estimated 113.58 tons per acre (80.64 tons
per hectare). Now when only the sipc is increased to 60% and all other con-
ditions remain the same it increases the soil loss to 1.445.5 tons per acre
(,571.8 tons per hectar Under these kinds of conditions, the Guatemalan
technician's only logical adequate alternative is BENCH TERRACES. The percent
of slope is then 15T reversed back into the mountain and the length of the "
slope. is less than two meters. Interpelation shows that this produces a
maximum of 5.16 tons per acre (12.76 tons per hectare). Remember that the
soil movement is only to the back of the terraces which is less than two










2


OBJECTIVES:

The main objectives of Soil Conservation Project were:

1. Provide ADEQUATE, SIMPLE, EXCELLENT QUALITY, soil conservation practices
that could be passed on by word of mouth.

2. To eliminate runoff, (except the extreme storms).

3. Allow sufficient storage and time for infiltration to occur.

PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT

The Government of Guatemala with the help of an USAID loan developed a
Soil Conservation Program, considering the above objectives. The highlands are
divided into two regions, (see Project Hap). Guatemala was to appoint a three-
man soil conservation team for each region to set up and operate a pilot soil
conservation project. .

The Advisor arrived in Guatemala on January 27, 1977. The first Guatemalan
counterpart employee was not appointed urtil August of 1977.. The Advisor was
provided a vehicle to use throughout the project. Also gasoline and maintenance
was provided, however, many times with great difficulty involving heavy red tape.
The start of the project was very slow. The first conservation project was
formed and construction began in March of 1978, even though all of the proper
official Government signature approvals were not completed until May 19, 1978. '

All soil conservation project construction had to be completed by June 30,
1978 which was the latest date that the crops could be planted. For all prac-
tical purposes the true soil conservation project work was not able to begin
until November or December of 1978, after the years crops were harvested. In
the meantime, the Guatemalan teams were beginning to take shape. Many of the
conservation principals were produced by the Advisor. However, the Guatemalan
_-.technicians did not accept all of the Advisor's suggestions shown in the pam-
phlet attached. Together the two regional teams and the Advisor developed
ADEQUATE, SIMPLE, EXCELLENT QUALITY soil conservation practices and a program
to fit the needs of the Guatemalan small farmers.

Two hundred thousand (200,000) small farmers living in the 10.1 million
hectare area (25 million acres) cultivate, by hand, fields with slopes up to
80%. Various types of land acquisition eventually formed large land holders
on the more gentle slopes. This left the steep.highland soils for many of
the small farmers who on the average farm less than one-half of a hectare
(0.46 hectare or 1.15 acres).

The Universal Soil Loss Equation (8) shows that on'a given R factor of
20, Sandy clay loam (2$ organic matter), 150 foot length of slope occurring
on a 123 slope, corn with the residue removed, spring turn plowed convention-
ally, moderate production continuously followed, tilled up and down the slope
produces 6.49 tons per acre (16.03 tons per hectare) soil loss.

The same conditions only increasing the slope to 60% produces an esti-
mated soil loss of 82.6 tons per acre 204.1 tons per hectare).

Increasing the R factor to 350 on 12% slope with all other factors equal
to the above example, produces an estimated 113.58 tons per acre (80.64 tons
per hectare). Now when only the sipc is increased to 60% and all other con-
ditions remain the same it increases the soil loss to 1.445.5 tons per acre
(,571.8 tons per hectar Under these kinds of conditions, the Guatemalan
technician's only logical adequate alternative is BENCH TERRACES. The percent
of slope is then 15T reversed back into the mountain and the length of the "
slope. is less than two meters. Interpelation shows that this produces a
maximum of 5.16 tons per acre (12.76 tons per hectare). Remember that the
soil movement is only to the back of the terraces which is less than two












meters away. The farmer does not actually lose this soil from his field.
Therefore, he can manage this soil movement easily.

THE "KISS" METHOD

The highlands' 69 different kinds of soils, 80% slopes and high rate of
illiteracy forces the team members to adopt the "KISS Method" (Keep It Simple
Sir)- to:
Develop their conservation planning guidelines;

Educational Program;
Soil Conservation designs, and

? Engineering equipment.

HELP ESTABLISH PRIORITIES

Almost everyone knows that erosion occurs, BUT HOW MUCH? The soil con-
servation team members use a sprinkler can to simulate rainfall over a demons-
tration box. Four fields are shown, proped up to a 30% slope. This helps the
farmers establish priorities on the four types of soil conservation measures
shown: bench terraces, contour planting, diversion ditches (Guatemalan style),
Sand no treatment. They can measure and compare:

-- The amount of runoff and "

The amount of soil erosion which occurred as both are collected in four
* bottles.

* The use of mulch is also demonstrated on the bench terraces. To date,
S terracing has always been chosen by the farmers as.their preferred conserva-
tion practice.

BASIC DATA NEEDED FOR CONSERVATION PLANNING

The proper .use of Contour farming is a very easy method which indicates
HAT, WHEN, WHERE, and WHICH conservation practices are necessary. Certain
crops cultivated. in Latin America are hilled up (listed) during the process
of cultivation, fertilization and weeding. This habit of hilling, sometimes
over 30 cms. in height, provides an excellent opportunity for the farmers
to plant on the contour with very little additional.work. In one or no more
than two years, a small farmer can contour plant all of his cultivatable fields.

Every ten meters, a.farmer will mark a contour base line row, using his
A"'frame level, across his field. Parallel to this level base line, he then
pants five parallel rows up hill and down hill. The unlevel, short rows are
fitted into the remaining spaces. The farmers' planting, cultivating and
chilling each row forms many absorption ditches on the contour. Each row is
only expected to handle the rain that falls between each row.

CONTOUR PLANTING

The contour planting and chilling up practice will eliminate 80-90% of
the erosion occurring on even the very steep volcanic mountainous soils. The
following four factors allow the hilled-up contour farming practice to effec-
tively control the erosion caused by water or cause failure:

SInfiltration rate of the kind of soil.

Intensity and duration of the rainfall.

Steepness and length of the slope.

The Human Factor (the exactness of the level rows and the height of
the hilling-up process.






























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meters away. The farmer does not actually lose this soil from his field.
Therefore, he can manage this soil movement easily.

THE "KISS" METHOD

The highlands' 69 different kinds of soils, 80% slopes and high rate of
illiteracy forces the team members to adopt the "KISS Method" (Keep It Simple
Sir)- to:
Develop their conservation planning guidelines;

Educational Program;
Soil Conservation designs, and

? Engineering equipment.

HELP ESTABLISH PRIORITIES

Almost everyone knows that erosion occurs, BUT HOW MUCH? The soil con-
servation team members use a sprinkler can to simulate rainfall over a demons-
tration box. Four fields are shown, proped up to a 30% slope. This helps the
farmers establish priorities on the four types of soil conservation measures
shown: bench terraces, contour planting, diversion ditches (Guatemalan style),
Sand no treatment. They can measure and compare:

-- The amount of runoff and "

The amount of soil erosion which occurred as both are collected in four
* bottles.

* The use of mulch is also demonstrated on the bench terraces. To date,
S terracing has always been chosen by the farmers as.their preferred conserva-
tion practice.

BASIC DATA NEEDED FOR CONSERVATION PLANNING

The proper .use of Contour farming is a very easy method which indicates
HAT, WHEN, WHERE, and WHICH conservation practices are necessary. Certain
crops cultivated. in Latin America are hilled up (listed) during the process
of cultivation, fertilization and weeding. This habit of hilling, sometimes
over 30 cms. in height, provides an excellent opportunity for the farmers
to plant on the contour with very little additional.work. In one or no more
than two years, a small farmer can contour plant all of his cultivatable fields.

Every ten meters, a.farmer will mark a contour base line row, using his
A"'frame level, across his field. Parallel to this level base line, he then
pants five parallel rows up hill and down hill. The unlevel, short rows are
fitted into the remaining spaces. The farmers' planting, cultivating and
chilling each row forms many absorption ditches on the contour. Each row is
only expected to handle the rain that falls between each row.

CONTOUR PLANTING

The contour planting and chilling up practice will eliminate 80-90% of
the erosion occurring on even the very steep volcanic mountainous soils. The
following four factors allow the hilled-up contour farming practice to effec-
tively control the erosion caused by water or cause failure:

SInfiltration rate of the kind of soil.

Intensity and duration of the rainfall.

Steepness and length of the slope.

The Human Factor (the exactness of the level rows and the height of
the hilling-up process.












meters away. The farmer does not actually lose this soil from his field.
Therefore, he can manage this soil movement easily.

THE "KISS" METHOD

The highlands' 69 different kinds of soils, 80% slopes and high rate of
illiteracy forces the team members to adopt the "KISS Method" (Keep It Simple
Sir)- to:
Develop their conservation planning guidelines;

Educational Program;
Soil Conservation designs, and

? Engineering equipment.

HELP ESTABLISH PRIORITIES

Almost everyone knows that erosion occurs, BUT HOW MUCH? The soil con-
servation team members use a sprinkler can to simulate rainfall over a demons-
tration box. Four fields are shown, proped up to a 30% slope. This helps the
farmers establish priorities on the four types of soil conservation measures
shown: bench terraces, contour planting, diversion ditches (Guatemalan style),
Sand no treatment. They can measure and compare:

-- The amount of runoff and "

The amount of soil erosion which occurred as both are collected in four
* bottles.

* The use of mulch is also demonstrated on the bench terraces. To date,
S terracing has always been chosen by the farmers as.their preferred conserva-
tion practice.

BASIC DATA NEEDED FOR CONSERVATION PLANNING

The proper .use of Contour farming is a very easy method which indicates
HAT, WHEN, WHERE, and WHICH conservation practices are necessary. Certain
crops cultivated. in Latin America are hilled up (listed) during the process
of cultivation, fertilization and weeding. This habit of hilling, sometimes
over 30 cms. in height, provides an excellent opportunity for the farmers
to plant on the contour with very little additional.work. In one or no more
than two years, a small farmer can contour plant all of his cultivatable fields.

Every ten meters, a.farmer will mark a contour base line row, using his
A"'frame level, across his field. Parallel to this level base line, he then
pants five parallel rows up hill and down hill. The unlevel, short rows are
fitted into the remaining spaces. The farmers' planting, cultivating and
chilling each row forms many absorption ditches on the contour. Each row is
only expected to handle the rain that falls between each row.

CONTOUR PLANTING

The contour planting and chilling up practice will eliminate 80-90% of
the erosion occurring on even the very steep volcanic mountainous soils. The
following four factors allow the hilled-up contour farming practice to effec-
tively control the erosion caused by water or cause failure:

SInfiltration rate of the kind of soil.

Intensity and duration of the rainfall.

Steepness and length of the slope.

The Human Factor (the exactness of the level rows and the height of
the hilling-up process.












meters away. The farmer does not actually lose this soil from his field.
Therefore, he can manage this soil movement easily.

THE "KISS" METHOD

The highlands' 69 different kinds of soils, 80% slopes and high rate of
illiteracy forces the team members to adopt the "KISS Method" (Keep It Simple
Sir)- to:
Develop their conservation planning guidelines;

Educational Program;
Soil Conservation designs, and

? Engineering equipment.

HELP ESTABLISH PRIORITIES

Almost everyone knows that erosion occurs, BUT HOW MUCH? The soil con-
servation team members use a sprinkler can to simulate rainfall over a demons-
tration box. Four fields are shown, proped up to a 30% slope. This helps the
farmers establish priorities on the four types of soil conservation measures
shown: bench terraces, contour planting, diversion ditches (Guatemalan style),
Sand no treatment. They can measure and compare:

-- The amount of runoff and "

The amount of soil erosion which occurred as both are collected in four
* bottles.

* The use of mulch is also demonstrated on the bench terraces. To date,
S terracing has always been chosen by the farmers as.their preferred conserva-
tion practice.

BASIC DATA NEEDED FOR CONSERVATION PLANNING

The proper .use of Contour farming is a very easy method which indicates
HAT, WHEN, WHERE, and WHICH conservation practices are necessary. Certain
crops cultivated. in Latin America are hilled up (listed) during the process
of cultivation, fertilization and weeding. This habit of hilling, sometimes
over 30 cms. in height, provides an excellent opportunity for the farmers
to plant on the contour with very little additional.work. In one or no more
than two years, a small farmer can contour plant all of his cultivatable fields.

Every ten meters, a.farmer will mark a contour base line row, using his
A"'frame level, across his field. Parallel to this level base line, he then
pants five parallel rows up hill and down hill. The unlevel, short rows are
fitted into the remaining spaces. The farmers' planting, cultivating and
chilling each row forms many absorption ditches on the contour. Each row is
only expected to handle the rain that falls between each row.

CONTOUR PLANTING

The contour planting and chilling up practice will eliminate 80-90% of
the erosion occurring on even the very steep volcanic mountainous soils. The
following four factors allow the hilled-up contour farming practice to effec-
tively control the erosion caused by water or cause failure:

SInfiltration rate of the kind of soil.

Intensity and duration of the rainfall.

Steepness and length of the slope.

The Human Factor (the exactness of the level rows and the height of
the hilling-up process.









. a


If the farmer will contour-farm his entire farm, he can very easily use
this system as a planning indicator of where and when to start building his
level bench terraces. When the Contour rows begin to fail (break and erode)
due to one or any combination of the four factors mentioned above, then this
'is his indicator that a more adequate conservation practice is required.


LEVEL BENCH TERRACES

The farmer, remembering that he must stop the velocity of water and store
the water until it soaks into the soil, knows that he must start constructing
his terraces a few rows uphill from where his contour rows have broken during
the heavy rains. This approach provides flexibility and allows the small illi-
terate farmer to adequately plan high quality bench terraces required for.his
farm, only where they are needed.

Guatemalan farmers have proven to themselves that level bench terraces
produce the most adequate erosion control and the greatest immediate economic
return on their invested time. In 1978 and 1979, 274 farmers in Region I
tested the production results comparing their traditional farming method
(no conservation treatment), with their newly constructed level bench terraces.
A few farmers reported a decrease in production on terraces. However, the
AVERAGE JNCREASE IN PRODUCTION, the first year produced immediate economic
returns.. /

Amazingly, terraced land increased first year harvest yields (planted
on less land). Again, 274 farmers reported that on the average their pro-
duction yields increased in 1979 as follows: .

1. Corn: 141l increase 2.Potatoes: 98% 3. Beans: 95% 4. Wheat 81%


These results were compared with their traditional planting methods during
the same year.

Remember that each terrace is only asked to absorb all pf the rain that
falls on itself. An adequately designed and constructed terrace is exactly
level along the front edge of the terrace and the base of the slope. The cul-
tivated bench must be inclined into the mountain enough to store and soak
in the rainfall that lands on each terrace. The amount of unlevelness depends
on the kind of soil. The entire backslope of each terrace must be protected
by planting grasses, perennial plants, or with a rock wall. See the illus-
tration shown in the attached Soil Conservation Pamphlet. Napiergrass (Penni-
setum purpureum) commonly called Merker, Elephant or Carter grass (5) and
(Setaria geniculata) (6) are the major grasses used from sea level up to
2,200 meters (7,217 ft. f.a.s.1). Orchard grass (Dactylis glomerata) a cool-
season grass is effective up to the highest cultivated elevations in Guate-
mala (4,220 meters or 13,845 feet above sea level). Local production tests
show, that all three grasses equally produce 8-10 tons of forage per hectare.
For the-highest protein content, harvest of the grasses occurs 4 times during
the growing season (every 45 days). Cattle feed, compost and mulch materials
comprise the major uses of these grasses. Of course any of the hundreds of
other grasses or perennial plants that are found in Guatemala, that provide
slope and vegetative barrier protection are acceptable. The Guatemalan farmers
have also devised a method to save the topsoil without double digging, as
shown in the attached pamphlet.

IS IT POSSIBLE TO INCREASE OUR AREA OF PRODUCTIVE LAND?

The Guatemalans are, in fact, increasing their land area by means of
terracing. When the slope.is 302, the farmer increases his productive acre-
age by 25%. In other words, for every four hectares of bench terraces, the


- *











farmer constructs, he gains the fifth hectare of land. These terraces require
almost triple the present labor, but once constructed, maintenance is very
minimum. Flatter slopes result in less than 25t increase; however steeper
land when terraced produces more than a 25% increased area. The reverse of
the theory, "A straight line between two points is the shortest distance"
produces the increased acreage. Grasses used for livestock feed or cut for
mulch materials are seeded on the steep terrace slopes. The farmer could not
sacrifice any of his land to plant grasses before terracing. Yes, it is true,
that less land is available for planting the cultivated crops. Also the amount
of seed and fertilizer must be reduced to prevent lodging.

FARMERS HAKE THEIR OWN ENGINEERING LEVEL

Three strong corn stalks, native hemp material used for tying and a rock
are the only materials needed to build an adequate engineering level. The team
members teach the farmers how to construct, calibrate and use his level, as
Illustrated in the Soil Conservation Pamphlet attached. Then any farmer can
survey, design, construct by hand, with a large hoe and check his construction
with enough perfection to store and allow sufficient time for infiltration
of the rainfall. ..

USE OF ORGANIC MATTER .

Tropical'soils burn up organic matter very rapidly. Decomposition of
organic matter in the tropics, presents a serious problem by tying up the
available plant nutrients, when it is incorporated into the soil. Therefore,
the following is recommended for all crops which will- stand mulching:

SComposting requires too much labor and management;- Therefore let's
process plant food an easier way.

Gather all of the organic materials that are available and place
them on top of the soil and around the plants, as mulch. The mulch must
be thick enough to prevent weed growth and conserve moisture. This Method
will prevent the tying up of the available nutrients that are inthe soils,
because no interaction takes place.
The native earth-worms will come to the moist surface and process
the wet organic matter into rich plant food for the farmer's crops (9).
Charles Darwin identified more than 1600 varieties of earthworms. In the
world. (7).

Also, the high intensity rains will soak through the mulch and into
the soil rapidly, without causing erosion.

LONG-TERM RETURNS?

Most people say that "Soil Conservation work takes many years to see
the results." Maybe the conservation measures offered earlier were only
partially conserving their soil and other resources. Therefore, these
*measures could not produce enough immediate visible results.

.At the end of Advisor"s contractual time,'the Cuatemalan Soil Con-
servation 520-T-026 project has successfully become a Grass Roots project,
that is from the small farmer upwards clear to the Minister of Agriculture.
The Regional Chiefs are so pleased with the project results that they have
assigned, loaned, and/or trained 35 technicians in Region I and 28 techni-
clans in Region V. Many of the two Regions' 150 Promotor Aaricolas are
trained also, and are. n charge of over 100 communities who have small and
some large groups of small farmers constructing soil conservation practices
In the highlands of Guatemala. More than 550 Guatemalan farmers constructed
over 230 hectares of terraces by hand with a large hoe, in 1978 and 1979.











farmer constructs, he gains the fifth hectare of land. These terraces require
almost triple the present labor, but once constructed, maintenance is very
minimum. Flatter slopes result in less than 25t increase; however steeper
land when terraced produces more than a 25% increased area. The reverse of
the theory, "A straight line between two points is the shortest distance"
produces the increased acreage. Grasses used for livestock feed or cut for
mulch materials are seeded on the steep terrace slopes. The farmer could not
sacrifice any of his land to plant grasses before terracing. Yes, it is true,
that less land is available for planting the cultivated crops. Also the amount
of seed and fertilizer must be reduced to prevent lodging.

FARMERS HAKE THEIR OWN ENGINEERING LEVEL

Three strong corn stalks, native hemp material used for tying and a rock
are the only materials needed to build an adequate engineering level. The team
members teach the farmers how to construct, calibrate and use his level, as
Illustrated in the Soil Conservation Pamphlet attached. Then any farmer can
survey, design, construct by hand, with a large hoe and check his construction
with enough perfection to store and allow sufficient time for infiltration
of the rainfall. ..

USE OF ORGANIC MATTER .

Tropical'soils burn up organic matter very rapidly. Decomposition of
organic matter in the tropics, presents a serious problem by tying up the
available plant nutrients, when it is incorporated into the soil. Therefore,
the following is recommended for all crops which will- stand mulching:

SComposting requires too much labor and management;- Therefore let's
process plant food an easier way.

Gather all of the organic materials that are available and place
them on top of the soil and around the plants, as mulch. The mulch must
be thick enough to prevent weed growth and conserve moisture. This Method
will prevent the tying up of the available nutrients that are inthe soils,
because no interaction takes place.
The native earth-worms will come to the moist surface and process
the wet organic matter into rich plant food for the farmer's crops (9).
Charles Darwin identified more than 1600 varieties of earthworms. In the
world. (7).

Also, the high intensity rains will soak through the mulch and into
the soil rapidly, without causing erosion.

LONG-TERM RETURNS?

Most people say that "Soil Conservation work takes many years to see
the results." Maybe the conservation measures offered earlier were only
partially conserving their soil and other resources. Therefore, these
*measures could not produce enough immediate visible results.

.At the end of Advisor"s contractual time,'the Cuatemalan Soil Con-
servation 520-T-026 project has successfully become a Grass Roots project,
that is from the small farmer upwards clear to the Minister of Agriculture.
The Regional Chiefs are so pleased with the project results that they have
assigned, loaned, and/or trained 35 technicians in Region I and 28 techni-
clans in Region V. Many of the two Regions' 150 Promotor Aaricolas are
trained also, and are. n charge of over 100 communities who have small and
some large groups of small farmers constructing soil conservation practices
In the highlands of Guatemala. More than 550 Guatemalan farmers constructed
over 230 hectares of terraces by hand with a large hoe, in 1978 and 1979.











farmer constructs, he gains the fifth hectare of land. These terraces require
almost triple the present labor, but once constructed, maintenance is very
minimum. Flatter slopes result in less than 25t increase; however steeper
land when terraced produces more than a 25% increased area. The reverse of
the theory, "A straight line between two points is the shortest distance"
produces the increased acreage. Grasses used for livestock feed or cut for
mulch materials are seeded on the steep terrace slopes. The farmer could not
sacrifice any of his land to plant grasses before terracing. Yes, it is true,
that less land is available for planting the cultivated crops. Also the amount
of seed and fertilizer must be reduced to prevent lodging.

FARMERS HAKE THEIR OWN ENGINEERING LEVEL

Three strong corn stalks, native hemp material used for tying and a rock
are the only materials needed to build an adequate engineering level. The team
members teach the farmers how to construct, calibrate and use his level, as
Illustrated in the Soil Conservation Pamphlet attached. Then any farmer can
survey, design, construct by hand, with a large hoe and check his construction
with enough perfection to store and allow sufficient time for infiltration
of the rainfall. ..

USE OF ORGANIC MATTER .

Tropical'soils burn up organic matter very rapidly. Decomposition of
organic matter in the tropics, presents a serious problem by tying up the
available plant nutrients, when it is incorporated into the soil. Therefore,
the following is recommended for all crops which will- stand mulching:

SComposting requires too much labor and management;- Therefore let's
process plant food an easier way.

Gather all of the organic materials that are available and place
them on top of the soil and around the plants, as mulch. The mulch must
be thick enough to prevent weed growth and conserve moisture. This Method
will prevent the tying up of the available nutrients that are inthe soils,
because no interaction takes place.
The native earth-worms will come to the moist surface and process
the wet organic matter into rich plant food for the farmer's crops (9).
Charles Darwin identified more than 1600 varieties of earthworms. In the
world. (7).

Also, the high intensity rains will soak through the mulch and into
the soil rapidly, without causing erosion.

LONG-TERM RETURNS?

Most people say that "Soil Conservation work takes many years to see
the results." Maybe the conservation measures offered earlier were only
partially conserving their soil and other resources. Therefore, these
*measures could not produce enough immediate visible results.

.At the end of Advisor"s contractual time,'the Cuatemalan Soil Con-
servation 520-T-026 project has successfully become a Grass Roots project,
that is from the small farmer upwards clear to the Minister of Agriculture.
The Regional Chiefs are so pleased with the project results that they have
assigned, loaned, and/or trained 35 technicians in Region I and 28 techni-
clans in Region V. Many of the two Regions' 150 Promotor Aaricolas are
trained also, and are. n charge of over 100 communities who have small and
some large groups of small farmers constructing soil conservation practices
In the highlands of Guatemala. More than 550 Guatemalan farmers constructed
over 230 hectares of terraces by hand with a large hoe, in 1978 and 1979.









- 6.


All structures withstood the rainy season well, which included four hurricanes
back to back (31 days and nights of constant rain).


SUMMARY

If simple soil conservation designs can be passed on from farmer to
farmer by word of mouth, the Guatemalans hope that this conservation approach
will spread like a grass fire. Some of the visible results of the program
to date are:

Increased the farmer's productive area.

Introduced new crops, grasses, as cattle feed or mulch material..

Farmer saved energy by cultivating less land area.

Farmer used less fertilizer and seed.

Increased crop yields substantially .

Increased the farmers' Income.

Improved the structure of'the soil .

Increased retention of soil moisture.

Helped provide a better ecological balance.


The Guatemalan 520-T-026 Soil Conservation Project's Philosophy,
Methodology, and-Soil Conservation practices recommended for controlling
____. __-and preserving .their nation's soil, water, and other natural resources are
explained and illustrated in their Soil Conservation pamphlet attached.
It is recommended that this pamphlet be used as a training tool for all
employees of the agencies within the agricultural sector, schools, universi-
ties, etc.


REFERENCES CITED


1. Simmons, C.S. "Soil and Agriculture Conditions in Guatemala." Carib. Comm.
Dept. Soil Conf. 1950, 218-221 NAL. 56-09 503

2. Wheetlng, Lawrence "Some Observations on the Soils of the Pacific Slope
of Guatemala." 1939 Proc. 6th Pacific Sci. Cong., San Francisco, vol.
4, pp. 885-889, HAL. 330.9 Pl94

3- Benls. S. (editor) "Excursion Guide Book for Guatemala" 1967 annual
meeting, Geological Society of Amer., 71 pp. illus., maps, 1967.
Cuatemala Geological Bulletin No. 4 USGA G (381) in 7gb.

4. Simmons, Charles 5., TSrano T., Jos6 Manual, Pinto Z., Jose Humberto
"Clasificaci6n de Reconocimiento de los Suelos de la Rep6blic de
Cuatemala." 1000 pp. Institute Agropecuario Nacional, Servicio
Cooperative Inter-Americano de Agricultura, Hinisterio de Agricultura,
Guatemala.









- 6.


All structures withstood the rainy season well, which included four hurricanes
back to back (31 days and nights of constant rain).


SUMMARY

If simple soil conservation designs can be passed on from farmer to
farmer by word of mouth, the Guatemalans hope that this conservation approach
will spread like a grass fire. Some of the visible results of the program
to date are:

Increased the farmer's productive area.

Introduced new crops, grasses, as cattle feed or mulch material..

Farmer saved energy by cultivating less land area.

Farmer used less fertilizer and seed.

Increased crop yields substantially .

Increased the farmers' Income.

Improved the structure of'the soil .

Increased retention of soil moisture.

Helped provide a better ecological balance.


The Guatemalan 520-T-026 Soil Conservation Project's Philosophy,
Methodology, and-Soil Conservation practices recommended for controlling
____. __-and preserving .their nation's soil, water, and other natural resources are
explained and illustrated in their Soil Conservation pamphlet attached.
It is recommended that this pamphlet be used as a training tool for all
employees of the agencies within the agricultural sector, schools, universi-
ties, etc.


REFERENCES CITED


1. Simmons, C.S. "Soil and Agriculture Conditions in Guatemala." Carib. Comm.
Dept. Soil Conf. 1950, 218-221 NAL. 56-09 503

2. Wheetlng, Lawrence "Some Observations on the Soils of the Pacific Slope
of Guatemala." 1939 Proc. 6th Pacific Sci. Cong., San Francisco, vol.
4, pp. 885-889, HAL. 330.9 Pl94

3- Benls. S. (editor) "Excursion Guide Book for Guatemala" 1967 annual
meeting, Geological Society of Amer., 71 pp. illus., maps, 1967.
Cuatemala Geological Bulletin No. 4 USGA G (381) in 7gb.

4. Simmons, Charles 5., TSrano T., Jos6 Manual, Pinto Z., Jose Humberto
"Clasificaci6n de Reconocimiento de los Suelos de la Rep6blic de
Cuatemala." 1000 pp. Institute Agropecuario Nacional, Servicio
Cooperative Inter-Americano de Agricultura, Hinisterio de Agricultura,
Guatemala.









- .7b


5. United States Department of Agriculture, GRASS, the Yearbook of
Agriculture, 1948. Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D.C.


6. Marlo E. KONINCK, GRAMINEAS, Editorial Universitaria, Universidad
de San Carlos de Guatemala, 1973 Coleccl6n Aula Volimen 3 5208 ABC.
5c. 6-73 Impreso No. 975

7. Thomas J. Barrett, Harnessing The Earthworm, 1950, Bruce Humphries
Inc. Boston, Mass.

8. Authored by a Committee of Scientist of Agricultural Research
Service, USDA: B.A. Stewart, D.A. Woolhiser, W.H. Wischmeier,
J.H. Caro, M.H. Frere, "Control of Water Pollution from Cropland"
Volumes I & II.

9. "Mayores Cosechas Empleando la Lombriz Coqueta Roja."
Autor: Ingeniero Agr6nomo, Jerome E. Arledge, Especialista en
Conservaci6n de Suelos y Agua. Empleado por Depto. de Agricultura
de los EE.UU.; Servicio de Conservaci6n de Suelos. El Folleto fue
publicado por: Ministerio de Agricultura, Sector Pbblico Agricola,
Direcci6n General de Servicios Agrfcolas, Regi6n I,DIGESA.
























Trans: BB 6/25/80
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Por Ing. Jerome I. Ardgd
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