How does topography affect agriculture?

How does topography affect agriculture

Topography is the study of the land, including its features and characteristics such as elevation, slope, soil, and other features. Topography is often studied using maps, which show the position of objects on the ground and their relationships to other things and elements. Maps are used to determine locations, distances, directions, and areas. They are also used to show the shape and size of a region to assess the economy and demographics. Almost all industries require specific characteristics to support their business. One of them is agriculture. This article will review how topography affects agriculture input and output. 

The topography of an agricultural area can significantly impact the crops grown and the farming methods used. For example, areas with steep slopes may be more suited to terraced crops. Meanwhile, flatter areas are better for large-scale farming operations. The type of topography can also affect how water is drained from the land, impacting irrigation and the types of crops that can be grown.

Moreover, sufficient water, rich soils, and adequate slopes are essential for agriculture to be possible. The different landscapes are suitable for different types of agriculture. Different soils also have additional nutrient requirements. For example, clay soils need fertilizer, while sandy soils with lots of organic matter are better suited for forage crops. 

How does topography determine the type of soil?

The type of soil found on a specific field of land is usually determined by the orientation and steepness of the land and the amount of moisture available to it. And it creates additional soil development. The type of soil found on a particular parcel of land also often correlates with its vegetation. For example, a plot of land that is higher in elevation is more likely to have rocky, erosion-prone soil. In contrast, a parcel of land that is lower in height is more likely to have fertile soil and capable of supporting a lot of vegetation.

Topography soils on hills tend to be shallow because of eruptive processes. Meanwhile, grounds on the tops of hills tend to be deep but lighter in color. Valley soils are often deeper, darker, and have more horizons. It is because rising deposition process from hillside erosion, material buildup from downward leaching from hilltops, and improved water collecting in lesser places.

So, what kind of topography offers suitable land for agriculture?​ Flatlands are better suited to farming than highlands because they are lesser, mostly flatlands with abundant rivers and streams. These rivers and streams serve as water supplies, ensuring that the crops planted by farmers are increasingly beneficial. The silt that a river transports onto a plain during floods may also help the plain's soil fertility. Flatlands have a low altitude, which means they have pleasant warm weather. On the other hand, highlands are relatively high-lying, with few rivers and other sources of nutrient replacement for the soil. Furthermore, they often have icy conditions, inappropriate for several horticultural crops.

How can drones be used for topographic mapping?

Drones are quickly changing the game of topographic mapping. They can cover large areas in a short amount of time and produce high-quality data. The data is beneficial for a company that needs accurate data to map large areas for various purposes. Avirtech, a precision agriculture enabler in Southeast Asia, has drone-enabled land surveys which offer multiple mapping outputs for your business needs, such as digital surface model, digital elevation model, digital terrain model, cross selection DSM, contour line 3D, and point cloud. 

Digital surface model

A Digital Surface Model (DSM) is a topographical design representing natural and artificial environment elements. Buildings, trees, powerlines, and other items are all included. It is typically a canopy model since it only 'sees' ground and nothing else is above it.

Digital elevation model

A Digital Elevation Model (DEM) portrays the topographic surface of the bare Earth without trees, buildings, or other surface items. DEMs can be derived from a combination of different sources.

Digital terrain model

A digital terrain model (DTM ) is a three-dimensional model of the Earth's surface consisting of an array of pixels with a specified size. The landscape model only includes altitude information and ignores vegetation, buildings, and other features.

Cross-section DSM

A topographic profile (also known as a cross-section) represents the topography where a longitudinal plane converges it. The shapes are advantageous because they are cross-sections that demonstrate the changes in land structure along the profile's line.

Contour line 3D

Contour lines depict a portion of the Earth's surface using contour lines to create altitude above sea level or depth under sea level.

Point cloud

A laser tracking system locates multiple pre-designated points in space and reverts the data into a virtual map in point cloud mapping. For example, there could be linear building support near the location of a new rotating drying system.


Knowing the best topography analyst can determine your business result, especially in agriculture. There are multiple precision topography methods that Avirtech has for your business. So, inbox us at to know more about how our drone topography service can benefit your agriculture business. 

Posted by : Nurhayati Published At : 23/05/2022 08:57:09


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