Skip Navigation

Field Border

field border








Strips of permanent vegetation at the edge of a field used in place of end rows.

How it works

Strips of permanent vegetation are established on the outside edges of a field. Permanent vegetation replaces crop end rows that would be planted uphill and downhill and be highly erosive. Field borders are often used with contour farming, terraces, and contour stripcropping systems.

How it helps

  • Reduces sheet and rill erosion by slowing the flow of water
  • Filters runoff to improve water quality
  • May be harvested in some cases and are easier to turn equipment on than some end rows
  • Provides cover for small birds and animals

Planning ahead

  • Will the field border be wide enough to turn your equipment?

Technical notes

  • Border widths are specific to the purpose and location.
  • Borders need to be seeded or left in place when a hay field is plowed.
  • Establish borders with locally-adapted grass, legumes and/or shrub species.


  • Delay mowing field borders until after July 15 to allow time for young nesting birds to leave their nests.
  • Replant and fertilize as necessary to maintain desired cover.
  • Shut off farm chemical sprayers when turning sprayer equipment on a field border, and insist custom chemical applicators do the same.