Why Do Terrain Comparisons Matter When Buying Farmland?

FBN Network

28 July 2023

Terrain comparisons to the county can help farmers decide whether to purchase a new parcel of farmland by providing valuable insights into the land's topography and water drainage patterns. This information is crucial for assessing the land's suitability for agricultural operations.

When interpreting terrain comparison information, it is important to understand how the terrain characteristics can impact your decision. 

RELATED: Forecasting 2023 Farmland Values: Will U.S. Land Prices Decrease This Year?

Farmland Slope

Farmland slope information helps farmers evaluate water runoff and erosion control. Steep slopes may be more prone to erosion, which can lead to soil loss and reduced productivity, while gentle slopes may allow for better water infiltration and drainage.


Elevation can also play a role in determining a parcel’s suitability for certain crops. Different crops have specific elevation requirements, and some may thrive at higher elevations while others may prefer lower elevations.

Terrain Wetness Index

The terrain wetness index provides insights into water accumulation propensity. This information is particularly relevant for assessing the land's drainage capabilities. Excessive water accumulation can lead to waterlogged soil, which can negatively impact crop growth and yield. For instance, if you plan to grow crops that require well-drained soil, a high wetness index may raise concerns.

It's important to note that while terrain comparisons are valuable, they should be considered alongside other important factors such as: 

  • Soil productivity

  • Access to water sources

  • Long-term investment value

  • Your financial position

By considering the terrain comparison data in relation to your farming goals and practices, you can make an informed decision about a potential land purchase. Consulting with agricultural experts or agronomists can also provide additional guidance in assessing the land's suitability for your farming operation.

Get Terrain Comparison Information with AcreVision℠ from FBN®

If you’re looking for terrain comparisons to county information before making a farmland purchase, FBN recently launched a new evaluation tool to help you get the insights you need to make an informed buying decision.

AcreVision, which is available for free to FBN members, is an innovative farmland evaluation system designed to assist farmers in making informed decisions about potential land purchases by providing vital insights into specific farmland parcels. This information includes soil types, comparable sales, terrain information and other details. 

The terrain comparison information, which includes farmland slope, elevation, and terrain wetness index, is derived from the United States Geological Survey (USGS). It allows farmers to understand the land's characteristics and how they may impact farming practices.

Try AcreVision for free today by clicking here. 

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FBN Network

28 July 2023

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