The advance Inca agriculture techniques were the reason the success of the Inca Empire. They develop an agriculture understanding and agriculture technology, difficult to compare with other cultures. They knew how to improve the quality of a vegetable, flavor and temperature resistance. They knew how to study a vegetable to improve its production in different climates. It’s unbelievable but they successfully experiment with the vegetables to produce hybrids by grafting the plants.
The greatest achievement of the Inca agriculture was to guarantee a sustainable and permanent food supply to all parts of the kingdom. They succeed using three methods of agriculture and several types of Inca Farming techniques. The Inca government order; dry the food before been store. Surprisingly the Inca storerooms could keep enough food to feed the entire kingdom for few years.
The most important Inca agriculture method was the Andenes. The Andenes are artificial terraces build on hillsides with an average of 30 to 40 degrees of inclination. The Incas irrigate the Andenes from top to bottom. So, study from where they will bring water, was important. The water channels were design and build before build the Andenes. The Inca Technology had tools to decide, plan and achieve this complex engineering projects.
First the entire face of the hill was cover with flat stones, creating a waterproof surface. Then from this waterproof wall, smaller rectangular long stones rise to work as anchor for the skeleton of the terrace. The final shape of the andenes was a long, rectangular, big and empty space; with several water entries and drain holes at the bottom.
The Incas fill up the Andenes with layers of different materials. At the bottom they place small and big stones. Next, the Incas fill up the Andenes, up to 50 centimeters from the top, with fertile ground brought from other locations. Then, they place their Inca agriculture fertilizers (excrements of seabirds call Guano or fishes) and putting more ground on top. Flipping the ground and fertilizing the Andenes after been use was the reason of their high crops production.
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The second Inca agriculture method was the Waru Waru. They use this method in areas with flat terrains, where using Andenes was not possible or the rain was the main water supply. The idea is to create crops with water surrounding it. They make it possible by building deep channels around the ground that will be use for the crops. When the channels were full of water, keep the ground wet and it was use like small fish farms for river fishes.
The third and final Inca agriculture method was the Quchakuna; word that means lagoon. The method was to build artificial lagoons in strategic places and then fill them up with water from the raining season. It was popular in the coast, but it wasn’t an unstable method, because it did not guarantee the permanent water supply like the Andenes. The Andenes was the best agriculture method; simply, because it was capable to produce stable and efficiently all year around.
The Incas had several agriculture investigation centers all over the kingdom. The bigger and more important investigation center is the circular Andenes of Moray in Cusco. Archaeologist believes that this center had hundreds of Inca agriculture technicians working all year around. They test new plants, develop hybrids and make more resistance plants. They could make a plant that grows over the sea level, been able to grow at 3000 meters over the sea level.
The Inca agriculture technicians were capable to test plants at different altitudes, because the circular Andenes of Moray resemble the ground temperature of different altitudes. Deeper circles are wormer, higher circles are colder; it means that each circular terrace is equal to 1000 meters of different temperature. The Andenes of Moray are proof the Incas understand the temperature influence in the plants. It means the soil temperature at high altitude affect the plants more than the climate above the plant.
The Inca agriculture knowledge still alive; it’s because most of the Andenes and Waru Waru agriculture areas are still in use today. The Inca hydraulics water channels still irrigate the Andenes; plus the Andenes still drain the water without any problem. The Inca water channels don’t need maintenance. It’s incredible how well the Incas develop, design and build such perfect agriculture methods.