No-Till Agriculture By: Madison & Scout

What is No-Till Agriculture?

No-Till Agriculture is when farmers avoid tilling the soil and instead rely on natural processes to decompose the previous crop and turn it into fertilizer for the new crop.

How widely is this type of agriculture implemented?

According to a 2009 study only 10% of farmland in the United states is solely operated by No-Till practices, while 35% of farmland uses a mixture of Till and No-Till practices.

Less than 7% of farmlands worldwide use No-Till procedures.

Advantages:

It reduces labor and equipment costs along with the amount of fuel emissions produced.

There is better soil structure.

Crop residue left over from previous plantings can help with the prevention of soil erosion in the seasons where no crops have been planted.

Reduces traffic on the field, which helps reduce the compacting of soil. Less compacted soil leads to better flow of water throughout the soil; it is also easier for the roots of crops to spread farther into the soil.

Disadvantages:

The ability to control weeds decreases with No-Till practices.

Leftover crops that are not tilled can become disease ridden and infect the new crops.

It takes time for fields to yield a large crop after No-Till practices are implemented.

Popular or not popular?

No-Till agriculture is not the most popular thing, but it has become more popular over the last couple years. Farmers are starting to realize the benefits of No-Till agriculture, but it is a long process to transition from Till to No-Till.

Importance of No-Till for soil quality:

The leftover crops that are left on top of the soil help with retaining water and providing proper hydration of the future plants roots. The decomposition of the leftover crops leads to the release of vital nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) into the soil, which helps with the growth of future plants.

All of the decomposing crops cause the soil to create soil clods. Soil clods create large pore spaces in the soil which allow for water and air to go through the soil to the roots of the plants.

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