Why No-till Farming Is Important?
As of 1990, 6% of the farmland was being farmed using no-till practices in America. Adoption rates have been increasing in 2004, about 22%, in 2016, about 35% and so far.
According to the report conducted by the US Department of Agriculture in 2012, Kansas was the top state for no-till farming approximately farmland with 10.4 million acres.
And the list was like this you can see here:
- Nebraska with 9.4 million acres
- South Dakota 7.2 million acres
- Montana 6.9 million acres
- Lowa with 7 million acres
- North Dakota with 7.8 million acres
In 1940, the idea of no-tillage farming was started by Edward H. Faulkner. He is an author of the well-loved book named Plowman’s Folly, which is available on Amazon.
But it was not much developed back then until different researchers and farmers started to try out the idea.
A few early adopters of no-till farming are Edward Faulkner, Klingman from North Carolina, L.A. Porter from New Zealand, Harry and Lawrence Young from Herndon and Kentucky. And this list is not limited.
Conventional and Organic farming still largely depends on tillage. There are so many reasons to adopt no-till farming even if you’re turning to cover crops for weed control. Set a goal and prepare the land and convert your farmland into no-till farming.
This post is all about no-till farming or no-tillage farming, and we are going to give you enough explanations on why No-till farming is important.
Let’s jump into it.
What is no-till farming?
No-till farming is having zero tillage. In other words, it is known as direct drilling.
It is an agricultural technique, without disturbing the soil through tillage, you can grow crops or pasture easily with the same investment or even less.
No-till farming provides many advantages such as it decreases the amount of soil erosion tillage and increases the water percentage that causes infiltrates into the soil and nutrient cycling.
Typically, no-till farming requires the use of very large amounts of herbicides to control weeds, moreover, you need to increase the variety of life in and on the soil.
This process completely blends surface crop residues, animal manure, and weeds into the soil while working deep in the field.
What is no-till farming and how does it prevent erosion?
It is not surprising for farmers across the country about conservation tillage practices, especially no-till farming. They can save money and time as compared to conventional tillage.
The amount of water in the soil without tillage increases, leading to soil infiltration, organic matter retention, and nutrient cycling, and that is why it reduces or eliminates soil erosion.
As we have earlier said, no-till farming drastically reduces soil erosion. And according to the USDA’s National Resources Inventory between 1982 to 2003, there was a 43% reduction in soil erosion in the U.S. alone.
Benefits of no-till farming and why it is important?
There are plenty of benefits to adopting no-till farming. The few potential benefits of no-till are from improving soil health to reducing annual fuel and investments in labour as well as saving time.
At the same time, it has no limited benefits as you can invest money switching to a new farming practice, which is no-till farming.
On average, farmers spend over six gallons of diesel fuel per acre each year for just practising continuous conventional farming.
And in no-till farming, it requires less than two gallons per acre, which is an insane amount of saving in fuel.
If you’re a farmer and if you manage at least one crop in rotation without tilling – seasonal no-till – you can save an additional 305 million gallons of fuel per year.
No-till farming benefits
In no-till farming, there is no role in soil erosion, so less soil blows away. No-till planting helps control the loss of topsoil.
- It saves your time: No-till farming saves you in many ways, such as labour costs, seasons gap. Before soil dries too much, it helps you to crop plants easily.
- It saves fuel costs: In no-till farming, you will dramatically reduce fuel costs because you will no more depend on mechanical machines.
- Remains soil healthier: When you avoid tillage, it increases soil organic matter, and this is the most prominent benefit of no-till farming.
Why don’t all farms use no-till practice?
In America, most of the farmers believe in the old farming methods like plow was being pulled by a tractor. But things are changing drastically, and people now ready to adopt no-till farming, but the number is still less as compared to usual.
Technically if you see, the soil for planting is now running out, most of the global farms are preparing to cultivate in this way. Several reasons have mentioned tillage, as it has many side effects including the environment and farming at the same time.
On the other hand, the techniques are not being universally embraced, because many groups of organic farmers, they think they’ll have to embrace new tools that are shunning it.
We use tillage primarily of weed control. Farmers use plows to foot deep of soil is overturned, and due to this process, they lose 90 percent of the crop residue from the topsoil.
If farmers start adopting no-till farming, they get benefited from this loss and increases the profit at the same time.
Farmers always want to adopt new techniques and technologies for their farming, but get helpless several times due to natural phenomena and disasters.
A time in which fierce storms and droughts ruined crops and farmlands. And then many midwestern farmers decided to choose tillage based farming.
How to start no-till farming?
It is a way to grow crops using no-till farming from season to season without disturbing soil with tillage.
Farmers are aware of no-till farming, and they want to get success with these methods, and still, they have multiple options to do it.
According to the research, it shows that no-till farming reduces soil erosion and increases the life of the soil. Besides, it improves the soil biological fertility to make the soil more resilient.
By eliminating conventional farming methods that we embrace no-till farming and using machines, we achieve gardens and times community gardens.
Few issues may get found before converting no-till farming, you must look into it. The surface roughness, deep compaction, and soil pH value.
It may be a better decision to convert your farmland into no-till farming than buying one already done no-till planter.
If you decided to begin no-till farming, then we would suggest you start educating yourself first. It shouldn’t be ignored, by the way, you should focus on the exact process according to your desire outcomes.
This will be wise if you get mentorship from experts who are providing training or farmers who are already doing, which you want to do. Attend workshops an meet with strangers who are directly connected with no-till farming if you find some.
So, plan before entering into no-till farming. We have followed some easy steps after you started.
- Always consider covering the soil and keep the residue above the soil surface because it protects the soil from the effects of wind, sometimes intense heat, and rainfall. You have to save water if you are not doing this at high temperatures, everything you are growing will eventually die.
- During tillage fungi, or bacteria that are present in healthy soils get destroyed. So, to prevent it, do not disturb the soil.
- Make sure a sufficient amount of nitrogen should be present at the top six inches of the soil, and each small decline in organic of the soil you lose a big amount of nitrogen.
- Feeding of soil bio: – Make sure when crops are being raised, soil organisms must have enough food to sustain themselves.
No-till farming equipment
No-till farming is gaining popularity to grow crops, moreover, organic crops in the agricultural world.
This method of farming helps to improve the health of soil and crops eventually. AS it increases the water storage in the soil, it increases the opportunities to grow crops in a better way.
There are some easier parts and equipment available for no-till farming:
Your decision is for no-till farming, then the no-till planter is especially one of the most important pieces of equipment for you or any farmers.
This is going to be your best proof of possible equipment, where you’ll be more reliant on it during no-till farming.
This tool will help you to do the same depth and spacing while planting and make sure that every seed is in the exact position in the soil.
And other few tools are such as:
- A roller or crimper
- All-in-one tillage equipment
- A no-till seed drill
- A broadfork
No-till farming advantages & Disadvantages
Do you know no-till farming leads to more fertile soil? There is a high chance you’d have familiar with that. Eventually, no-till farming saves from the damage the structure and ecology of the soil, because tilling a field for years are responsible for that.
With that, there are many advantages as well as disadvantages of doing no-till farming.
What are the advantages of no-till farming?
- In no-till farming, you reduce the fuel, labour cost, and equipment costs that give you big benefits instantly.
- Imagine, now you have to spend fewer hours on a tractor and not relying on tillage tools that were a big headache.
- Another big benefit you get improvement in soil structure. Tillage is not the best fit to save soil, whereas it disrupts the natural structure of soil and some of the carbon gets prevents from that it needs into the air.
- With the help of no-till farming, you keep more of the nutrients in the soil.
What are the disadvantages of no-till farming?
- After harvest, there is a high risk of carrying over plant diseases if you do not incorporate the crop residue.
- You need to be more patient after entering in no-till farming, it takes time.
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Farmers are preventing the environment from natural ways using no-till farming. Tilling damages the soil and exposes earthworms and other beneficial organisms. Moreover, to avoid releasing carbon dioxide to stop tilling and use no-till farming.
No-till farming helps you to decrease emissions of carbon dioxide in the air. You must know no-till farming is the number one factor for productive soils.
In this post, we have tried to explain to you, why no-tillage farming is important. If you have any questions related to no-till farming, you can comment below and we will answer you shortly.