Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Soil Conservation and No Tillage Agriculture - in the NY Times???

When no-till farming gets into the pages of the New York Times newspaper then it is really time to stop and read the article and understand that you can do it too.

The link is :

And it is worth reading.

If you are already into conservation farming, then the ideas might not be new............but it does suggest that many have not made the change nor have they even thought about it.

Those who have, on the other hand can see the differences in soil performance and yield improvement - consistently.  And improvements in soil health and the biological systems in soil.
Commercial compost production for farm use - turning the row of compost

One thing you learn in dealing with degraded soils for example after mining or even civil works such as roads and construction is to rebuild the soils organic levels - often with mulch and what you see naturally is that happening - pioneering lichens give way to small plants and then in depressions where water accumulates real plants start to grow, all based on accumulating organic matter.  In farm soils that are poorly performing, it is the soil biology that needs a boost quite often, and this can improve moisture storage and availability.

Funny thing, it is really close to what I was taught in undergraduate ag science at university in the mid 1960s - a regular and sustained use of cover crops including leguminous ones such as cowpeas, clover etc, rotation of crops and even incorporating animals into the system.  Based on systems developed over many years, in Australia and Europe.

The US went all tillage along with bag nitrogen for crops.  Now it seems they are heading back to a sensible path that costs less to use. 

And might just perform better and be more economic!