Why you should look into no-till farming

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Why you should look into no-till farming

Farming can be damaging to the environment but you can lessen this effect by looking into introducing no-till farming into your practices. It is a manner of farming which does not disturb the soil through tillage or ploughing. It is highly environmentally friendly and can help to decrease soil erosion and other environmental damage caused by farming.


Soil erosion is reduced

One of the major reasons why no-till farming should be something you look into on your farm is because it is highly effective at reducing soil erosion. The long-term productivity of the soil will be maintained too.

The runoff from herbicides and fertilisers is also reduced by using no-till farming, and the fertile topsoil is also not lost. This means you will not have to use as much fertiliser and herbicide on your crops or land, saving you on agricultural finance for such items.


Water conservation

Because no-till farming leaves crop residues on the soil, it helps to reduce the evaporation of soil moisture which then helps the soil to absorb more water and significantly reduces runoff. Having moisture-rich soil helps to provide fecund land for crops.

This water conservation practice increases the amount of infiltration of irrigation and rainwater, which is extremely beneficial for the growth of crop plants. Farmers in drought-prone regions will find this highly beneficial, as the arid land will be able to provide them with the ability to grow crops despite the difficult conditions.


Reduced fuel and equipment usage

No-till farming means that you do not have to use your equipment as often, which reduces the wear and tear on the machinery. Your fuel consumption will also decrease significantly with this method of farming.

Because you are using your equipment less, you are reducing the amount of dust in the atmosphere and your carbon footprint. You will release fewer emissions too, which contributes to the health of your farm and your crops. Maintenance costs on your equipment will also go down due to not being used as often as traditional tillage farming.


Crop yields are increased

As soil fertility is built and maintained, and water conserved in the soil, you will find that no-till farming will increase and improve crop yields. This is especially useful for farmers in areas with low moisture levels.

However, it can take years to notice a change in crop yields, so be aware that you will have to be patient in order to see results. Introducing no-till farming should not be an instant process but rather something that you try on certain areas to see the results before making the decision to continue with it.


Less soil compaction

Soil that is not tilled is much less compacted than soil that is tilled. Tillage breaks up the natural structure of the soil which decreases its ability to hold heavy loads, such as wheel traffic from the tillage machinery.

Loss of structure always makes the soil more vulnerable to compaction. Many farmers believe that soil needs to be loosened with tillage for effective water infiltration and root growth. However, after a heavy rain, that soil has run back together again, which will lead to more tillage. The soil on a no-till farm does not have this issue and will retain its structure and avoid compaction.


It is versatile

No-till farm is viable for a large number of crops, including corn, soybeans, sunflowers, wheat and sorghum. You can implement a no-till farming plan no matter what crops you plant, and can even use this technique for vegetables.

Due to its versatility, no-till farming is rising in popularity among farmers who produce varied crops. They are able to use one method of farming across the board, which increases productivity and lessens the amount of time spent on working on the land. It is also a great technique for new farmers who are unsure of which crops they are interested in farming, allowing them to ascertain which are easier to maintain with no-till farming.

Beneficial insects and microbes are increased

Soil fertility will improve and be maintained because of the crop residue remaining, which in turn will improve the overall soil ecology. This leads to an increase in beneficial insects which can help to act as natural deterrents to the insects which require herbicides and insecticides to kill.

The beneficial soil microbes will also increase, which support the base of a healthy food web that can support a wide array of wildlife. You can include using cover crops with no-till farming to further boost these benefits. The microbes and nutrients in the soil will allow for more fertile lands and better crop yields.


Final thoughts

Embracing no-till farming is beneficial not only to your productivity but to the environment. You will stop soil erosion, a common problem on farms, and you will also conserve water. Money saving is a huge advantage of no-till farming due to the fact that you will not have to use your machinery as often, which means that you will incur less fuel and repair costs. Introduce no-till farming gradually, however, as it is a technique that may not work on every type of land. It is best suited for dryer areas where losing water to tillage farming is a risk.

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