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The best equipment for no-till farming

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The best equipment for no-till farming

No-till farming is gaining traction in the agricultural world. It is a method of farming which helps to improve the health of both soil and crops. No-till farming increases water storage through better infiltration, increases crop opportunities through better soil water-retention and is a more efficient farming method.

You will, however, need tillage equipment and other farm implements to get you started on your no-till farming adventure, a list of which is outlined below.

 

A no-till planter

A planter is arguably one of the most important pieces of equipment for farmers, especially if you are planning on going into no-till farming. You will be relying on your planter as your only pass through the field which means that this operation must be as fail proof as possible.

If you plan to use your existing no-till planter, then you will need to go over it with a fine-toothed comb as your goal is to have your crops planted at the same depth and spacing. This will ensure that every seed is in the exact same soil moisture and temperature environment, allowing for the crops to come out evenly.

 

A roller/crimper

Organic, no-till farming begins successfully with a cover-crop, which turns into mulch once it is killed or has died. In order to hasten this process, you can ‘kill’ the cover crop by hand with tools if your plot is small enough but for a larger piece of land, you will need farming implements to help you.

This is where a roller/crimper comes in handy. It is a large, heavy cylinder with long blades welded onto it in a chevron pattern. As it is rolled over a cover crop, the blades crimp the stems of the plants, killing them in place to make moisture-conserving mulch as part of the ground cover for your crops. This mulch adds organic matter to the soil as it degrades. Because a cover-crop needs to be thick, a roller/crimper is the ideal piece of farm equipment to use.

 

All-in-one tillage equipment

If you would like to start no-till farming but are not interested in buying a whole lot of separate pieces of equipment, then an all-in-one unit is a good option for you. These units are usually equipped with an electric lift, wavy coulter on the front, a seed stirator and an optional, chain-link harrow.

All-in-one tillage equipment offers an effective and efficient way to manage your crops and land while saving you money as you will only need to buy one piece of equipment. The options available on the market range from 300cc to 500cc, depending on the model you choose and what your needs are. This type of equipment is best for larger farms but can be useful on small holdings and gardens on a large piece of land.

 

A broadfork

Even with no-till farming, you will need to avoid soil compaction, which is where a tool such as a broadfork is useful. Loosening the soil with a broadfork allows you to have the benefits of deep tillage without actually performing any tilling.

Broadforks are hand tools with long tines that are perfect for digging deep into the soil when turning it. A subsoiler is another implement similar to a broadfork that is considered to be low or no-till. A subsoiler is a tractor attachment that can be dragged through the soil to loosen compacted bed. Using a broadfork or other hand tools is an effective no-till method that eliminates compacted soil and other issues.

 

A no-till seed drill

A no-till seed drill is a piece of equipment that places seeds at the correct depth and space apart. The front ‘openers’ or blades cut a trench into the soil, then the double disk seed drill places the seed at the correct depth. The packer wheels cover the hole and pack the soil for the correct seed-to-soil contact.

A no-till drill ensures accurate planting of crops, and also means that less seed needs to be used, saving farmers money and effort. The price of seed can become expensive, which means that accurate planting is necessary to save money and make a profit from your crops. No-till may sound like a practice that does not use machinery, but equipment such as a no-till seed drill makes it a more labour-saving process.

 

Conclusion

No-till farming is fast becoming popular among both commercial and private farmers. It is a way to save water and help to conserve the environment, as well as saving both money and time. The best equipment for the job includes a no-till planter, a broadfork to eliminate compacted soil, a roller/crimper and a no-till seed drill for accuracy. Once you have these tools, you will be able to start your journey on the path of no-till farming.

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