no-till


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no-till

(nō′tĭl′)
n.
A system for planting crops without plowing, using herbicides to control weeds and resulting in reduced soil erosion and the preservation of soil nutrients.
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Frank Lessiter of Lessiter Publications would appear to fit that basic mold, having published No-Till Farmer for nearly 30 years now.
Lessiter Publications (Brookfield, WI), the publisher of the controlled circulation monthly magazine "Farm Equipment," the paid circulation monthly magazine "No-Till Farmer," "Ag Equipment Intelligence," a paid circulation monthly newsletter, and related print and online information products for the agricultural sector, has increased frequency of "Rural Lifestyle Dealer" from two to four times a year.
Another utensil in the soil conservation tool kit--and a relatively new one--is conservation tillage, which includes both no-till and minimum tillage.
During the past decade, many Willamette Valley grass seed farmers have leapt on variations of the "full-straw, no-till, mulching" method of growing grass seed, said George Mueller-Warrant, one of a half-dozen authors of the paper.
Reduced tillage can increase soil carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but how does no-till farming affect profitability?
The answer to reversing that trend lies not in fertilizers and the cheap oil needed to produce them, the author asserts, but in no-till farming and other soil-conservation methods, such as reincorporating organic debris into existing soil.
No-till has been touted as one alternative, but it has drawbacks of its own.
Farms could potentially contribute a far larger quantity of biomass (998 million dry tons), and much of that may come from corn stover and perennial crops managed with no-till production techniques and collected with advanced harvesting equipment.
"Our new 'no-till' technology could eliminate the use of 30 million pounds of herbicides every year in the US," said David Ward, vice president of program development for TRI, which has developed a new tractor implement to reduce herbicide use in major crops such as soy, corn, and cotton.
Duke University recently announced that two of its ecologists have conducted a new study which suggests that while retiring croplands and switching to no-till agriculture could contribute "in a modest way" to reducing the increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), doubling fuel efficiencies of cars and light trucks could potentially achieve "much greater results."
No-till or low-till farming can replace intensive plowing, maintaining soil organic matter and moisture.
Since the early 1980s, the Straus dairy has used no-till planting methods, which eliminate the need for herbicides.