Many farmers always wonder about newer, more efficient ways to farm. Farming becomes more and more precise every day; farmers struggle to keep up with moisture loss caused by dry-spells, soil and nutrient run-off caused by erosion, and trying to raise better yields. Although it may seem as if there is no answer, many farmers are turning to no-till as the solution. Some farmers stand against no-till, saying it keeps the ground too cold for too long in the spring, or that it will not allow them to get their crops up, but much research proves these beliefs wrong. No-till is an advantage over conventional-till for three main reasons: conserves moisture in the soil, reduces ...view middle of the document...
On a conventionally farmed field, water will run off at a faster rate since the ground is packed down so much and will not soak into the soil as good, while no-till allows water to soak into the unpacked soil easier. Given that the ground is naturally bonded together, water has it’s own way of soaking into the dirt and holding there. Not only does no-till conserve moisture, it also reduces erosion caused by wind and rain.
Another way no-till is more efficient is because it reduces erosion from blowing winds and water run-off. A study from the University of Nebraska states, “The most important advantage of conservation tillage systems is significantly less soil erosion due to wind and water.” Since the roots of the stalks in the ground are left alone, they allow soil to hold together stronger and is less accountable for erosion. No-till farmer Jim Voss makes it very clear, “Less soil moves during a big rain or a hard rain.” The roots and stalks in the ground act as a bonding agent and save soil from being washed and blown away. As Darnell Poage explains, “The advantage of no-till is that it keeps the ground covered to save the soil from washing and blowing.” Stubble left on the field protects the ground from harsh, high-speed winds. By leaving the stubble on the field, wind has less of an effect on blowing loose dirt away. Trash left lying undisturbed on the dirt helps soil to not be carried away by water run-off after big rains. All the stubble left on the field, directs water run-off into several major ruts instead of many smaller ones, allowing less water erosion across the field. Other than moisture conservation and erosion control, no-till is a benefit because it raises the quality of the topsoil.
No-till can strengthen a farmer’s yields by increasing the quality of the topsoil. Jim Voss gave his opinion, “The soil profile is better with no-till; the decaying roots allow water passages for rain to soak in.” Decayed roots in the ground rot away and leave small pores in the soil that reduces compaction of the topsoil. When the roots rot away, it leaves a small air pocket called a pore, and this pore helps on reducing compaction and loosening up the ground. As Mahdi Al-Kaisi stated:
No-till promotes the formation and enhancement of more stable soil aggregates (small clumps of soil particles that adhere to each other), resulting in more space or larger pores between the aggregates. Increased aggregation of the soil reduces crusting and enhances infiltration of air and water into more porous soil.
Not only do the decaying roots leave pores, but they also recycle themselves and go back into the soil. Darnell Poage explains this, “No-tilling creates more residue to decay and go back in the soil and improves the quality of the soil.” Mahdi Al-kaisi also supports this, “In a no-tillage system, residue can decompose slowly and release nutrients more efficiently into the soil system for crop use.”
By not turning up the dirt, helpful nutrients...