What is No-till Planting and How Does One Achieve It?
From a biological standpoint, there are tremendous benefits of no-till farming. No-till farming is when crops are grown year to year without disturbing the soil through tillage. By taking this approach you are protecting the soil’s biological matter and increasing its water penetration. Mechanisation implements in farming can assist in preventing erosion and it can allow farmers to keep their yields fruitful and virtually guaranteed.
In conventional tillage, the earth is ploughed at a depth of 20 to 30 cm. The land is disked at least twice more to prepare for seeds to be planted. With the no-till method the first three steps of conventional cultivation are not implemented. Instead, seeds are planted in existing tunnels that were caused by previous roots or weeds. This is usually done by using a coulter to widen the small tunnel, place the seed and close it again.
Continuous tillage, in the attempt to bury crop residue, manure or weeds, can seriously damage soil and cause infertility. No-till farming can ensure long-term fertility and less water usage. The crop residue that is left on the soil prevents moisture from evaporating thus water travels easily through existing tunnels. Farmers also save money because there is no need to plough-lands; subsequently, farmers also do not have to pay for fuel or labour.
Crop yields will also increase. As the soil constantly becomes more fertile, the overall ecology in the soil gets healthier. Water is conserved in the soil so crops will increase significantly. However, this may take years or even decades to come into full effect.
How to adopt the no-till planting method
Some experts (and those with significant no-till experience) suggest the following pointers should you decide to convert:
- Keep residue on top of your soil to protect your seedlings from the elements and to prevent water from evaporating during intense heat.
- Some beneficial fungi are present in healthy soil and tillage destroys them. Do not disturb your soil as these fungal properties will increase and allow your crops to flourish.
- Feed your soil and be sure to tend to it carefully as there are many helpful organisms that need food in order to sustain themselves in the crop growing process.
- Invest in proper equipment. Consider what equipment you will need and see that it is reliable and of good quality. Visit Piket Implements on our agricultural product directories to peruse your various options.