Effect of no-till on conservation of the soil and soil fertility
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Conventional tillage with plow disks and harrows leaving bare soil must no longer be considered recommended practice. Continuous no-till, maintaining soil cover with plant residues, called Conservation Agriculture (CA) must become the standard practice used by agriculture. Initially, more fertilizer may be required, but, as soil organic carbon (SOC) increases, the soil becomes more productive, requiring the same or even less fertilizer due to the increased values of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and also greater pH and cation exchange capacity. Soil cover protects the soil against the impact of raindrops, prevents the loss of water from the soil through evaporation, and also protects the soil from the heating effect of the sun. Good aggregation, abundant surface crop residue, and a biologically active soil are keys to drought-proofing a soil. The utilization of CA with permanent soil cover not only improves soil and water quality for the farmer, but also improves the environment for all. CA has experienced wide application and levels of farmer acceptance on more than 100 million ha worldwide and is gaining even greater interest due to demonstrated increases in production, profitability and sustainability. In order to be successful, practicable, and fail-proof and to achieve widespread adoption of CA, farmers require an adequate level of knowledge to ensure that all aspects of the no-till production system are being considered.