Ann Clark, (whom I admire as a pasture expert) wrote a long post on her take of
the notill system and for the most part was suggesting that it is not
"E. Ann Clark" wrote:
> Might also add that even well managed no-till inherently and inescapably
> creates a whole suite of problems
> The obligatory dependence on herbicides
> Colleagues in Land Resource Science tell me that no-till slows down the rate
> of loss of OM under annual arable cropping, but does NOT increase full-profile
> soil OM.
> And then there is the issue of N-use efficiency.
> Surface residues also keep soil colder longer, which effectively shortens the
> growing season in a short season climate, such as we have in Canada.
> Only certain crops *can* be grown no-till,
> Another unintended effect of no-till is leaving allelochemically active
> residues on the soil surface
> So, from a different (pro-pasture, admittedly) vantage point, no-till is a
> proprietary band-aid to patch up a arable crop technology (annual tillage to
> produce annual grain crops) that is fundamentally at odds with the ecological
> integrity of farm land.
The "Permenant Cover Cropping System" that I have developed utilizes very little
chemicals and soil quality has increased dramatically. It is fundementally based
Notill has a place in Sustainable Ag. Just look at all the SARE funded projects
that have notill as a component.
> The problem(s) with tillage is soil erosion and
> degradation, with consequent effects on related processes, as water use
and this is a *HUGE* issue that most conventional farmers AND organic farmers
convieninatly sweep under the rug and ignore. It is the "skeleton in the closet"
of the organic row crop farmers.
There is no ideal ecologically perfect way to farm. Tillage is a diaster for soil
life and it is not natural, but that doesn't make notill the only way to farm. As
pointed out, it does have some negative baggage, but so does a well managed
> Admittedly, pasture
> also creates some potential problems, relating to soil compaction (and water
> infiltration etc.) and N leaching/volatilization - although these are at least
> partly managable through such practices as restricting labile N (less chemical
> N; lower % legume).
"Enhancing the Environment" http://www.cedarmeadowfarm.com/
Cedar Meadow Farm
679 Hilldale Road
Holtwood, PA 17532 USA
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