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Jam Lady

No Till Farming in the USA

Interesting?

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/10/science/farmers-put-down-the-plow-for-more-productive-soil.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news
Rob R

It comes and goes - was popular here around the mid 1990's, relied more on RoundUp, though.
dpack

sensible article and a sensible way to farm imho

turning soil is best done by worms whenever possible
Mistress Rose

This seems to be an extension of the dry farming tecnique they have been using in parts of the US, and more recently in the UK since the 1930s I think. Interesting, and not too sure what I think of it. Sounds sensible from the point of view of soil nutrients, but could be perennial weed problems.
Piggyphile

Quote:
Mr. McAlister, for example, still uses nitrogen fertilizer. He plants seeds that are genetically modified for drought or herbicide resistance. And he depends on herbicides like Roundup to kill off his cover crops before sowing the crops he grows for cash.


Not the style of farming I would support. Would ploughing in the cover crops be better long term than poisoning them?
Rob R

Quote:
Mr. McAlister, for example, still uses nitrogen fertilizer. He plants seeds that are genetically modified for drought or herbicide resistance. And he depends on herbicides like Roundup to kill off his cover crops before sowing the crops he grows for cash.


Not the style of farming I would support. Would ploughing in the cover crops be better long term than poisoning them?


Better grazing them IMO.
dpack

grazing and/or gruntivation seems sensible .that worked quite well for a few thousand years .
until somebody put a plough between two steam engines or behind one ploughing was a minority sport and reserved for the most important crops/locations.

with an ox and a sharp stick it made sense to keep it to a minimum
Tavascarow

There are two types, one I fully support the other is poisoning the world IMHO.
No Till or minimum till using surface hoeing & mulches is excellent.
Monsantos version is a crime against humanity & nature.
Mistress Rose

I certainly don't think poisoning the green manure is helpful at any level. D-pack, ploughing in the past, pre-steam tended to be on lighter soils, so heavier ploughs meant it was easier to plough clay soils.
mal55

Quote:
Better grazing them IMO.


Add in livestock and you have the good ol' mixed farming and crop rotation system that used to be the standard!

There is a meadow in the village where I used to live that has some sort of preservation order on it because it is one of the best examples of a "medieval" hay meadow in the country. I know for a fact that it was planted in 1948. The soil round there is a black sand that blows away if it dries and pretty unproductive. The farmer, Charles Blakey had seen a recipe for a mix of Iron Age field weeds in "Cobett's Rides" which he recommended for just such soil so he ordered a load for his parent's farm from a seed merchant based in Norfolk.
The mix worked and put so much "heart" back into the soil he said the plough had a job to turn it! He was offered a job that he just couldn't turn down -as a stockman for the RCMP- and the "medieval" meadow ended up being left as it was.

It shows that much of what we think of as "new" technology and ideas are actually pretty old and keep getting recycled! Iron Age to Georgian to 1940s and now being newly discovered again.

Part of what he reckoned the problem was, wasn't the ploughing itself but the depth of ploughing. Fairly shallow ploughing and lying fallow for a few years gave the soil a chance to build up "heart" enough to withstand deeper ploughing.
Rob R

I've been saying for a long time now that we need to eat fewer cultivated crops and more meat for a sustainable future but the eat less meat lobby is strong. We've had livestock for thousands of years and the plough for only a few centuries. Yes, we're eating more meat in the last half century but equally we're eating a lot more fresh produce.

The landscape of the past involved much smaller areas of cultivation on the easier to work patches, while all around, on the less desirable bits, stood wood, heath & marsh, all producing fuel & livestock. Now the meatless crew want us to turn livestock farms over to veg, but none of them are doing it. If you're lucky you'll find some advocates putting their money where their mouth it, but I doubt it'll be on heavy clay or marsh, so it can't be a one size fits all solution.
Mistress Rose

Depends what you mean by plough Rob. They were using ards, which furrow, but don't turn the soil, by the Iron Age in Britain, from as early as 800BC, and they work well on light soils.

I do agree with you that mixed farming with both arable and pasture is the best way to go though, whether on the same or nearby farms. Some soil is good for one thing, some another. They ploughed a field opposite us one year, but I noticed it was back to stock again fairly quickly as it is so steep and stony.
Rob R

Depends what you mean by plough Rob. They were using ards, which furrow, but don't turn the soil, by the Iron Age in Britain, from as early as 800BC, and they work well on light soils.


We used to be limited by what an animal could pull, if we went down the extreme veggies route we'd be limited by what a person could pull.
Nick

Depends what you mean by plough Rob. They were using ards, which furrow, but don't turn the soil, by the Iron Age in Britain, from as early as 800BC, and they work well on light soils.

We used to be limited by what an animal could pull, if we went down the extreme veggies route we'd be limited by what a person could pull.

On a diet of vegetables only, that wouldn't be much at all.
Tavascarow

Regenerative farming not geoengineering.
IMHO Monsantos kill everything but the crop isn't no till but chemical till, & comes under the geoengineering banner when it gets to the scale it's at now. Albeit geoengineering for profit not ecosystem repair.
Mistress Rose

An interesting article, and contains a lot of sense. In the 1960s, when we had just about recovered from WWII in the UK, it was a brave new world and most people believed that technology could cure all ills. Since then, we have found out it can't and whil most of the buildings of that era have been demolished or are becoming quickly unuseable, older building survive well. Same with technology. I worked in it form many years, and it has a lot of uses, but we also need to think about how we work with rather than against nature.
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