The educational materials listed on this page are about No-Till.
No-till farming is a conservation tillage technique where all of a previous crop's residue is left on the soil surface after harvest. No-till systems are usually managed using specific tools—a conservation planter for row crops or a no-till drill for more narrowly seeded crops. Crop residue on the soil surface helps improve soil health by providing protection against soil erosion, temperature extremes and water evaporation, and adding soil organic matter. If converting to no-till from a traditional tillage system, producers may start with a less drastic change such as strip-, ridge- or zone-till to help increase the soil’s organic matter. No-till farmers have to be more aware of weed control, compaction prevention and seed placement than conventional farmers. Cover crops are often turned under in conventional tillage systems, but adding cover crops to a no-till system improves soil health, provides nutrients and increases soil moisture. Using no-till in organic systems is not as common because residue on the soil surface increases weed pressure. Organic producers can use a roller crimper to flatten cover crops, which creates a mulch that will help suppress weeds. Learn about the impact that tillage has on your soils and various soil conservation options in the Reducing Tillage chapter of Building Soils for Better Crops.
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Perkins’ Good Earth Farm is a small family farm that operates on 19 acres. They currently grow only one-quarter acre of organic garlic but hope to increase their productivity in this area by 50 percent. Two major challenges in achieving this goal are the cost of additional labor and worker comfort during planting and harvesting. […]
Producers and Researchers Collaborate to Improve Soil Health in North Dakota
Soil—and whole farms—have been renewed through soil-improving practices like cover crops and no till. In the semiarid plains of western North Dakota, a team of producers and researchers are working to boost soil health for improved yield stability, farm income, and natural resource health of farms. The Southwest North Dakota Soil Health Project is a […]
Enhancing Crop Yield Through Wild Pollinators
In this journal article, SARE-supported research provides a general framework and examples of approaches for enhancing pollinator richness and abundance, quantity and quality of pollen on stigmas, crop yield, and farmers’ profit, including some benefits detected only through long-term monitoring. The authors argue for integrating the promotion of wild-insect species richness with single-species management to benefit farmers and society.
Women Caring for the Land: Improving Conservation Outreach to Female Non-Operator Farmland Owners Curriculum Manual
With the help of an NCR-SARE Research and Education Grant and funding from other sources, WFAN developed an award winning curriculum called Women Caring for the LandSM (WCL), which is designed to serve female non-operator landowners who are interested in learning more about conservation and other land management topics. The materials are also appropriate to teach youth about sustainable agriculture through hands-on conservation activity lesson plans.
Dakota Farmer's Success Catches On
Dan Forgey has always had an abiding respect for the land that he has farmed for more than 40 years, which is why, as manager of the 8,500-acre Cronin Farms in Gettysburg, S.D., he strives to build soil health—and yields—sustainably. First, he shifted the farm to 100 percent no-till in 1993, around the time that […]