No-tillage Farming: Methods, Effects, Benefits

Alt: = "photo of no-tillage farming corn field"

No-tillage farming impacts positively to the environment as it eliminates the negative impacts of farming actives on the environment, climate, organisms.

No-tillage farming is the oldest method of cultivation. The early farmers adopted Thai method when there were no much farming tools. This proves that farmers can farm without plowing the soil.

What is No-tillage Farming?

No-tillage farming is a farm practice that involves growing of crops and pastures without disturbing the soil or with little disturbance and interference with the soil through the plowing. The major aims of no-tillage agricultural practice are to increase and maintain the amount t of water, moisture in the farm soil and retain, recycle the soil nutrients available both on the surface and underneath.

Method of No-tillage Agricultural Practice

Use of suitable agricultural equipment and machinery

Management of soil drainage

Management of gullies on the farm

Use of cover crops

Management of soil temperature

Use of Herbicides

Use of Suitable Agricultural Equipment and Machinery

No-tillage agriculture requires special agricultural tools and machinery suitable for no-tillage or near no-tillage to avoid soil disturbance.

Management of Soil Drainage

Due to non disturbance of the topsoil in no-tillage farming, farm with excess water will retain excess water. Therefore there would be need to deploy advanced method  of water drainage to reduce the water on the soil surface. The use of soil tiles is the most recommended method of water drainage to improve the drainage of the soil. This method is very expensive, but farmers can adopt climate smart agriculture by allowing the excess water to naturally dry, cultivating the right crops in season suitable for them and studying the weather before planting.

Management of Gullies on the Farm

Gullies form on the no-tillage farming despite the fact that there is no plowing of the soil and no-tillage being one of the erosion control farming methods. The drainage gullies get wider by the year as there is no tillage to topple the soil and cover the gullies at the early stage. The use of cover crops is recommended in preventing and managing gullies on no-tillage farm.

Advantages of No-tillage Farming

  • No-till helps to maintain soil health and prevent soil erosion
  • It conserves soil moisture and decreases water spent due to slowed evaporation and low cracking.
  • As the moisture is conserved, there would be no much need for irrigation, and would reduce herbicides leakage into the soil and water body.
  • Cuts costs of farming equipment, maintenance, and fossil fuel usage, as there will be no need for plowing machines to plow the entire farmland.
  • Reduces need and cost of labor 
  • Reduces work time Sophisticated seeders do the job faster and complete it in one field pass.
  • Improves soil fertility and plants can get nutrients from the decomposed matter.
  • Profits margin are usually high

Disadvantages or Challenges of No-tillage Farming

  • Switching from tillage farming to no-tillage farming is quite expensive because the farmer would need to purchase new equipment and machinery suitable for no-tillage farming.
  • Weeds grow much faster when compared with tillage farming where plowing reduces weed growth.
  • Increased use of chemicals






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