Hello list members: Fukuoka, Agriconcern and Ecosig,
Yes, no-tillage is wonderful. We've been enjoying its benefits for nearly 10 years now and I agree with the claims made in the posted article.
The farmers interviewed and the techniques described--carefully worked out rotations of covercrops and main crops--still fall under the heading of factory farming. To see an alternative application that, unilke the linear models described, emphasizes the manifold and simultaneous transactions found in nature, please visit our website at http://www.wholesystemsag.org.
What we do could not be considered "natural farming" but I think it comes closer to it than the commercial models described.
Good wishes all,
John Warner, Madera Whole Systems Agriculture near Fresno, California
No-tillage, permanent mulch market growers since 1996
----- Original Message -----
From: rajutitus lal
To: fukuoka farming ; firstname.lastname@example.org ; Ecosig NC
Sent: Sunday, March 19, 2006 5:09 AM
Subject: [fukuoka_farming] NO-TILL FARMING
NO-TILL HELPING WORMS HELP FARMERS Winchester-East Idiana farmers who grow corn and soybeans with the no till system are seeing more earthworms in their fields.
"The soil more or less came alive" said Greg Oren, Parker city,who switched from conventionsl tillage to no tillage in 1988."You can see their huts on the ground and a lot more holes in the ground.
"water gets down through the holes more naturally and percolates a lot better.Mother Natuer has probably done more for us than we could with equipment to loosen the soil."
Randolf couny ranked first in the state with 39,689 acres of no-till corn and ranked second in thestate with95,844 acre of no- tilll soybeans in 2004, according to the Indiana ConservationTillage Initiatives latest tillage survey.Ninety Indiana counties participated.
No-till farming leaves crop residue in the field from harvest through planting.
The residue reduces soil erosion by water and wind.Sediment run off from farm fields,construction sites and other bare land is the nation's leading water pollutant.
"One of the benifits of earthworms...is that they make deep channels which allow more water to infiltrate the fields" said Eileen Kladivko,a professor of soil physics at Purdue University.
Oren farms 1,500 acres in Delawara and Randolf counties.
So how many earthworms does he have?
According to Kladivko, a good no-till field might have 10to20 worms per sqare foot, or 400,000to800,000 worms per acre .That translate into 600 million to 1.2 billon redworms,greyworms and deep-burrowing nightcrawlerrs in Oren,s farm fields.
A conventional field might have as few as 40,000 worms per acre or as many as 200,000 worms per acre, the professor said.
"Earthworm population increase (in no-till) due to the mulch protction at the soil surface and because their food source-residue-is available for alonger period of time "Kladivko said."The crop residues from last year`s crop act as mulch at the soil surface,causing the soil to dry out more slowly in late spring and to freez more slowly
in early winter.
"This gives the worms aloger time tobe active,feed, reproduce and build populations,
since they are only active in spring and fall"
Delaware County com and soybeen grower Jeff Hotmire also has noticed more worms on his 1,000 acres since he quit tilling.
"it keeps the soil loosened up and helps water filtration" Hotmire said.
But farmers are`t switching to no-till only because of the free labour provided by worms
"You get a blanket (of crop residue) on top of the soil that keeps the wind from picking
the soil up and blowing it around, and the roots from last year also hold the soil " Hotmire said."Cost-wise, no-till is not as expensive, because you`re not running equipment over the ground as many times."
In addition to being less expensive ",no-till has improved our yields because for the soil"
said Randolph County farmer David Jennings, who grows corn and beens on 1,500 acre with his father .
No-till farming also redues the emisson of greenhouse gas.
"when you do tillage, you get a massive flush of carbon dioxide released from the bacteria and microbes in the soil"said Barry Fisher, conservation tillage coordinator
for the Natural Resources Conservation Services. "And carbon dioxide is one of our greenhouse gases."
"if you go no-till, you are reversing that process,Instead of being a carbon producer, you are sequestering a lot of carbon,Whether or not you buy into global warming,we know that carbon dioxide is much more benifeficial in the soil than in the atmosphere"
Indiana has made progress inadopting no-till farming but has room for improvement,Fisher said.
While 63%of the state's soybeen crop is grown by the no till system,only 22%Indiana's corn crop is grown that way."if no-till was more wide spread.,our water quality and air quality would really improve "Fisher said, "When tillage is being done, the airborne sediment has a lot of things atteched to it.By their very design,fertelizer and pesticides attech to soil.When soil leavs the farm through erosion ,it carries things with it to the air and water
Article published Mar.10 .2006- thestarpress.com
Re typed and email by-Raju Titus
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