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Re: [fukuoka_farming] No_Till farming

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  • Ika Suryanawati
    Dear All, Is no till farming can be adopted by paddy field ? Please be advised. rajutitus lal wrote: No-till offers environmental,
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 2, 2007
      Dear All,
      Is no till farming can be adopted by paddy field ?

      Please be advised.

      rajutitus lal <rajuktitus@...> wrote:

      No-till offers environmental, financial benefits

      By AP

      Friday, October 06, 2006

      LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Two-thirds of soybean fields in Tippecanoe County went untilled this year as a growing number of farmers forgo traditional soil preparation for no-till methods.
      Some decided decades ago to stop tilling their land, while others are trying it for the first time. But all are exploring it for the same reasons - to test the technique that federal and state agencies claim is not only better for the environment but is easier, cheaper and more time-efficient for the farmer than traditional farming.
      ``The yield potential is higher using no-till,' said Barry Fisher, Indiana conservation tillage coordinator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service.
      In 1990, 11 percent of soybean farmers in Tippecanoe County used no-till methods. This year, about 67 percent do so on their soybean fields, according to the 2006 county conservation tillage transect survey, a visual survey done each spring.
      Josh Cox, 25, of Lafayette uses no-till for most of the 650 acres he farms on six properties south of Lafayette and near Dayton and Mulberry. He does so because it's environmentally friendly and it is less expensive, which makes his profits higher, he said.
      ``I don't have to spend money on depreciable assets like expensive tools and tilling equipment,' he said. ``It also conserves diesel fuel, requires less labor and uses fewer chemicals.'
      Cox applies no-till techniques to both his corn and soybean crops. The only drawback is that no-till practices require more intense ground management in terms of sampling and testing for nutrients and temperature to ensure they're optimal.
      ``Tilling warms up the soil, so the ground stays cooler longer with no-till,' he said. ``Since it takes heat and moisture to make seeds germinate, you have to use starter fertilizer and increase its exposure to the sun to get the plants off to a good start.'
      He has heard conflicting reports from farmers about the effect the method has on the crop yield.
      ``This is my first full year doing no-till with 100 percent of my crops, so I guess I'll find out what the yield is going to do myself,' he said.
      Cox learned about no-till farming from his father, Carl, who owned land that the USDA required to be no-till because the soil was considered prone to erosion due to the degree of its slope.
      One financial benefit to the method is the potential for government grant money and other incentives to supplement farming costs.
      The USDA and the state have several programs in place to pay farmers to use no-till and other

      conservation farming practices. Among them are the federal Conservation Innovation Grants and Conservation Stewardship enhancement grants and the state Soil and Water Conservation District's Best Management Practices cost-share program.
      Chuck Shelby farms about 5,000 acres in Tippecanoe and Montgomery counties. During the past 25 years, he has converted about 80 percent of his crops - corn, soybeans and wheat - to no-till.
      ``I still have to do a little tillage when I grow corn after corn, or if there are deep trenches in the ground left from tire tracks or animals from the year before,' he said.
      No-till farming is not just about not tilling, said Jerry Frankhauser, director of Purdue's Agricultural Centers.
      ``The transition may take some time, and involves preparation not only of the soil but of the farm equipment and the farmer's planting calendar as well,' Frankhauser said. ``It involves a series of steps that start one year before harvest.'
      Those steps include spreading the harvest residue evenly across the soil, testing the soil and using an environmentally safe weed-killer before planting in the spring.
      Soil management is a high priority in making no-till efforts successful, according to Steve Sprecher, USDA resource soil scientist.
      Soil that is not tilled may need less in the way of fertilizers because crop residue, including the roots from last year's crops, break down and help provide nutrients. Earthworms also help the process.
      ``Earthworms do vertical tillage, allowing water and air to move down into the soil,' Sprecher said.
      And while erosion removes nutrients from the soil, reduction in erosion reduces the amount of nutrient loss, which increases the productivity of the soil.
      There are no mandates requiring farmers to use no-till methods, except in areas with highly erodible soil, but many farmers are voluntarily switching over, Frankhauser said.
      ``A combination of good science and technological advancement in farming equipment,' Frankhauser said, ``has allowed no-till practices to become more widespread in the past decade.'
      ^Distributed by The Associated Press

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