The Benefits No-Till Farming

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The Benefits No-Till Farming

The Benefits No-Till Farming


Organic agriculture has developed rapidly in the European Community. An excess of food production and an increase of wealth enables different but less efficient forms of agriculture to survive. However organic agriculture is different to other current forms such as conventional agriculture or integrated farm management (IFM) because it has a well-established ideological base and groups of often vociferous supporters who are usually not farmers. This situation has led to claims about organic agriculture which is the subject of this critical article. The three primary points are; (1) that organic food is healthier because it does not contain synthetic pesticide traces, (2) that the soil structure on organic farms is much better leading to less pollution from nitrate and is healthier for the crop plant, and (3) that environmentally organic is better than the other forms and is chemical free. Each of these claims is examined in turn and in some detail.

Comparisons between different kinds of agriculture to examine strengths and weaknesses

Throughout this article comparison is made between different kinds of agriculture. Organic agriculture is defined by its regulations. Integrated Farm Management is defined by the LEAFUK (Linking environment and Farming) audit, the main IFM group in the UK. LEAF specifies exacting standards of landscape, hedgerow maintenance, large field margins, quality soils and provides good animal welfare, all supposedly features only of organic farms in the public mind. But what exactly is conventional farming other than simply not being organic? And when comparisons are made, what evidence is there that the conventional farm is representative of this weakly characterised farming procedure in any way. Unless evidence is provided on this point and perhaps the average conventional and average organic farm stipulated, published comparisons should be treated critically.

Historical evolution of plow tillage

Settled agriculture originated in the Fertile Crescent of the Near East, mostly along the Tigris, Euphrates, Nile, Indus and Yangtze River valleys by the so-called “hydric civilizations.” Some of the earliest cultivated crops included emmer (broadly, tetraploid wheat), einkorn (the most primitive wheat), barley, flax, chickpea, lentil, pea, and bitter vetch. Farming was introduced into Greece and southeast Europe from the Near East more than 8000 years ago. About 10 millennia ago, Sumerian and other civilizations developed simple tools to place and cover seed in the soil. Soil preparation through tillage has always been an important component of traditional agriculture. Tillage has been defined as the mechanical manipulation of the soil and plant residues to prepare a seedbed where crop seeds are planted to produce grain for human and animal consumption. Tillage involves seedbed preparation and post-emergent cultivation for weed control.

Environmental implications of plow tillage

Intensive tillage and use of heavy machinery brought mixed blessings. Accelerated soil erosion has plagued the earth since the dawn of settled agriculture, and has been a major issue in the rise and fall of early civilization. With increasing demand on the limited prime soil resources and shrinking per capita arable land area in densely populated ...
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