Gene Logsdon  @  ChelseaGreen

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No Till Farming Not So Great After All

Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012 at 9:00 am by Gene Logsdon

It was just a couple of handfuls of soil and a few drops of water, but for the world of modern farming, it might as well have been a bomb dropping on the staid headquarters of the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Washington. It actually happened, or at least first made the news, in Wilmington, Ohio, at the third annual Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium. In a news article about the meeting, in Farm and Dairy magazine, there’s a picture of a farmer and a scientist looking intently at a tabletop demonstration of soil porosity in samples of tilled soil and “no-till” soil. The result, and I quote: “The no-till samples provided more resistance to water infiltration while the tilled samples provided much less resistance and water moved more freely into the soil.”

I grabbed the phone and called Chris Kick, the farm reporter and journalist who broke the story, to make sure this was not a mistake and that I was interpreting the results correctly. “I think you’re telling me that tilled soil actually saves more plant nutrients and results in less water runoff and erosion than no-till soil,” I said. He sort of laughed. “Well, this is going to be open to various interpretations, I’m sure, but yes, that’s what the experiment was demonstrating.”

Is no-till farming really bad for the soil?! Say it ain't so, Gene! Read the rest of his latest blog and find out the inconvenient truth…

holyshit Gene Logsdon is the author of, most recently, Holy Shit: Managing Manure to Save Mankind

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