Several tillage trips are required to remove weeds from fields before planting crops. Tillage pulverizes the soil exposing it to the rain and wind that act as strong eroding forces. In southern Brazil rainfall is concentrated in a few heavy storms which cause disintegration and transport of soil aggregates. This increased sediment-laden run-off makes flooding, siltation of roads and reservoirs, and the destruction of bridges widespread during and after intense rainfall events, resulting in significant maintenance costs.
During the s agricultural policy in Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay encouraged the expansion of the agricultural frontier and the production of soybeans and wheat, which replaced activities such as coffee and livestock. The annual silt load of the River Plate, which drains the wheat-soybean area in Paraguay, was estimated at 95 million tons- and consisted primarily of topsoil, rich in nutrients and organic matter. The reasons why adoption of no-till has been so extensive and quick in South America are manifold. As agriculture in South America is relatively young with many areas having been incorporated to agricultural production only in the last 30 or 40 years, in general there is no deep-rooted tradition to agriculture in these countries.
Young farmer generations have incorporated new land into production in many regions and are open minded to new technologies. Erosion and soil degradation were obvious to the farmers, who looked for technology to overcome these problems. However, the biggest obstacle for the expansion of no-till, weed control, still required appropriate technical solutions. The use of no-till called for new management skills particularly to control weeds. As a result of no-till adoption, rural infrastructure has been better protected. The impact of no-tillage on saving time and labor has been the main factor for adoption by small-scale farmers.
In Argentina an additional four inches of soil water was accumulated in the no-till system, which facilitated the expansion of soybean and maize acreage into areas where water availability had limited plantings.
Control of soil erosion is one of the main driving forces for no-till adoption. No technique yet devised by mankind has been anywhere near as effective at halting soil erosion and making food production sustainable as no-tillage. Conservation agriculture: Why?. Wall, P. The reversal of soil degradation in the wheat-soybean cropping system of the southern cone of South America.
Pedro, L. Soil management under no-tillage systems in the tropics with special reference to Brazil. Nutrient Cycling in Agrosystems. Pieri, C. Derpsch, R.
Frontiers | Beyond conservation agriculture | Plant Science
Keynote: frontiers in conservation tillage and advances in conservation practice. Sustaining the Global Farm. Ribeiro, M. Moyer, J. Weed management in conservation tillage systems for wheat production in North and South America. Crop Protection. While this is less of an issue south of the Paris Basin - where crops are harvested in summer and seeding takes place in autumn for winter crops - it is cause for concern in the north where crops are harvested later maize, beet , and rain makes soil more susceptible to compaction.
Soil compaction is also an issue in western France, where forage maize is used in livestock systems. Research has also taken an interest in the regenerative capacity of soil. Since the s, research at INRA has focused on the role of climate in this process 4 : when soil dries out, its clay content tends to shrink and swell, creating cracks and therefore porosity, which is beneficial to soil structure.
Other studies have focused on the role of cover crop roots in the decompaction of soil 5. More recent INRA studies have analysed the role of soil macrofauna, particularly earthworms, in decompaction 6. The studies, which are innovative both in terms of methodology used X-ray tomography, which reveals the network of tunnels created by the worms and results obtained, showed that it takes two years for worms to restore the original levels of porosity to compacted soil.
Organic material in soil. Hydraulic conductivity and porosity under conventional and no-tillage and the effect of three species of cover crop in northern France. Soil Use and Management 23, Role of earthworms in regenerating soil structure after compaction in reduced tillage systems.
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Close Search Results. For results for photos or videos Click here to access the media library. Search Criteria. Reduce text Restore text size Increase the text Print Send by email. Return to reports. Introduction The trinity of conservation agriculture Erosion: the root of the problem No-till agriculture: easier said than done Weed management: a key issue INRA experiments with no-till farming Tillage shows very little impact on carbon sequestration New findings on mulch decomposition Multicriteria system assessments in conservation agriculture Supporting innovation in conservation agriculture Research into each element of conservation agriculture.
No-till agriculture: easier said than done Eliminating tillage allows organic material to accumulate at the surface, but can have a negative effect on soil structure. By Pascale Mollier, translated by Inge Laino.
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