[Market-farming] Tillage is tillage

Bill Shoemaker wshoemak at inil.com
Fri Feb 2 14:43:35 EST 2007


<p>&gt;But here is the rub: Mulch/no till keeps soils cold well into the spring, just by the fact &gt;that the sun and warmth don't penetrate. Soil temps need to be 60 degrees plus to &gt;awaken the microbial activity needed to mineralize soil nutrients for crop growth. </p><p /><p>In Illinois, where no-till was pioneered in the southern end of the state, it has been fully adopted in the southern third of the state and largely regected in the northern third by conventional growers, primarily for the reason you cite, cold soils. N fertilizer can somewhat overcome it but not much. It will be interesting to see how climate influences adoption of no-till in organic ag. In the end, the value of sustainability will be brought to bear against all ag systems.</p><p>Bill</p>
William H. Shoemaker
Sr Research Specialist, Food Crops
St Charles Horticulture Research Center
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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