[Market-farming] Tillage is tillage

STEVE GILMAN stevegilman at verizon.net
Sat Feb 3 10:10:36 EST 2007


On Feb 2, 2007, at 10:34 PM, market-farming-request at lists.ibiblio.org  
wrote:

>
> Message: 2
> Date: Fri, 02 Feb 2007 14:43:35 -0500
> From: "Bill Shoemaker" <wshoemak at inil.com>
> Subject: Re: [Market-farming] Tillage is tillage
> To: "Market Farming" <market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Message-ID: <200702021943.l12JhaM0068348 at mail2.mx.voyager.net>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
>
> <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
>

Hi Bill,

	I don't think we can assume that global warming will have positive  
effects on ag sustainability. Check out <www.climateandfarming.org>.  
Although its focus is on the northeast, it covers a wide range of  
issues from migrating pest complexes to heat stress in cattle that  
affects all areas, worldwide.

	Some dislocations are already upon us. Thanks to the building heat  
energy in the atmosphere and oceans, typical weather patterns are  
being skewed and farms are sitting ducks for periods of climate- 
generated weather extremes, including protracted drought or flooding.  
With a focus on building soil organic matter, organically managed  
soils tend to be better buffered against such extremes. Further,  
organic best management practices actively sequester carbon while  
conventional ag's use of chem N, herbicides, etc.  breaks down  
organic matter and generates substantial amounts of potent greenhouse  
gases --  even in no-till.

	The great (subsidized) ethanol gold rush now upon us, for example,   
stands to be a fuelish ecological disaster when all the "side- 
effects", including greenhouse gases generation and terrestrial  
pollution are totaled -- and in the end the value of sustainabilty is  
nowhere to be found...

Steve
Ruckytucks Farm
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