[Market-farming] Tillage is tillage
avalonfarmshomegrown at earthlink.net
Mon Feb 5 14:10:36 EST 2007
While it has been interesting to follow the thread regarding tillage, I
must take issue with statements that you have made in this particular
post. Having practiced minimum tillage for more than twenty years,
successfully and on a large scale (more than 1000 acres) we have first
hand experience, not theory nor merely opinion, to base our position upon.
Your posted statement: Conventional no till has been around awhile and
is touted as a superior way of preventing erosion (and saving the
planet, even.) The chemical farmers just kill cover crops and sod with
herbicides and plant directly into the dead stubble with heavy-duty
First, we have never, repeat never, sprayed an herbicide to kill a cover
crop. Crop residue is left in place, in our case either, wheat stubble,
or corn or soybean residue. No additional trip across the field to plant
a cover crop. No additional trip across the field to spray in order to
kill a cover crop, as you claim. No additional trip across for tillage.
We are particularly mindful of soil compaction issues and each
additional pass across a field, regardless of the reason for it, is of
concern. Organic growers are not the only ones using ridge-till to deal
with soil temperature, conventional growers have used that practice for
Secondly, in all of my years of involvement with soil conservation and
water protection efforts, I have never, repeat never, heard anyone claim
that no-til or minimum tillage was going to save the planet. What a
derogatory statement to make toward producers and technicians who are
sincerely attempting to develop better practices. There is more than
enough scientific evidence available to conclude that minimum tillage
practices do indeed prevent soil movement, if one is of the mindset to
look for it. Those of us who farm in Michigan are particularly mindful
of keeping nutrients in the soil and accessible to the crop being grown
rather than in our water.
Thirdly, this attitude that all chemical farmers are just doing
everything possible to rape the land and fowl the water are absurd. I
know, quite literally, thousands of producers coast to coast, who employ
practices from conventional to sustainable/organic. None of them are
going out of their way to destroy anything. Simply doing the best they
can with the information they have at the time. The notion that each of
them is doing, or should do, everything the same way ignores not only
variations in soils, but crops and micro-climates as well.
Discussions are desirable, and I appreciate posts that are indeed
conversations, seeking to share real knowledge.
Avalon Farms Homegrown
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