Conservation Farming

The basic principle of conservation tillage is to maintain a cover on the soil surface of residues (mulching) or vegetation that helps retain soil and water. The improved soil and water conservation results in the preservation of top soil and soil organic matter. Conservation tillage has two basic advantages:

  1. conserving soil, water, and soil organic matter resources and
  2. reducing the need for costly inputs while maintaining or improving crop yield and profits.

The higher yields under conservation tillage systems are generally attributed to the increased soil water content resulting from increased infiltration, decreased run-off, and decreased evaporation. Using conservation tillage systems, growers can start using more intensive crop rotations with fewer summer fallow periods or increase crop yields within traditional cropping systems. Converting to more intensive cropping systems, greatly increases the efficiency of use of precipitation with less water loss below the root zone and less potential for nitrate leaching.