Over at Missouri Farmer Today, experts from Missouri and Iowa discussed the benefits of no-till versus conventional tillage in an article discussing them.
In addition to pointing out that no-till has benefits for soil, they repeat a common criticism of no-till methods. The things no-till is best at are hard to measure economically.
Among the more troubling observations: experts have seen an uptick in tillage recently, and when they ask growers why they made the switch, farmers generally say the cost of additional trips over the fields is cheaper than paying for chemicals used to control weeds.
Another observation: corn has been bred so stalks are more resistant to decomposition. That's good for harvest, but makes residue management more difficult.
Of course, the experts in the piece make the case for something you'll likely never hear from us: sometimes tilling is appropriate, because of gullies in fields. That seems a little circuital. After all, no-till means more absorption of water and thus fewer gullies, and less tillage.