Despite the loss of support for crop residue surveys by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, some counties around the United States continued to gather information about tillage practices in 2006.
The Conservation Technology Information Center in West Lafayette, Ind., with help from local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, collected the data from 61 million acres nationwide, representing about 22 percent of all cropland.
The results show that no-till adoption continues to grow. In the counties surveyed, no-till and strip-till (both of which leave more than 30 percent crop residue on the soil after planting) grew from 16.5 million acres in 2004 to 19.2 million acres in 2006. That is an increase from 26.5 percent to 31.5 percent of planted acres.
Ridge-tilling increased from 0.6 percent to 0.9 percent, whereas mulch-tilling (field-wide tilling that leaves more than 30 percent of the residue after planting) decreased from 23.7 percent to 22.3 percent. Total conservation tillage acres increased from 50.8 percent to 54.7 percent.
Reduced-tillage fell from 23.7% to 21.8%, and conventional tillage from 25.5% to 23.5% between 2004 and 2006.
In the counties surveyed in 2006, only 20.4 percent of corn and 30.4 percent of small grains were no-tilled, compared to 44.5 percent of soybeans.Natural Resources Conservation Service, Conservation Technology Information Center, CTIC, NRCS, trend, no-till, strip-till, ridge-till, report, increase