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What I've Learned From No-Tilling: No-Till Is Good For Everyone!

No-till is now at the point where it not only can improve soil structure and stop erosion, but could also have far-reaching effects on consumer preferences and human health.

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Name: Dr. Jill Clapperton

Title: Rhizosphere Ecologist

Location: Lethbridge Research Centre, Lethgridge. Alberta, Canada

Number Of Years Doing Research And Advising On No-Till: 10 Author and Co-Author of More Than 70 Research Papers And Publications 

No-Tilled Crops Studied: Wheat, Barley, Canola, Chickpeas, Lentils, Peas, Flax, Forages, Cover Crops

One of the first things I like to do when I talk to no-till farmers is to explain why my long title – rhizosphere ecologist – fits right in with what they’re trying to achieve with direct seeding or no-tilling. (The terms are generally interchangeable).

“Rhizosphere” is just a big name for the soil that surrounds and is influenced by the roots of a plant. As an ecologist, I study the relationships between organisms and their environments. I’m interested in the same things that no-tillers are interested in: learning how we can effectively manage and benefit from the long-term biological fertility of our soil.

Most of my time is spent as a scientist at the Lethbridge Research Centre, the largest of 19 centres within Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, an organization that is akin to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service. Our Rhizosphere Ecology Research Group studies rangelands and cropping systems under low-input and organic management systems, emphasizing reduced and no-tillage.

My extensive research agenda allows me to make only about a half-dozen presentations a year at farmer meetings, such as the National No-Tillage Conference and the Pacific Northwest (PNW) Direct Seed Association annual meeting. I thoroughly enjoy…

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Ron Ross

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Jill Clapperton

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