Soaring Asian Population Demands More No-Till

Even with plenty of unrest, Southern Asia is a hot spot for no-till growth these days.

With all of the bad news concerning terrorists since September 11, one bright spot in South Asia is the growing adoption of no-till.

Just like in the United States, no-till in Asia’s breadbasket will have significant implications for more ecologically-friendly, higher-producing and cost-effective agriculture among Asian farmers.

Farmers in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan are taking up no-till in such numbers that scientists say the impact in the region could be as great as the Green Revolution of the 1970s.

In India and Pakistan, no-till increased from nearly 7,500 acres in 1998 to almost 250,000 acres last year. The area could surpass 741,000 acres of no-till this year and will soon reach 2.5 million acres, according to researchers at the Mexico-based International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT).

Low-Till Is No-Till

Being promoted throughout Asia as low-till farming, the no-till growth comes at an opportune time as a scarcity of water in Asia threatens the region’s rice and wheat yields.

The no-till work in this area has been pioneered by CIMMYT, who has worked closely with a number of South Asia organizations for the past 17 years educating Asian farmers on the many benefits of no-till.

CIMMYT director general Timothy Reeves says the region’s 1.3 billion inhabitants are beset by overcrowding, poverty and misery. “To feed soaring populations, farmers must increasingly use more fertilizer, water and herbicides to get the same or greater crop yields for their land,” he says. “Low-till agriculture enables them to increase productivity while at the…

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Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

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