No-Till Vs. Global Warming

Despite concerns about global warming, no-tillers have already helped American agriculture turn the corner. It’s good news not only for farmers, but environmentalists as well.

Because of atmospheric problems caused by carbon dioxide, negotiations are currently underway to find ways to reduce greenhouse gases back to the level they were in 1990. The Keto, Japan, agreement established carbon dioxide sequestration (the act of taking carbon dioxide out of the air and storing it in the soil as farmers have done for years) as an important issue for all farmers, but especially no-tillers.

In fact, capturing carbon with no-till could open up new income opportunities for you. Some experts maintain the sale of carbon emissions could boost your net farm income as much as 15 percent.

Soils Underwent Changes

“A dramatic change in tillage techniques has shifted U.S. farm soils from net carbon dioxide producers to net accumulators of carbon in the form of valuable soil organic matter,” says U.S. Department of Agriculture Agriculture Research Service (ARS) administrator Floyd Horn. “This makes soils more productive and part of the potential global warming solution.”

50 Year Analysis

Raymond Allmaras, an ARS soil scientist in St. Paul, Minn., analyzed reports and surveys for major crops for both 1940 and 1990 cropping conditions. “These reports showed in 1980 that 75 percent of American farmers were still using the plow,” he says. “By 1993, a USDA survey showed farmers used the moldboard plow on only 6 to 9 percent of corn, soybean and wheat fields,”…

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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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