No-till in a time of climate change challenges thinking

Tillage practices – ploughing operations that disturb the soil – affect soil carbon, water pollution, and farmers’ energy and pesticide use, and therefore the approach to cultivation can have a major impact on the environment and also the productivity and profitability of the farm. Taking a big picture view of tillage can be valuable for challenging the perceived wisdom of current practices and creating the opportunity to ask if there are valid alternatives.

Maria “Pilu” Giraudo is a fifth generation farmer from central Argentina and she was recently awarded the prestigious Kleckner Award, an annual recognition given by Global Farmer Network to a farmer who shows leadership and vision. Giraudo was brought up on a ‘no-till’ farm. About 40 years ago her father had seen his soil eroding. He experimented with different cultivation practices until he found that drilling new seed directly into the ground, without disturbing it, reduced soil loss.

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