“They wanted to cart me off to the funny farm.”
Andrew Ward, a farmer in Lincolnshire, England made a surprising decision back in 2002. He adopted a practice known as conservation tillage. This meant no more breaking up the soil or disturbing underground microbial life to remove weeds. Instead, he would allow organic matter left after the harvest to provide a protective layer for the soil. His fellow farmers looked on with skepticism—to this day, cultivation remains a traditional practice for controlling weeds. Andrew on the other hand, saw limitations in tillage.
THE OPTICAL ILLUSION OF TILLAGE
In Andrew’s view, the process of tilling fields to control weeds is visually misleading. On the surface, you see a nicely manicured field with rows of soil ready for planting. But what is happening underneath is another matter.
Every soil disturbance can elicit an array of consequences: carbon stored in the soil is released into the atmosphere, local insects and microbial life are affected, the soil loses moisture and seedlings of weeds can spread, which only compounds the weed problem. Nearly two decades ago, Andrew was ready to test a less invasive approach.
To read the full article by Modernag.org/soil-health, Click Here