Is organic no-till a viable possibility in the near future for
conventional row crops?
Thanks for the question and the interest in the whole concept
of organic no-till. By conventional row crops, I take it to mean
corn and soybeans or crops we grow like that. If that is your question,
then I can answer by saying, yes. We have made great improvements
in the organic no-till system over the past five years. The improvements
have come in the form of better equipment to manage cover crops
and to plant into them to establish the crop and suppress the weeds.
We are also working across the country to address the issues of
cover crop selection and the related cultural practices to get the
most out of them in terms of the system. Within a few months, a
cover crop roller should be on the market. This is the tool we designed
at The Rodale Institute and have written about in New Farm (see
the No-Till + Page
for more on the roller and no-till research). With this tool and
some planter modifications, the system has been shown to have great
We are in the process of field testing the equipment in seven regions
of the country to gain experience with different cover crops, different
soils, different climates, and different farmers/managers. Within
two years we expect to have that data to better support individuals
like yourself to move in this direction. Please feel free to contact
me with specific questions on our system or on how it might fit
into your farming operation.
Have some questions to Ask Jeff? E-mail him
directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.