No-Till

Machine planting seeds without disturbing soil
No till farming is the process of never disturbing the soil with tillage equipment. Some farmers have added cover crops into their no-till operation and plant directly into the growing cover crop.

What it is

Performing no full-width tillage from the time of harvest or termination of one cash crop to the time of the harvest or termination of the next cash crop in the rotation, regardless of the depth of the tillage operation.

Rows of green leafed crops
Not disturbing the soil from the prior year's crop leaves residue on the soil surface that provides cover for the soil and a food source for soil microbes.

How it helps

  • Crop residue prevents soil erosion, protects water quality, improves soil tilth, and adds organic matter to the soil as it decomposes.
  • When soil is left undisturbed microbial activity increases, helping to build soil structure and improve soil health.
  • No-till helps form root channels and other near-surface voids that increase water infiltration.
  • No-till helps sequester additional carbon in the soil.
  • No-till reduces particulate emissions, which improves air quality.
  • Fewer trips with no-till reduces soil compaction, requires less energy use, and saves money through fewer inputs.
  • No-till increases plant-available moisture.
  • No-till provides food and escape cover for wildlife.
Rows of green leafed crop
Not disturbing the soil from the prior year's crop leaves residue on the soil surface that provides cover for the soil and a food source for soil microbes.

Planning ahead

  • Will your crop produce enough residue?
  • Do you have the needed equipment?
  • Is no-till part of your planned system of conservation measures?

Maintenance

In areas of heavy residue accumulation due to movement from water or wind, spread the residue prior to planting to reduce plant operation interference.

Field Day with Jordan

Ohio Farm Bureau's Director of Water Quality and Research Jordan Hoewischer hosts conversations with experts and leaders who are helping to shape and secure the future of Ohio's ag industry for generations to come.