No-Till for Better Soils

No-till is a system that does not disturb the soil through tillage every year. Tillage disturbs the soil and can break soil structure. Structure provides pore space for air, nutrients, and water. Without the structure these important properties cannot infiltrate and remain in the soil properly. A no-till system lets the soil build over years and retains its natural water and nutrients holding capacity. The soil in a no-till system is much less likely to erode. Farmers are finding that a reduction in tillage saves both man hours and fuel costs. They are also finding that they do not need to add as much fertilizer, herbicide and pesticide. Overall, no-till is proving to be an economical and ecologically mindful agricultural system for unlocking the secrets of soil health.

Soil_Health_VACornell University Cover Crops for Vegetable Growers– information on specific cover crops and specific seasons –

Virginia Cooperative Extension Deep Tillage Prior to No-Till Corn: Research and Recommendations-This resource explains how to reduce compaction and  how to implement deep tillage into a no-till system -

Virginia Cooperative Extension Virginia No-Till Fact Sheet Series Number Two: Nitrogen Fertilizer Injection in No-Till Systems– This publications explains the benefits and drawbacks to nitrogen injection in a no-till system -

Virginia Cooperative Extension Virginia No-TIll Fact Sheet Series Number Three:Manure Injection– This publication explains the benefits and drawbacks of manure injection in no-till systems -

Virginia Cooperative Extension Virginia No-Till Fact Sheet Series Number Six- Nitrogen Fertilizer Sources and Properties– This article lists nitrogen fertilizer sources and gives specifications on each -

Virginia Cooperative Extension Successful No-Tillage Corn Production– This is a publication that explains all of the aspects of how to produce no-till corn successfully. The topics include liming, fertilization, plant date, equipment, weed control, and crop residues-

Virginia Cooperative Extension No-Tillage Seeding of Forage Grasses and Legumes– This article lists the steps on how to plant no-till grasses and legumes. It includes how to use pesticides and herbicides effectively in such a system -

Virginia Cooperative Extension No-Tillage Small Grain Production in Virginia– this publication explains how small grains are grown in a no tillage system in Virginia. It explains residue management, fertilization and liming, weed management, cultivar selection and seeding, insects, and diseases.-

Gaining Ground: Successful no-till farmers tell their stories– Led by NRCS, our project brings together a coalition dedicated to improving the economic and environmental sustainability of Virginia agriculture.  A core belief uniting us is that the long-term health of our rural economies and water quality will ultimately depend on how well we take care of our soil. -

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