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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment » Soil, Water & Air Resources Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #354974

Title: Transitional no-till: What is it and how does it differ from ‘true’ no-till?

item GRIGAR, JERRY - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, USDA)
item Hatfield, Jerry
item REEDER, RANDALL - The Ohio State University

Submitted to: Crops and Soils
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/15/2018
Publication Date: 11/15/2018
Citation: Grigar, J., Hatfield, J.L., Reeder, R. 2018. Transitional no-till: What is it and how does it differ from ‘true’ no-till?. Crops and Soils. 51(6):28-36.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: No-till is not really no-till until the soil achieves a physical, biological, and chemical balance typical after several years of continuous no-till. Cover crops, manure, and diverse crop rotations have been shown to reduce the time to as little as three years. Otherwise the soil may not reach equilibrium until after six to nine years of no-till. Early years of no-till research must be identified as “transitional no-till.” Any interruption of continuous no-till with a tillage operation resets the soil clock, and the changes are not realized and may even be reversed. Agronomic research needs to focus on no-till and ways to improve it. Research farms need to become experts at no-till. Most research, other than tillage research, is done on tilled plots. Research on seed varieties, fertilizer practices, and pest management should be conducted on continuous no-till.