No-till is just what is sounds like. A true no-till system avoids disturbing the soil with tools like chisel plows, field cultivators, disks, and plows. Not all of our acres are no-till, but we have been doing less tillage as of late including putting more acres into no-till. I’m 32 years old and I've never actually ran a moldboard plow over a field aside from the single acre we took turns playing on a few years ago in our 1956 John Deere 70 Diesel and three-bottom plow. I might lose some farmer points here, but I don’t even know how to plow a field properly.
The mini-documentary below, Under Cover Farmers, follows three mid-scale farmers who stopped tilling their soil and started planting diverse cover crops. The amazing results were immediate.
This no-till method reduces or eliminates the need for irrigation, herbicides, and fertilizers for growers of cash crops like corn, soybeans, and cotton. Carefully selected cover crops mulch the cash crop which smothers potential weeds and provides a blanket to keep the the soil beneath nice and moist.
The video was produced through a partnership agreement between Dr. Robin ‘Buz' Kloot, Earth Sciences and Resources Institute, University of South Carolina, and the USDA NRCS East National Technology Support Center.