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No-till farming has been generating quite a bit of buzz lately. With promises to stem erosion, increase nutrient and water holding capacity, reduce weed pressure and reverse global warming, no-till could be a game-changer in how we farm. Ironically, no-till is most widely practiced in large-scale, herbicide-dependent conventional farming systems. Can no-till be successful in a small-scale organic system and, if so, what methods have proved practical?
We will look at the practices of occultation, solarization, roller crimping, flame weeding, mulching cover cropping, and compost application in a no-till system. We’ll also take a look at the Johnson Su Bioreactor as an innovative method of producing fungally dominant compost. Small-scale no-till tools will be demonstrated. The impacts on yields, erosion, compaction, pest and weed pressure, nutrient management, and water infiltration and conservation will be discussed. Throughout, we will provide an honest assessment of the challenges of implementing the techniques.