Reduced tillage is widespread in conventional farming in combination with the use of systemic herbicides, while it is a challenge in the organic farming context. This is mainly because of the effectiveness of plough based tillage in weed regulation on organic croplands. It has been shown, that tillage intensity can be reduced also on organic farms which can vary from less frequent and less deep ploughing over ploughless up to organic no-till. A change of the tillage practice, however, often needs additional means of weed control and nutrient provision such as the implementation of crop mixtures and green manure crops which are therefore part of the systems’ approach.
Within SOLMACC optimised tillage practices will be demonstrated and implemented, which allow for less soil disturbance along with a positive climate impact.
What is the SOLMACC practice
Reduced tillage is combined with the non-use of herbicides, building on findings of the TILMAN-ORG project that focused on reduced tillage in organic farming:
- Reducing the intensity of ploughing by operating less deep and less frequent
- Replacing the mouldboard plough with other machinery (e.g. specific cultivator, disc harrow, skim plough, roller crimper will be rented if applicable)
- Applying reduced tillage depth
- Optimising crop rotation, use of cover crop and tillage timing to reduce weed pressure
What are the positive climate effects
Reduced tillage reduces GHG emissions in two ways: it reduces the use of fossil energy for tillage work and it increases carbon stocks in the soil. It improves nutrient cycling, reduces soil erosion and nutrient wash-off.