TEMPLE, Texas — No-Till November is here for a second year! The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s No-Till November Campaign is back to encourage farmers to not till or plow their fields and keep the unharvested plants in the ground to promote healthier soils. Many farmers till during the fall. This year, NRCS encourages you not to. Leave it be, let it grow. Save time, money and improve your soil’s health by joining the farmers who observe “No-Till November.”
Research suggests that while farmers and ranchers are generally aware of soil health as an indicator of land stewardship, they place the desire for increased production over the need to improve soil health on the land. Fortunately, these two objectives are mutually beneficial.
“No-till farming is one of the ways we can continue to move forward keeping our soils protected and healthy while conserving other resources that are affected by our tillage practices,” said Texas State Conservationist Salvador Salinas. “Reduced tillage methods allow farmers to increase their sustainability while protecting our water resources.”
In a no-till system, the farmer uses a no-till planter to create a narrow furrow just large enough for seed to be placed. By not plowing or disking, cover crop residue remains on the surface, protecting the soil from crusting, erosion, high summer temperatures and moisture loss. Additionally, the soil structure remains intact and improves every year.
With no-till, you can improve water quality through prevented erosion. Your soil structure will remain intact, able to absorb more water and handle heavy rains. No-till keeps soil on the field and out of watersheds which include creeks, rivers, ponds, and lakes.
Repeated tillage undermines soil structure and reduces aggregate stability; it breaks down organic matter and drains carbon from the soil. No-till improves the soil’s water holding capacity and keeps soils in place, preventing harmful runoff and erosion. In addition, no-till will reduce inputs such as time spent in the tractor and money for fuel and labor.
This November the NRCS is encouraging farmers and ranchers to keep the stubble and give their farm a more rugged, natural look. So, treat your field like your beard this month and leave it be, let it grow!
NRCS continues to help farmers and ranchers bolster the health, productivity and vigor of their soils. Nationwide, NRCS offers science-based guidance, resources and financial assistance programs to help farmers install soil conservation practices, such as no-till, on private lands. To find out what opportunities are available in your area, contact a local USDA Service Center.
For more information about the No-Till November campaign, visit the Texas NRCS website.
–USDA NRCS Texas
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