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From: Oz <>
Newsgroups: sci.agriculture
Subject: Re: Non-Food Biomass
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 1997 16:20:18 +0100

In article <01bcabca$d3b92140$081e020a@tombaumb>, Tom Baumberger
<> writes

>I would just like to add that those of us that do not plough, aka no-till,
>do not remove the residue.  We leave it on the surface to decay and to hold
>the moisture in the ground.  It at the same time helps control erosion.

You might be interested to know that in my first year on this farm as an
impoverished young farmer, we no-tilled (except it was called 'direct
drilling' in those days) my entire farm. This was in 1975, and it all
walked into the worst drought in recorded history in 1976!

In those days you could burn (and save a fortune on pesticides, no need
for IPU, for example) so it was much easier. For heavy crops in the UK
the amount of straw is so great that no-till is not very practical. It's
not just the problem of getting the seed into dirt, the mattress of
straw prevents any pesticides reaching the ground, and you get a teeny
weeny blackgrass problem PDQ!

No-till is certainly a good technique. It improves the soil structure,
keeps moisture in, reduces erosion (although this is not a problem in
the UK), and multiplies the worms famously. However the burning ban put
a stop to this ecologically good technique in the Uk. It also removed a
really spectacular sight, a perfect burn snuffing itself out in the
center of a field with a 100' high flaming vortex. Ahhhh, those were the
days ....

'Oz     "Is it better to seem ignorant and learn,
         - or seem wise and stay ignorant?"

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