No-till is a method of growing crops without disturbing the soil by tilling. Instead it involves a single pass planting system or direct seeding. Conventional tillage practices have been used in the past to increase crop yield in a variety of ways. Tilling can be used to remove weeds, mix soil amendments, shape soil into rows and prepare for seeding. However conventional tillage has a negative impact on the environment which is evident in the degradation of agricultural soil. Some of the issues caused by tilling include soil compaction, loss of soil organic matter and soil erosion. In an effort to prevent such issues, many producers have adopted no-till or reduced tillage practices.
Producers can benefit from adopting a no-till or reduced tillage system. Soil quality increases by reducing soil compaction and erosion and maintaining the soil organic matter. By storing the soils organic matter no-till land has the potential for carbon sequestration, and therefore reduces GHG emissions from that of a conventional tillage practice. Aside from the environmental benefits, no-till strategies can also have an economic reward. Labor is reduced along with fuel and machinery costs and the opportunity to participate in carbon trading may become available.