Strategies For Weed Management Using A No-Till System: Avoiding Tillage for Increased Soil Health

Jul 1, 2019

By Kara Pugsley for the SD Soil Health Coalition

No-till techniques – such as crop rotation and applying herbicides with multiple modes of actionare two methods for killing weeds which do not destroy the structure of the soil the way tillagedoes. Tillage of weeds creates dramatic disturbances to the soil, which decreases waterinfiltration capacity and increases the likelihood of erosion.

No-Till: Less Labor Inputs Plus A Healthier Soil

“Well established no-till typically requires less agronomic and labor inputs, with comparable or higher yields to conventional tillage,” says Sara Bauder, SDSU Extension Agronomy Field Specialist. “When we have a healthier soil and good crop rotation system, many of our pest issues are suppressed or eliminated, allowing less dependence on chemical weed suppression.”

Bauder says no till has many benefits to the producer including monetary savings over time. “When combined with other conservation efforts, such as keeping the soil covered, maintaining plant diversity, keeping a living root in the soil, and even integrating livestock, an overall healthier soil can be created.”

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