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no-till is a failure for some

  • Subject: [cg] no-till is a failure for some
  • From: Minifarms@aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 4 Feb 2006 17:41:33 EST

I have studied no-till farming and farmers that are outside the USA much  
more than in the USA because most of my teaching is abroad.  Farmers on  
200,000,000 acres are no-till.  50% of the land in Argentina is  no-till (small 
I had a no-till garden for three years until the garden was closed  down. The 
whole area inside and outside the plots were covered in a perenial  weed that 
chemicals will not kill but almost none in mine.  Every weed  on our plot 
could be pulled by hand in less than 30 minutes each  week.   They were so weak a 
3 year old could have pulled them up. A  cotton farmer here went no-till four 
years ago and does not use chemicals. Weeds  are not a problem. Stop tilling, 
you stop the weeds, he tells me.  True in  our garden, too.
I was on a farm in Malawi that has been no-till for 25 years.  
When I wrote my document "Profitable Crop Farming" here are no. 1 and 2 on  
the list: 
1.      Open  mind.   
2.      Willing to  make changes  [first, in the mind and second, in the 
field &  pasture] 
I have heard before all the arguments many times that are being made that  
no-till does not work. In Nigeria I had 220 register farmers and 600  7-12 grade 
students.  One said to me, "We do not farm that way here."   I told them "It 
works."  If you do not want to garden and farm no-till,  that is fine with me. 
 Your yields are going down and the cost are  going up.  If you want to 
continue farming that way, that is fine with  me.   
For my part, no-till has been proven over and over and it is not a  matter of 
debate.  When a farmer tells me it failed, what I want to know is  how did he 
blow it.   
Dripping Springs, AR, said his soil was getting hard to plant it. No  
surprise!  He was taking out the OM without putting any back in.  It  is still 
occurring but the spader does not care as it is powerful enough to  still dig.  
Dr. Morrison proved over a 15 year period that a farmer can establish  
permanent beds on his farm that are alternating 80" and 100" to accomadate the  
wheels of the tractor and harvesting equipment and increase the yeild between  10% 
and 15%.  No agrument and no debate. He closed his research on  them.  He 
told me he got tired of proving something works and few farmers  using the idea.  
I do not blame him.   
Therefore, I teach organic, no-till gardening and farming in permanent  beds. 
Cuts cost, reduces labor and increases profits while preserving the soil  for 
generations to come.   
I wish that every gardener in America could see the video I have about  Ruth 
Stout's gardening.   
While the cotton farmers here are going over their land with all that  
expensive equipment [$75,000 tractor]  in the air-conditioned cab,  cultivating and 
cultivating and cultivating and spraying and spraying and  spraying and then 
using a moldboard or whatever, the no-till farmer plants with  his $15,000 
no-till planter and little tractor, goes fishing, reads in the shade  of a tree, 
etc and then harvests his cotton, plants the winter cover crop and  goes south 
to warm weather, visits the grandkids, wherever, etc. until  time to knock 
down the wheat and plants the cotton again so he can fo  fishing again. 
Have a great day while plowing or digging in the  garden, 
Ken Hargesheimer 

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