No-till technology - A no-till system with crop residue management for mediumscale wheat and barley farming

Summary

A special no-till drill was developed to simultaneously seed and fertilize annual crops: the drill cuts through residue, opens a 20 cm wide slot which, after seed and N/P-fertilizers are dropped into it, is closed firmly to encourage contact between seed and soil. Application of special herbicides replaces tillage for weed control, and enables the farmer to have an 18-month fallow period (a ‘chemical fallow’) after two crops have been taken over a 6-month period. Fallowing is essential for water conservation in this semi-arid area. NTT reduces passes with heavy machines to three times per year.
Overall, yields are higher and costs are lower than under conventional tillage. NTT reduces soil erosion and soil compaction while conserving water in
the soil.
The use of the special no-till drill ensures both minimal working of the soils, and precise incorporation of phosphate fertilizer beneath seeds.
Erosion and evaporation suppression/control are the main impacts of the system: runoff and concentrated flow in watersheds are reduced. Maintaining crop residues in the fields increases soil organic matter and thus the amount of carbon sequestered, as well as nutrient levels. Hence application of inorganic fertilizers can be reduced.

Description

A no-till system with crop residue management for mediumscale wheat and barley farming.

This no-till technology (NTT) system, with direct seeding and crop residue management, was designed by the National Institute of Agricultural Research (INRA) in Settat,  Morocco. A special no-till drill was developed to simultaneously seed and fertilize annual crops: the drill cuts through residue, opens a 20 cm wide slot which, after seed and N/P-fertilizers are dropped into it, is closed firmly to encourage contact between seed and soil. Seeding is earlier than in the case of conventional tillage – which requires seedbed preparation. Spacing between rows is adjusted according to crop type: 20 cm for wheat or barley, and 40 cm for lentils and chickpeas. Tillage depth is between 5–12 cm depending on soil workability and moisture content.

Crops, planted in rotation with a fallow period, are barley, wheat, legumes (lentils and chickpea) and also fodder species. Application of special herbicides replaces tillage for weed control, and enables the farmer to have an 18-month fallow period (a ‘chemical fallow’) after two crops have been taken over a 6-month period. Fallowing is essential for water conservation in this semi-arid area. NTT reduces passes with heavy machines to three times per year. Residue management involves maintaining the soil partially covered with stubble and straw. Overall, yields are higher and costs are lower than under conventional tillage. NTT reduces soil erosion and soil compaction while conserving water in the soil. Optimum use of scarce and low rainfall to stabilise/increase crop yields is essential in this area.

The use of the special no-till drill ensures both minimal working of the soils, and precise incorporation of phosphate fertilizer beneath seeds. Depending on the specific site, residue management is adjusted from low residue maintenance (stubble/controlled grazing) to medium surface cover (stubble/straw maintenance, forage crops and exclusion of grazing). Erosion and evaporation suppression/ control are the main impacts of the system: runoff and concentrated flow in watersheds are reduced. Chemicals are applied for weed control, but this takes into account the environment, and can be reduced over time. Maintaining crop residues in the fields increases soil organic matter and thus the amount of carbon sequestered, as well as nutrient levels. Hence application of inorganic fertilizers can be reduced.

Further reading

Countries

Morocco

Created date

Mon, 11/06/2012 - 09:21

Attached files

AttachmentSize
PDF icon 1_NoTillTechnology_Morocco.pdf4.22 MB

Source(s)

WOCAT (World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies) network

WOCAT (World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies) is a global network of Soil and Water Conservation (SWC) specialists, contributing to sustainable land management (SLM).

WOCAT’s goal is to prevent and reduce land degradation through SLM technologies and their implementation approaches. The network provides tools that allow SLM specialists to identify fields and needs of action, share their valuable knowledge in land management, that assist them in their search for appropriate SLM technologies and approaches, and that support them in making decisions in the field and at the planning level and in up-scaling identified best practices.

WOCAT was initiated nearly 20 years ago by a concerned group of soil and water conservation professionals who identified the need to counter the prevailing pessimistic view of land degradation. Today WOCAT is a thriving knowledge management hub for Sustainable Land Management (SLM). It has carried out its activities with more than 50 national and regional groups, documenting more than 470 SLM technologies and 230 SLM approaches with training provided to over 500 practitioners in the application of the methods and tools. This portfolio of experience and records makes WOCAT the premier platform of information on land resources and their use (including databases for data storage and retrieval), with direct application to knowledge of soil and water conservation and outstanding potential to help deliver current agendas in sustainable land management, climate change adaptation and climate resilience planning.

WOCAT is a consortium of national and international institutions, led by a core Management Group of CDE, FAO and ISRIC[1]. The Secretariat for WOCAT at the Centre for Development and Environment, Bern, has extensive experience in database and knowledge management for all land-based investments.

[1] CDE: Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern, Switzerland; FAO: Food and Agricultural Organization, Rome, Italy; ISRIC: World Soil Information Wageningen, The Netherlands

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