Soil health is becoming a buzzword these days as folks are starting to pay more attention to their food, sustainability and farming in general. Of course it’s nothing new to farmers who seek to increase yields and work to keep their land productive for generations to come.
A major way farmers can increase soil health is by reducing their tillage or by cutting it out altogether. No-till, a practice where farmers leave the ground mostly undisturbed except for planting, has been used on South Dakota farms for decades as a way to conserve moisture, reduce erosion/runoff and build soil organic matter/structure. No-till can also help crops fight through weather extremes like drought, as farmers continue to face rapidly changing climate patterns.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service in South Dakota recently measured tillage practices across the state and found that no-till is on the rise once again following a similar trend in 2013.
The results of the 2015 Cropping Systems Inventory show an upward trend in no-till farming systems in South Dakota acres since the 2013 inventory, and up significantly from 2004. The 2015 inventory found use of no-till cropping systems to be predominant on 46 percent of South Dakota cropland (6.47 million acres).
That’s up from 6.2 million acres in 2013 (45% of cropland) and 4.8 million acres in 2004 (37% of cropland).
South Dakota farmers are on the right track when it comes to improving soil health through conservation tillage practices.
For more information about the 2015 Cropping Systems Inventory visit: