Zero till may not be as environmentally friendly as we thought.

willy

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Rutland
D838204E-BFAD-40FB-9BCB-5681047A210A.jpeg

312C651B-1499-4675-9C2B-5329383F3E44.jpeg

BA7AA32A-B025-4DD9-9597-E9C30F134BAC.jpeg
 
What?!!?
Are you still in the land of nod?

Howd you mean? Im saying if you extend the argument about nox logically to apply to all soil types then this is what the scenario would be.

Which is why the NOX debate isnt a strong enough one in the longer term. All waterlogged soils will give off nox.

Its not as if soils suddenly start giving off nox the day after no till drilling the next crop and the neighbouring one gets ploughed is it? Nox emissions are probably a function of wetter soils period not really no till soils. How about a winter stubble then?

N is such a tricky one in the climate context. We could all stop using artificial N and our theoretical ghg emissions could go down and we's be feeling smug. Hungry but smug!
 

ajd132

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Suffolk
I'm sure it wasn't a case of lets DD for 2 years and measure the NO2.
There are 2 sides to every tale, including conservation agriculture. There's one or 2 on here that don't see that, or if they see it they won't acknowledge it.
As usual its the transition from till to no till that is the problem, not the end result.
Quite, I’ve seen horrendous soils before going into no till, trying to make these go straight into that system results in even worse soil
 

Brisel

Member
NFFN Member
Location
Midlands

This was reported in Farmers Weekly a while ago too. I haven't heard the entire presentation to get a context from which it is easy to extract soundbites.

I'm with Adam on this. There seems to be an assumption that no till soils will be anaerobic at some point, hence the NOx emissions. I've seen the clay soils at Loddington myself & can sympathise. However, this is not a general truth that applies to all soils in all cases. There are plenty of tilled soils that will be anaerobic from waterlogging as many will have seen last winter.

What I did like about this research is the more holistic view with no agenda either way.


This book is well worth a read - it's not written by evangelical no tillers!
1588751033179.png


I recommend that anyone interested in different establishment systems also this paper by the soil scientist Dick Godwin at Harper Adams www.gwct.org.uk/media/841519/Potential-of-no-till-systems-for-arable-farming.pdf
 
I'm sure it wasn't a case of lets DD for 2 years and measure the NO2.
There are 2 sides to every tale, including conservation agriculture. There's one or 2 on here that don't see that, or if they see it they won't acknowledge it.
As usual its the transition from till to no till that is the problem, not the end result.

To be honest we don't know where the data is from. I havent read it all or the sources.

Its not that there are "two sides" so much as understanding what is really happening.

N20 will increase in more anaerobic soils. That is the case whether the soil is no tilled, tilled or grass etc. I would wager the more N that is put on the more potential there is for N20 emissions. In fact I don't even know if there are N20 emissions from legumes or not - surely there are.

Consider ths scenario: If two farmers grew a crop of spring barley side by side and farmer A decides to leave his all winter before ploughing and seeding spring rape and farmer B decides to drag his no till drill through and plant winter rape is farmer B emitting more N2o than farmer A?

Scenario 2 - The whole of the growing season they both churn out decent crops. Everyone happy. Both don't think they have compaction etc. This time farmer A decides to fully invert tillages and plant winter wheat but then flooded out, farmer B got coronavirus at Groundswell and couldn't harvest his OSR until september and decides to leave a stubble and then plants spring wheat instead.

The point is N20 will fluctuate within both those fields all the time. Its too complicated to say no till = more N20.

The other part of the article which is odd is the comparing carbon:

There is a higher concentration of OM in the top 10cm of the no till field but levels drop after that. But then says there is more carbon in the ploughed when you bury the residue under 20cm! So its an admission that the top 5-10cm is where you build the carbon! Naturally there is going to be less OM the lower down the soil profile you go if carbon gets built at the interface between soil life and the sun.

Honestly saying there is more carbon 20cm down when you physically plough residue it down is like me ploughing in a crop of wheat the day before harvest and saying "look, this wheat can grow underground as well"!
 
I'm sure it wasn't a case of lets DD for 2 years and measure the NO2.
There are 2 sides to every tale, including conservation agriculture. There's one or 2 on here that don't see that, or if they see it they won't acknowledge it.
As usual its the transition from till to no till that is the problem, not the end result.

Its not as complicated as you think .

This year @Two Tone had a crop of failed rape and no tilled some oats into it. Now I have no idea what they look like now but they did come up. And he is a die hard plough the lot man

What is so hard about drilling wheat into beans or osr no till?
 
You can also find data to express the opposite:



So you have to put data in its context. You won't get me denying N20 emissions will increase in poorly aerated soils. whatever the farming system and also adjusted for artificial N use.

But very often tilled soils are only aerated for a few months (or maybe even days/weeks) before going back to an unaerated state because of a lack of structure/ soil life etc. So is this taken into account?

So I would like to see the data on the season long N20 fluctuations for a crop side by side. The other thing I'm not sure on (can someone tell me?) is during the act of tillage how much Nitrous oxides could potentially be emitted in cultivation? I don't think its massive but it could be something - the N has to go somewhere after all.

N is the most complicated and least linear of all. Why do we not have a debate about nitrous oxide emissions from grassland?
 

fudge

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lincolnshire.
Organic farming is the right model for uk agriculture. Chemical's are on the way out/ grossly over priced, N fertiliser fixed with fossil fuel is on the way out, trans Atlantic trade deals are on the way. If we are to produce local food for local people we must convince the government to support this vision or watch production be exported to places where land is much cheaper and the environmental costs are out of sight. Unfortunately as capitalists, farmers both tillers and notillers cannot see passed the end of their noses and continue to argue about rearranging chairs on the deck of the titanic. Good luck with that!!
 

ajd132

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Suffolk
To be honest we don't know where the data is from. I havent read it all or the sources.

Its not that there are "two sides" so much as understanding what is really happening.

N20 will increase in more anaerobic soils. That is the case whether the soil is no tilled, tilled or grass etc. I would wager the more N that is put on the more potential there is for N20 emissions. In fact I don't even know if there are N20 emissions from legumes or not - surely there are.

Consider ths scenario: If two farmers grew a crop of spring barley side by side and farmer A decides to leave his all winter before ploughing and seeding spring rape and farmer B decides to drag his no till drill through and plant winter rape is farmer B emitting more N2o than farmer A?

Scenario 2 - The whole of the growing season they both churn out decent crops. Everyone happy. Both don't think they have compaction etc. This time farmer A decides to fully invert tillages and plant winter wheat but then flooded out, farmer B got coronavirus at Groundswell and couldn't harvest his OSR until september and decides to leave a stubble and then plants spring wheat instead.

The point is N20 will fluctuate within both those fields all the time. Its too complicated to say no till = more N20.

The other part of the article which is odd is the comparing carbon:

There is a higher concentration of OM in the top 10cm of the no till field but levels drop after that. But then says there is more carbon in the ploughed when you bury the residue under 20cm! So its an admission that the top 5-10cm is where you build the carbon! Naturally there is going to be less OM the lower down the soil profile you go if carbon gets built at the interface between soil life and the sun.

Honestly saying there is more carbon 20cm down when you physically plough residue it down is like me ploughing in a crop of wheat the day before harvest and saying "look, this wheat can grow underground as well"!
Don’t we want the OM to be in the top layer around the rhizospehere of the plant anyway?
 
Organic farming is the right model for uk agriculture. Chemical's are on the way out/ grossly over priced, N fertiliser fixed with fossil fuel is on the way out, trans Atlantic trade deals are on the way. If we are to produce local food for local people we must convince the government to support this vision or watch production be exported to places where land is much cheaper and the environmental costs are out of sight. Unfortunately as capitalists, farmers both tillers and notillers cannot see passed the end of their noses and continue to argue about rearranging chairs on the deck of the titanic. Good luck with that!!

Organic farming has its merits but it is quite input heavy on the machinery side. Multiple passes of cultivation are an organic farmers blind spot
 
Don’t we want the OM to be in the top layer around the rhizospehere of the plant anyway?

Well I do because I believe that a better more active OM and the attendent soil life creating it brings soil fertility efficiencies such as better soil P availability, more even pH and the artificial nitrogen has something which can eat it to and excrete for our plants. But I'm clearly in the minority and the brown ground boys don't see it that way!
 

ajd132

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Suffolk
Organic farming is the right model for uk agriculture. Chemical's are on the way out/ grossly over priced, N fertiliser fixed with fossil fuel is on the way out, trans Atlantic trade deals are on the way. If we are to produce local food for local people we must convince the government to support this vision or watch production be exported to places where land is much cheaper and the environmental costs are out of sight. Unfortunately as capitalists, farmers both tillers and notillers cannot see passed the end of their noses and continue to argue about rearranging chairs on the deck of the titanic. Good luck with that!!
Organic farming is a marketing tool. A hybrid of current conventional and organic should be the aim. Both systems currently have major downfalls. If everyone was organic there would be no premium just loads of extra cost on machinery, fuel and labour.
 

Clive

Staff Member
NFFN Member
Location
Lichfield
Nothing new, it’s an old story and it’s only considering co2, nothing re nutrient loss, soil erosion and habitat etc

notill is just the act of not using deep cultivation, conservation agriculture use of cover crops, companion and relay crops etc, permanent ground cover all of which have wee document advantages to environment

The sceptic in me would even think these sorties exist because just maybe a lot of vested interest in input supply and oil really does not want to see widespread uptake of a technique that needs less synthetic products and machinery
 
Last edited:

Is Red tractor detrimental to your mental health?

  • Yes, Red tractor increase my stress and anxiety

    Votes: 283 98.3%
  • No, Red tractor gives me peace of mind that the product I produce is safe to enter the food chain

    Votes: 5 1.7%

HSENI names new farm safety champions

  • 117
  • 0
Written by William Kellett from Agriland

Farm-safety-640x360.png
The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) alongside the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP), has named new farm safety champions and commended the outstanding work on farm safety that has been carried out in the farming community in the last 20 years.

Two of these champions are Malcom Downey, retired principal inspector for the Agri/Food team in HSENI and Harry Sinclair, current chair of the Farm Safety Partnership and former president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU).

Improving farm safety is the key aim of HSENI’s and the FSP’s work and...
Top