Improving soil quality by not ploughing.

Daniel F Benson-Guiu

Recently there have been many reports about the negative sides of ploughing. The productivity of our soils has constantly increased thanks to the invention of the plough millennia ago, but now ploughing could be a cause for the decline in soil productivity.

Dr John Baker, an international soil scientist who studied at Massey University, says that ploughing also contributes to global warming and our greenhouse gas emissions.

“When a farmer ploughs and cultivates a paddock it releases CO2 into the atmosphere. The vast majority (95 percent) is released from soil with the other five percent coming from tractor exhausts,” according to Dr Baker.No-till farming

He says 20% of CO2 in the atmosphere comes from ploughing and in New Zealand 2.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide from ploughing is released every year.

This has enormous repercussions for the climate, but it also has a direct effect on the quality of our air and waterways. “If you want quality air and water and sustainable food production, you can’t do it without quality soil.” That dust on poor roads comes from poor soil, and poor dry soil also captures less water content, increasing run-off.

But the international scientist says it doesn’t need to happen. He has researched, invented and manufactured a drill that sows seeds and fertiliser into unploughed land. It prevents carbon from escaping into the atmosphere while trapping humidity and improving yields. His technology is recognised by the United States Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the United States Department of Agriculture as the best available.

Dr Baker says local councils have policies that address water and air quality, but soil quality is largely left out of the mix. “If promoting soil quality and discouraging conventional tillage was included in all environmental policies, then local authorities would be making an investment in the future prosperity of the region because healthy soils produce greater pasture and crop yields,” he says.

Add a comment
  • to get your picture next to your comment (not a member yet?).
  • Posted on Dec. 3, 2013. Listed in:

    Pledge to do these related actions

    Turn off car engine when ideling more than 10 seconds., 61°

    The idea that it takes more gas to start a car than to leave it ...

    Good Food March 2012 - Call for Action, 11°

    GOOD FOOD MARCH 2012 http://www.goodfoodmarch.eu/home.html A citizen gathering on the future of food and farming ...

    Plant a Tree: Help Create More Greenery, 355°

    Take some action and plant a tree today (or soon). Why not make it a ...

    Follow these related projects

    Vetiver Project - Naac Baal

    Sebikotane, Senegal

    Planetary Population Partnership

    Bath, United Kingdom

    Featured Companies & Orgs