Non-inversion tillage

Non-inversion tillage (NIT) is attracting increasing attention in the arable sector. This method of crop farming is not restricted to no more ploughing. It is about improving the resilience of the soil by building up organic matter and promoting soil life. Active soil life promotes the decomposition of slurry, stubble, and crop residues, and it contributes to the water infiltration capacity. This is creating a better soil structure.

No till?

It is important to realise that non-inversion tillage is much more than just stop ploughing and reducing soil cultivation. As well as making more conscious choices about soil cultivation, non-inversion tillage also has consequences for crops, soil covering and fertilisation.

Correct application of the concept of non-inversion tillage stimulates soil life and improves the soil structure. As a result, the water-absorbing capacity increases and the capillary action in the soil will also increase. Consequently, come springtime, the field will be easier to drive and work on. However, in dry periods during summer, the roots are better able to extract water from the soil. Increased organic matter in the soil will reduce the risk of nutrient leaching. And reduced tillage means savings on fuel and labour, of course.

The most important operations that have to be done under non-inversion tillage are breaking up soil compaction and the incorporation of crop residues.

Removing soil compaction

With the removal of soil compaction, the various soil layers have to remain intact. However, it is crucial to break up compactions, such as compactions that restrict the permeability and the penetration of roots into the soil. Such compactions may be the result of 'old' plough pans and working with (increasingly heavy) agricultural machinery or slaking, which occurs in some areas, caused by heavy rainfall. Soil compaction may cause poor root development and considerable loss of yield further down the line. Especially in wet springs or dry summers, it is clear that rootability is extremely important.

Incorporating crop residue

The cultivation and incorporation of crop residues is to accelerate their decomposition and mix them in the upper soil layer. In this way, the decomposition gets going and the crop remains help to build up organic matter in the soil. More organic matter means better retention of nutrients that are made available for the next harvest.

In the concept of non-inversion tillage, green manure cultivation plays a prominent role and such green manure is given an important task. Green manure improves the soil structure because more organic matter in the soil leads to better root development.

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