Project Drawdown - Conservation Agriculture
Plows are absent on farms practicing conservation agriculture, and for good reason. When farmers till their fields to destroy weeds and fold in fertilizer, water in the freshly turned soil evaporates. Soil itself can be blown or washed away and carbon held within it released into the atmosphere. Tilling can make a field nutrient poor and less life-giving.
Conservation agriculture was developed in Brazil and Argentina in the 1970s, and adheres to three core principles:
- Minimize soil disturbance: absent tilling, farmers seed directly into the soil.
- Maintain soil cover: farmers leave crop residues after harvesting or grow cover crops.
- Manage crop rotation: farmers change what is grown and where.