Modern day agriculture has progressed and developed greatly in the past 10,000 years with the on-going development of new implements and more effective processes. For instance one of the most important advancements the agricultural society has seen is the plow. Although the notion of our modern day plow has been around since ancient times, it was until the late 1700s and early 1800s that farmers realized how valuable it could be to them.
The primary purpose of plowing is to turn over the upper layer of the soil, bringing fresh nutrients to the surface of a field, while burying weeds and the remainder of any prior crop, and allowing them to decompose and act as an organic fertilizer. It also aerates the soil and helps it to hold moisture better by being under constant cover. In modern use, a plowed field is typically left to dry out, and it is then turned over again before planting (Duiker and Myers). The effects of this process are impacting everything from the air we breathe to the vast erosion of soil. In order to reduce these effects the method of no-till planting was developed.
The notion of no-till farming has been around since the 1960s, when it was introduced to help reduce the erosion of valuable topsoil from farmland. Since then, the realization of other benefits such as reduced need for irrigation, less labor for farmers, and increased soil quality. Many have encouraged the adoption of its process across the U.S. and around the world. In recent years, awareness in no-till has increased due to concern with soil conservation (Schonbeck). No-till farming, as its name indicates, does away with the plowing of the soil between crops. Rather than being plowed under, dead crops are left on top of the soil, where they decompose more slowly.
The diagram below gives a visual of the difference between conventional tillage and no-till.
There are many advantages of using the no-till system for planting. The unharmed soil undergoes...