“I’m often asked whether I believe in global warming. I now just reply with the question: Do you believe in gravity?” – Neil deGrasse Tyson
There is a global crisis of excessive atmospheric carbon looming overhead, and one of the key strategies for reducing it lies underfoot.
It is a scientific fact that, if the planet’s topsoil continues to degrade and erode at the current rate, within several decades the human population will be unable to feed itself. The practice of tilling the soil releases carbon into the atmosphere, which mixes with the omnipresent oxygen and becomes CO2. While this time-tested agricultural method is effective for killing weeds and creating short-term nutrients, it is also contributing to long-term damage to the climate caused by the greenhouse effect.
Thankfully, no-till farming is a viable solution with approximately 10,000 years of proven success. This method is rooted in the idea of preserving nutrient-rich soil ecosystems which are made up of earthworms, microbes and organic material. Rather than breaking them apart every year, they are left intact, which not only avoids the release of carbon, but also allows the topsoil to retain moisture. The ability to retain rainwater and irrigation means that, even acreage in arid climates does not have to dry up and be eroded away by wind and sudden, heavy rains.
Sell the Tractor
No-till does not mean no work, and alternative seasonal steps must be taken to cultivate land intended for growing crops. Cover crops such as soybeans, fava beans and Austrian winter peas lend a heavy biomass to the topsoil, helping retain water and providing mulch once they are winter-killed and planted over with cash crops. Also, forgoing soil tillage not only reduces the use of fossil fuels (to power farm machinery) but it also avoids compacting the soil beneath the massive weight of tractors. As any farmer will attest, the bane of all growers is impacted soil.
Bring Out the Beasts
Additionally, fields and gardens that host cover crops and cash crops in tandem (rather than sitting fallow) present a larger living biomass, which requires more carbon in order to proliferate. This process is known as carbon sequestration; the practice of deliberately drawing the carbon that is in the atmosphere back down into the soil through the natural process of photosynthesis. This process can also be induced by rotating free-range livestock through agricultural properties to remove vegetation and leave behind nutrient-rich fertilizer in the form of manure.
Give Them the Good Stuff
In a no-till farming initiative, avoiding synthetic fertilizers and dangerous herbicides is another concern. Rather than risking poisoned food and contaminated water tables, progressive farmers and growers are turning to organic nutrients and biodynamic amendments for boosting plant growth and maintaining an eco-friendly environment.
X Hydro Supply is the premier online resource for no-till farming and organic gardening needs. Take a look at our massive selection of fertilizers and nutrients for farming that helps reduce atmospheric carbon.
By Luke Schmaltz