No-till technology, popular in the West, is only gaining momentum in our country. Farmers know about its advantages: saving material resources, maintaining soil fertility, increasing the profitability of production, etc. But in reality, experiments sometimes leave farmers without a crop, and people disappointedly abandon the new technology. Going No-Till does come with a number of risks and challenges, but if done right, hassles can be avoided or minimized.
Just stop plowing the land does not mean switching to No-Till, experts interviewed by ATT are sure. It is impossible to immediately start work on zero technology, bypassing the Mini-Till, warns Sergey Giles, deputy director for research at the Kurgan Research Institute of Agriculture. If the farm worked according to traditional technology, and then suddenly decided to sow directly, then immediately there is a problem with nitrogen nutrition of plants.
the tweediness of the fields increases sharply, diseases and pests become more active. In addition, zero technology requires aligned fields. “Of course, there are farms that immediately stopped plowing. Sow, harvest, so what? Received 5 q/ha! Giles exclaims. “You need to understand that if you have left plowing, saving money on fuel and lubricants, then you will have to invest this money in fertilizers, because when sowing on stubble.
you need to increase the dose of nitrogen by 10-15 kg/ha. In addition, you need to spend money on herbicides and fungicides, since without clericalization it will be very problematic to work on zero technology for the first 5-7 years. And only then, when a mulching layer is created and phytosanitary crops are introduced into the crop rotation, the pathogenic load in the fields will decrease. But at the first stage, No-Till will not allow you to save on agricultural chemistry.”
In the Kurgan region, they have been experimenting with No-Till for only two years, Giles continues, so knowledge about the technology is still more theoretical. But we can already say with confidence that it is most attractive for arid regions, as it allows you to save and accumulate moisture in the soil.
“We have about 300-350 mm of precipitation per year in the center and south of the region, and about 450 mm in the north-west, so it is more problematic to use No-Till there. Everything is very differentiated: on the one hand, the technology is productive, but on the other hand, apparently.
it will not suit everyone,” Giles argues. There is still practically no work in the region using zero technology, preferring Mini-Till: they leave plowing, but carry out surface tillage, sow with lancet paws on the stubble, apply fertilizers and herbicides. At the same time, there are no template recipes for where and how to work using zero or minimum technology:
somewhere they suffer more from a lack of moisture, somewhere less, temperatures and soil in different soil and climatic zones also differ. Even on the same farm in two different fields, there may be some technological nuances that everyone determines for himself, Giles concludes.
Alexander Kochetkov, a representative of BASF in the Lipetsk region, claims that not a single farm has yet been able to completely switch to the No-Till system in the Chernozem region. According to him, only elements of resource-saving technologies have begun to be used in the region, but only a few are trying to work at zero. “
Full transition to No-Till requires a minimum of 3-4 years. To do this, first of all, it is necessary to change the mentality, then – to change the technique and, finally, to review the costs of geochemistry. If we direct our efforts to change only one element, then, unfortunately, the desired result will not be achievable: if you buy a seeder, but do not invest enough money in plant protection, the system does not work, which leads to disappointment and unwillingness to continue the experiment,” states Kochetkov.
If traditional farming technology forgives some mistakes of an agronomist, then No-Till does not, Giles adds. When miscalculating the timing of field work and deviating from technological requirements, weeds, diseases will immediately appear, and problems with the nutritional regime will become aggravated. Therefore, No-Till still exists at the level of conversations, the expert concludes.
The main difficulty in the transition to something new is psychological, Mikhail Draganchuk, chairman of the Drama farm (Ukraine, on an area of more than 2 thousand hectares using zero technology, wheat, barley, chickpeas, flax, rapeseed, sunflower) is grown. “Go to
No-Till gradually, comparing the results, psychologically easier. There is only one problem that can objectively interfere with this process – the unevenness of the soil in the fields. Everything else is from the field of psychology,” the farmer is convinced.
Each farmer determines for himself how to work correctly using zero technology, since specific conditions must be taken into account – climatic, soil, financial, Draganchuk continues. But in order to find the most correct approach, it is necessary to study the world experience of using No-Till. It is also very useful to pay attention to the experience of colleagues who work on zero technology in a similar climate zone. Having “digested” all this, you can begin to act, the trial and error method is also a good teacher, Draganchuk advises.
The most valuable thing that the farmer took away from the world experience of using No-Till is the confidence that this technology works in a variety of climatic conditions: both where there is not enough moisture, and where it is in excess. “It is moisture that is one of the most important factors in the selection of crops for crop rotation in a particular zone. In addition, by studying the experience of implementing
No-till, I saw in this technology the key to solving the most difficult problem – wind erosion of the soil, ”Draganchuk shares his experience.
However, Giles warns that when switching to No-Till, farmers should be prepared for a number of difficulties. “When the soil is no longer plowed, it compacts. However,