Catchment Sensitive Farming: Practical Tips

Practical Tip: Minimum tillage

Adopting minimum tillage can reduce soil erosion on erosion prone soils. Work on clay soils at Loddington, Leicestershire show that P and N losses are lower from land under minimum tillage compared to land under plough cultivation by around 40 % for P and 30 % for N, due to increased infiltration reducing runoff and erosion, and some crop residues trapping sediment.  No differences in yield were reported between the two cultivation types for 2005-2006.  Cost savings from reduced labour and machinery operation have been estimated at approximately £50 per ha.

This picture of a maize field, taken in Belgium, shows the impact that minimum tillage can have on soil erosion. The left hand side of the field was ploughed and the right hand side was in minimum tillage.  The dark lines on the left are deep channels cut through the field. There are none present on the right where minimum tillage was practiced.


Source: Gerard Govers KU Leuven


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