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Tillage Intensity and Conservation Cropping in the United States

Roger Claassen, Maria Bowman, Jonathan McFadden, David Smith and Steven Wallander

No 277566, Economic Information Bulletin from United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service

Abstract: Reducing tillage and increasing soil cover can enhance soil health. Conservation tillage, particularly no-till or strip-till, used in conjunction with soil cover practices (like conservation crop rotations and cover crops) can lead to a range of soil health benefits: improved agricultural productivity, greater drought resilience, and better environmental outcomes. This report uses field-level data to estimate tillage practice adoption based on soil disturbance as measured by absence of tillage operations (for no-till) and the Soil Tillage Intensity Rating (STIR, for mulch till). To gauge the intensity of tillage over time, we estimate the number of years no-till or strip-till are used over a 4-year period. Rates of adoption for practices that affect soil cover—including conservation crop rotations, cover crops, double cropping, fallowing, and residue harvest or grazing—are also estimated. The rates at which these practices are adopted in conjunction with no-till/strip-till are also estimated to illustrate interactions between tillage and practices that affect soil cover.

Keywords: Crop; Production/Industries (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr and nep-env
Date: 2018-09
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DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.277566

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