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Home > Alberta's Resource Inventory > Soil and Agriculture > Resource Development > Seeding > No-Till Seeding

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No-Till Seeding

Seeding, n.d., Suffield.As the name implies, usually no regular tillage of the soil is performed. The barley seed is planted into non-tilled soil, and in-crop weeds are controlled with selective herbicides. Barley grown as a no-till crop in rotation with other cereals may contain volunteer grain of other species and varieties. No-till production may not be suitable in some central and northern parts of Alberta because soils under no-till culture are often cooler than tilled soils, and the central and northern growing seasons may be too short. 

In a no-till cropping system, planting is the only operation that disturbs the soil. Only 25 to 35 percent of the soil surface is disturbed. Many farmers, however, strive for less than 25 per cent disturbance. No-till is similar to low disturbance direct seeding except that direct seeding systems allow some tillage to deal with unusual conditions.

No-till aims to minimize soil disturbance and maintain as much crop residue cover as possible. This is so for several reasons: low disturbance reduces soil moisture loss, weed seeds are less likely to germinate and grow on the undisturbed soil surface, low disturbance systems use less fuel for field operations, crop residue cover protects soil from wind and water erosion, standing stubble traps snow.

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