Conservation tillage is any tillage and planting system that leaves at least 30 percent of the soil surface covered by the previous year’s crop residue after planting. There are three main types of conservation tillage. They are as follows:
No-Till is a type of conservation tillage where crops are planted into crop residue that has not been disturbed with tillage practices. Soil and residue disturbance is limited to the planting operation. Fertilizer may be injected before or after planting. Control weeds with herbicides. Cultivation may be used for emergency weed control.
Ridge-Till is a type of conservation tillage where crops are planted on preformed ridges. During the planting operation, crop residues are cleared from the row area and moved to the furrow between rows. The planted rows are on a raised ridge. Ridge height is maintained with cultivation. Weeds are controlled with cultivation and/or herbicides. This type of conservation tillage is limited to row crops.
Mulch-Till is a type of conservation tillage that disturbs the entire soil surface and partially incorporates crop residue prior to planting. Tillage may be done following crop harvest in either fall or spring.