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Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 373; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020373

The Current State and Future Directions of Organic No-Till Farming with Cover Crops in Canada, with Case Study Support

1
Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Rd E, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada
2
Orchard Hill Farm, 45415 Fruit Ridge Line, St. Thomas, ON N5P 3S9, Canada
3
Vandeholm Farms Ltd., 560 Emily St. R.R.#1, St. Marys, ON N4X 1C4, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 December 2017 / Revised: 22 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 31 January 2018
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [234 KB, uploaded 31 January 2018]

Abstract

Eliminating regular tillage practices in agriculture has numerous ecological benefits that correspond to the intentions of organic agriculture; yet, more tillage is conducted in organic agriculture than in conventional agriculture. Organic systems face more management challenges to avoid tillage. This paper identifies factors to consider when implementing no-till practices particularly in organic agronomic and vegetable crop agriculture and describes techniques to address these factors. In some cases, future research is recommended to effectively address the current limitations. The format includes a literature review of organic no-till (OrgNT) research and two case studies of Ontario organic farmers that highlight no-till challenges and practices to overcome these challenges. Cover crops require significant consideration because they are the alternative to herbicides and fertilizers to manage weeds and provide nutrients in the OrgNT system. Equipment requirements have also proven to be unique in OrgNT systems. In the future, it is recommended that researchers involve organic farmers closely in studies on no-till implementation, so that the farmers’ concerns are effectively addressed, and research is guided by possibilities recognized by the practitioners. View Full-Text
Keywords: cover crop; mulch; no-till; organic agriculture; roller-crimper; rye; tillage; vetch cover crop; mulch; no-till; organic agriculture; roller-crimper; rye; tillage; vetch
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Beach, H.M.; Laing, K.W.; Walle, M.V.D.; Martin, R.C. The Current State and Future Directions of Organic No-Till Farming with Cover Crops in Canada, with Case Study Support. Sustainability 2018, 10, 373.

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