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Foreword to the second edition

FAO has a history of supporting the development and extension of Conservation Agriculture cropping systems. No-tillage seeding is one of the key operations of Conservation Agriculture; no-till seeding, together with the principles of cover crops and crop rotation, constitute Conservation Agriculture. The availability of suitable technology and equipment is a necessary precondition for making Conservation Agriculture work. Special equipment is required not only for direct seeding and planting, but also for the management of crop residues and cover crops. The earlier book titled 'No-tillage seeding' by Baker, Ritchie and Saxton was, at the time of its publication, one of the most comprehensive publications covering the engineering aspects of no-tillage seeding as well as the agronomic and environmental background for no-tillage farming. It has been valuable as a reference for scientists and students, and also as a guide for practitioners. A case was reported where a farmer after reading this book bought a no-till planter and converted his farm to no-till. This new book, 'No-tillage seeding for Conservation Agriculture' provides a broader picture of the equipment used in Conservation Agriculture cropping systems. It includes chapters on material not previously covered, for example, the management of crop residues and cover crops, preparation for the no-tillage seeding operation, and controlled traffic farming as a complementary technology. There are also new chapters describing no-tillage seeding technologies for small-scale farmers. Technology developments from South America and South Asia are described, including manual equipment, draft animal equipment, and equipment for power tillers. The subject of greenhouse gases as driving forces for climate change is also discussed in a chapter on carbon sequestration under no-tillage farming systems. We hope that this book contributes to a better understanding of the engineering components of conservation agriculture. It is also our wish that it helps with the introduction and expanded application of this technology. Conservation Agriculture is a valuable approach to cropping that can lead to more productive,, competitive, and sustainable agricultural systems with parallel benefits to the environment and to farmers and their families. Rome, November 2005 Shivaji Pandey (Director) Theodor Friedrich (Senior Agricultural Engineer) Agricultural Support Systems Division FAO