No-tillage coming to the fore in NZ


The good news for New Zealand farmers keen on more sustainable farming is a superb Monsanto-sponsored handbook entitled "Successful No-Tillage in Crop and Pasture Establishment: A field manual for New Zealand farmers and contractors." This volume neatly distills all the issues pertaining to no-tillage in New Zealand into a 100 page, spiral-bound manual that is easy to read and designed to be easy to consult in the field. Numerous farmers' names appear among the acknowledgements, signalling the book contains plenty of genuine field-proven tips and advice. It's the kind of book that you'll read cover to cover in a couple of hours, but never loan or put away. It will be more at home in the glovebox of the ute than in a bookcase. Bill Ritchie says the manual was written to meet a pressing need. "As New Zealand farmers learn more about the importance of sustaining their soils, they call for more research into no-tillage so they can pick up the concept and readily apply it on their own farms. "The irony is that the research they are advocating has already been done. Most of the problems standing in the way of successful no-tillage under New Zealand conditions have been sorted out. We know many farmers around the country who are doing very well with it. "What's been lacking up till now is technology transfer. That's why we've written this book, and we're very grateful to Monsanto for helping us to turn it into reality." The manual is divided into four logical sections covering concepts, planning, implementation and post-drilling management. As if to emphasise the fact that a shift to no-tillage is primarily a shift in attitude the section on planning is the largest. It starts with picking out which paddocks to start in, and works through such issues as pests and diseases (which have to be re-learned for no-tillage) all the way through to whether your tractor is right for the job and which drill you should choose. Readers looking for practical guidance on establishing annual crops or permanent pastures will find equal satisfaction in the pages of this book. Dave McKinnon, Editor