Conservation tillage is one of the new techniques Chinese agricultural officials are encouraging farmers to use in order control soil erosion and improve productivity.
In September, the Agricultural Machinery Department of Donggang District (Rizhao in eastern Shandong) held a conservation tillage meeting at Xihu Town’s Dahuaya Village to promote fall conservation tillage in the district. Donggang District began disseminating conservation tillage techniques in 2007 and after three years there are 5000 mu of model farms that influence the surrounding 20,000 mu.
Demonstrating conservation tillage
Techniques include no-till and minimum-tillage, utilizing organic matter from stalks, leaving corn stubble residue as a ground cover, mechanical sub-soiling, and pest control methods. By reducing the amount of ploughing and leaving residue on the surface, wind and water erosion is reduced and more moisture is retained in the soil. This helps crops during times of drought.
According to the article, it is expected that this year yields will increase this year by 30 kg per mu through conservation tillage measures. This year it is planned to increase the area by 3000 mu, radiating out to 5000 mu or so. By using conservation tillage, farmers can increase income and save expenditures totaling 600,000 yuan or more.