Zero Tillage farming - merits and demerits

Hello guys

I have been long waiting to start this post here on farmnest, we have a pool of experts here on this forum who can throw some light on Zero-tillage or no-till farming.

i am in process of converting my farm to no till, this year i have ploughed my field thoroughly and removed all the hard weeds. I have currently sown paddy on the field and will directly seed wheat after harvesting paddy without tilling the soil further.

i have gathered some knowledge by reading books, talking to farmers who are already following this practice and to a Institution called BISA (Borlaug Institute of South Asia) and i am willing to share everything i know. Unluckily i have no farmer in my region/city who is following this technique, but its a good technology where farmer can save a lot on their cultivation cost by minimizing tilling operations, weed control and fertilizer application.

please share your views.


Good topic, I look forward to a good discussion on this.

I am quite interested to try this as well; the key point seems to be weed control through use of cover crops, seeds of which I am trying to source.
There seems to be specific equipment ‘crimper’ to create a mat of the cover crop elsewhere in the world (if herbicides are not used). We will have to innovate to have something to the effect.

This is much easier in horticulture. Lots of farmers are doing this. A brush cutter will do the job of chopping the cover crop.

But in grain production, or short term crops very few farmers do this(I have not met anybody yet). The reason they say is “sowing” is difficult germination ratio is very poor. Seed balls must be used to address this, farmers say it is not scalable, labouriouse. Finally they are not convinced with these soultions.

To draw attention US has a big numbers of No till farmers. here is a magazine which is 40 year old, gives lot of scalable options

For crimper some videos are here


I haven’t ploughed my coconut orchard, for little over 1 year. The only time I plough the land is to sow maize seeds in small patch for the cattle (direct seed method failed).

Apart from coconut I have banana planted in couple of acres and I have been practising “chopping the weeds” with sickles instead of ploughing, handpicking or any other method.

Even though I am facing lots of “pressure” from fellow farmers to plough the land, I have been putting it off. Just to want to see if there are any differences in the coconut yield with and without ploughing. So far I haven’t come across any.

The only issue I observe is too much of touch-me-not plant after the May showers. So I am thinking of broadcasting dicots (cowpea, greengram etc…) as well as daincha in the next few days/weeks (bought 50 Kgs of daincha seeds couple of days back).

We also use lot of mulching for the coconut plants with the waste (shell, leaves etc) itself. That seem to have helped to check the weed growth near the tree trunks.


Just realized that I had spent abt 27K in 1 year (May 2012- May 2013) for ploughing/deweeding 13 acres of land. So in last one year I made a considerable savings. :slight_smile:

Chandra to roll the crop down we should get a roller something similar to whats shown by sri which can cut the stem of the plant which inturn will will make the plant to lie down on the ground and eventually dry(i have seen a lot of farmers using weedicide sprayer attached to these wheels which cut the cover crop and sprays herbicide on them at the same time)  i dont think rolling down the cover crop wont be a major issue for cover crops like RYE, long and thin stem plants. Major issue i see is building an equipment or lets say a drill which can cut through the cover crop and plant seed directly on the ground because eventually only those seeds germinate which are in contact with the soil  I have seen zero tillage seed drills in ludhiana but none of them actually cuts the left over thats on the ground instead it drags the material with itself and then you need an additional labour to manually remove it from the tynes because it starts effecting your seed rates. Hope you understood what i meant.  Sorry for being so haphazard, i shall try and be more systematic next time. 

Chandra i can see alot of added advantage with no till farming plus using a cover crop once a year which can return all the nutrients to the soil and eventually lower our fertilizer rate for the next crop.

We should workout a good mixture of cover crops that we can use in our climate conditions because as i read somewhere, the more diverse the cover crop the better it is. 


Plz follow this link for crimpers., … 4861417393
Sri Raju Titus from Hoshangabad is a practicing expert on no till farming.
Google for his picasa albums. I am in hurry now. Sorry.

Here it is correct link … eed-balls/

Hmm, no crimpers on the link though?

crimper is here … 0945407735

but it is not a scalable solution, labour intensive

oops I found more picture here, this is better one … 0945407735

Various crimper rollerts.

Some more crimper rollers

Stand&Plant Seeder&Planter plant seeds and plants while standing 1.pdf (268 KB)
Stand & Plant Seeder & Planter plant seeds and plants while standing 2.pdf (104 KB)

Here all the doubts about roller crimper and crimping cover crops ‘why and how’ are answered.

Here is a book in PDF ‘Natural-Way-Of-Farming-Masanobu-Fukuoka-Green-Philosophy’
Natural-Way-Of-Farming-Masanobu-Fukuoka-Green-Philosophy.pdf (2.12 MB)

The Science of Soil Health: Understanding the Value of Legumes and Nitrogen-Fixing Microbes

Here are some PDFs
broadcasting.pdf (461 KB)
corn_silage_yields.pdf (144 KB)
nitrogen_capture.pdf (94.9 KB)

Best option for No Till is Radish as a Cover Crop. Please see the pdf (Cover Crop Solutions Resource Guide) available at  Centre Column Bottom at ‘Product Literature’. However one should understand  the principal or theme to be followed. We can use Indigenous local radish varieties instead. I have lot of info and I want to experiment it. I went to KVK and talked to them about it but no one is ready to listen because it is beneficial only for the farmers.

Guys everything is fine. 

Rolling down the cover crop, looks like its solved.  But have you thought how is one going to plant its crop after rolling down the residue, because seed needs to in contact with the soil for germination and plus the seed should be covered throughly otherwise birds and insects eats the up which reduces the yield drastically.  In foreign countries they have special drills which makes straight line but rotating disc and the seed is planted from behind it.  All mechanized

Video 1.

Video 2.

Do see both and let me know wat u think abt it