Tillage Management

Residue left on field, with corn emerging

For many soils in the Corn Belt, implementing no-till systems can reduce soil erosion, improve carbon sequestration, improve soil quality, use less fuel, increase microbial diversity and activity, and improve water infiltration and storage in the soil.  Although, not all soils and climates provide conditions that promote improved crop yields and soil quality.  Conservation tillage systems provide a minimum of 30% soil cover by crop residues during the critical soil erosion period. No-tillage, the most extreme form of conservation tillage, is when seed is planted directly into the soil without prior tillage and aims for 100% soil cover.   There can be drawbacks to no-till on some soils, these effects include poor crop population establishment, increased nitrous oxide emissions, reduced crop yields on some soils, and dependence on herbicides for weed control.  This project will evaluate the impact different tillage systems have on greenhouse gas emissions.


tillage handout

Speed Science: No-Tillage Impacts on Soil Carbon, Nitrogen and Water


Dr. Warren Dick, Professor, Ohio State University, discusses the potential negative and beneficial impacts of no-tillage on soil carbon, nitrogen and water, in corn-based cropping systems. This presentation was made at this project's 2012 Annual Meeting.







We're scientists and farmers working together to create a suite of practices for corn-based systems that:

  • are resilient in times of drought
  • reduce soil and nutrient losses under saturated soil conditions
  • reduce farm field nitrogen losses
  • retain carbon in the soil
  • ensure crop and soil productivity

Sustainable Corn BLOG

Farmers and scientists in the Corn Belt discussing cover crops, weather, tillage, drainage water managment and much more.


Sustainable Corn YouTube Channel


SUSTAINABLECORN.ORG | Website Administrator
This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and
Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2011-68002-30190
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed on this website are those of the author(s)
and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.