Lessons Learnt from Long-Term Experiments on No-Till Systems in Semi-arid Regions



Healthy soil is a vital component of sustainable crop production. While it is challenging to describe or measure soil health directly, it can be quantified by measuring indicators of soil physical, chemical, and biological health. Traditional crop management practices rely on tillage operations to prepare the soil for sowing and, in part, to manage weeds and crop residues, however tillage is deleterious to soil health. Over time, the negative effects of tillage on soil health can be seen in declining yields or the need to increase inputs such as fertilizers or irrigation water to maintain productivity. We use two case studies of long-term agronomic experiments in semi-arid cropping regions of India to demonstrate the value of no-till systems to improving soil health and thus contributing to the sustainable production of cereal-based cropping systems. The results summarized here have applications and relevance in other semi-arid cropping systems globally.


No-till Residue retention Soil health Cropping system productivity Low-rainfall 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CIMMYTDhakaBangladesh
  2. 2.CSIRO Agriculture & FoodBrisbaneAustralia

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