Impact on soil

Real Direct Seeding


Traditional seeding method

 

Real Direct Seeding does not require crushing of the soil and plant residues. The stubble, root system and makro canals of the previous plant stand remain intact for the benefit of the new plant stand. The straws chaffed by the combine harvester remain on the soil surface where they act as a shield against evaporation and provide feed for the micro-organisms.

Stubble and straws on the soil surface create favourable conditions for the reproduction of micro-organisms. The soil is provided with natural circulation of nutrients in which micro-organisms break up nutrients from the soil and organic matter for the disposal of the plants.

The straw cover protects the micro-organisms against excess drought and, in midsummer, against excess heat. When it rains the organic matter prevents puddling of the soil. Every year the straw cover disappears. Partly it becomes nourishment for the micro-organisms and partly it decays in a natural way.


Real Direct Seeding improves the soil profile

  • Stubble on the soil surface forms a natural cover for the soil.
  • The stubble is a source of nourishment for the micro-organisms and microbes.
  • The stubbble breaks down into humus and organic carbon on the soil surface.
  • The stubble protects humus and carbon from burning to carbon dioxide and thus the reduction of humus.
  • The activity of micro-organisms and microbes forms excretions in the soil which improve the aggregate structure of the soil and create micro and macro pores.
  • The microbial activity breaks down the herbicide residues and protects the grain against plant diseases.

 
As the aggregate structure improves: (Source: ECAF, Conservation Agriculture))

  • Compaction of the soil is reduced.
  • Water permeability of the soil is improved.
  • Porosity of the soil is improved.
  • Tolerance to drought of the soil is improved.
  • Retention capacity for water and nutrients is improved.
  • Acidity of the soil is reduced.
  • Break-out capacity of the soil nutrients is improved.
  • Instead of causing carbon dioxide emissions, the crop production serves as a carbon sink.
  • Environmental emissions are reduced.
  • Principles of sustainable development are applied in farming.
     

Traditional ploughing and tilling impairs the soil profile.

  • During ploughing and tilling, the activity of micro-organisms and microbes close to the soil surface is reduced.
  • Ploughing and tilling reduce the humus and carbon contents of the soil and burn them to carbon dioxide.
  • During the "tractor-era" the humus contents of fields has decreased by 30-50%.
  • As the humus content and the microbial activity is decreased, the structure of the soil is impaired.

As a result: (Source: ECAF, Conservation Agriculture)

  • Density of the soil is increased.
  • Puddling of the soil is increased.
  • Soil becomes less tolerant to wetness and drought.
  • Runoff of small soil particles to bodies of water is increased.
  • Carbon dioxide emissions from the soil are increased.
  • With the particles more herbicides leach into bodies of water.
  • Leaching of fertilizers into bodies of water is increased.
  • Solubility of nutrients bound to the soil for benefit of plants is decreased.
  • Need to apply chemical fertilizers is increased.
  • Number of machines and appliances required is increased.
  • Consumption of fuel is increased.
  • Environmental emissions are increased.