GHGMP News Releases

Nova Scotia showcasing direct seeding benefits

Truro, N.S., September 22, 2004

Reduced fuel consumption, improved soil quality and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions are among the expected benefits to be found in on-going direct seeding demonstrations being monitored across Nova Scotia.

The demonstrations at four farms are designed to compare the effects of conventionally tilled crop production with new direct seeding or zero-till techniques, says Rob Michitsch, regional co-ordinator of the Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Program for Canadian Agriculture (GHGMP) related to soils and crops.

The Nova Scotia projects are among dozens of projects across the country, partially funded by the federal GHGMP, which are geared to demonstrate farming practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Michitsch (pronounced Mikitch) is monitoring two field-scale plots at each farm - one tilled and seeded under conventional practices and the other that was direct seeded using equipment such as the U.S.-made Tye no-till drill. At one farm, a third plot was added to demonstrate reduced tillage seeding practices. All plots will be monitored for soil quality and greenhouse gas emission levels as well as crop yields.

"We're demonstrating options to conventional tillage," says Michitsch. "Intensive tillage such as moldboard plowing to prepare a seed bed has degraded soil quality. Tillage reduces soil structure and organic matter and increases the risk of erosion." Improved soil structure is important to proper moisture and nutrient cycling, and helps retain moisture under dry conditions.

Zero till farming helps reduce the production of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. Plants are able to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it as carbon in plant tissue and in the soil. Tillage releases that carbon back into the atmosphere. Also, reduced field operations means a reduction in the use of fossil fuels, which also release carbon dioxide as they're burned, and a large time savings for individual producers.

The various tillage/seeding treatments are being demonstrated on corn grown for silage, and barley and spring wheat grown for grain crops.

"It's an ongoing project that will continue over the next couple years," says Michitsch. "The anticipated outcome is to increase awareness of reduced tillage practices and encourage producers to implement these practices on their farms.

"In adopting a no-till system benefits should include improved soil structure, decreased soil erosion, increased soil organic matter, reduced fuel consumption, reduced time spent tilling the field, a wider window for both planting and harvesting, and a decrease in carbon dioxide emissions released into the atmosphere."

The GHGMP supports a broad range of projects across Canada with the goal to promote awareness of agricultural practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Soil Conservation Council of Canada (SCCC) administers the delivery of the soil and nutrient management sector component of the program. For more information on these projects and other activities, visit the SCCC's Web site at www.soilcc.ca.


For more information, contact:

Rob Michitsch, Regional Co-ordinator
GHGMP for Canadian Agriculture
Truro, N.S.
Phone: (902) 896-7092

Doug McKell, Executive Director
Soil Conservation Council of Canada
Indian Head, Sask.
Phone: (306) 695-4212
Web site: www.soilcc.ca

Jerome Damboise, Program Co-ordinator
Eastern Canada Soil and Water Conservation Centre
Grand Falls, New Brunswick
Phone: (506) 475-4040
Web site: www.soilcc.ca