No-till farming (also known as zero tillage or direct drilling) is an agricultural technique for growing crops or pasture without disturbing the soil through tillage. No-till farming decreases the amount of soil erosion tillage causes as well as increase in the amount of water that infiltrates into the soil, soil retention of organic matter, and nutrient cycling.
A cover crop is grass, legume, forb or other herbaceous plant that are established for seasonal cover and conservational purposes. The practice may be used to reduce wind or water erosion by establishing cover after a minimal residue crop. Cover crops are planted to use up excess nutrients in the soil profile, for weed suppression, to provide nutrients to the next crop, to increase carbon sequestration and improve soil structure. They are excellent tools for helping to improve soil health.
Soil Health Challenge
The Winnebago County “Soil Health Challenge (SHC)” is a program designed to reward participants that are willing to work with the Land and Water Conservation Department (LWCD) to commit a portion of their cropland to no-till farming coupled with well managed cover crops in an effort to educate themselves and other producers on the many benefits of improved soil health.