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Planting

Notill has been around for quite a while, it's not new its the way nature plants, seeds are dropped  on the ground and they grow. Not all of them as they are exposed to being eaten or too dry but enough survive to keep the species going. We need slighly better odds than that to feed 6 billion people so we aim to place the seed where it has the best chance of surviving. For cereals that is about 1 1/2 inches deep (in old money) into soil and covered to keep it away from anything looking for a meal.

My drill has sharp discs to cut any vegetation and also a slot into the ground, seeds are blown in and a following wheel closes the slot and firms the soil around the seed. The old vegetation is left where it should be on the surface as food for all the citizens of the soil from bacteria and fungi to worms mice and beetles. Amazingly it dissapears as the nutrients are recycled and organic matter is taken into the soil. This sequesters a lot of carbon from the atmosphere as well.

 

 Below is a picture of a no tilled crop of wheat growing through a cover crop. The complete planting operation used 6 litres of diesel an hectare so that is 30 litres for the complete 5 hectare field. Red diesel costs about 60p/l so planting cost fuel wise is £18 for the whole field.

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