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Review article2012Peer reviewedOpen access

No-till in northern, western and south-western Europe: A review of problems and opportunities for crop production and the environment

Soane, B.D.; Ball, B.C.; Arvidsson, Johan; Basch, G.; Moreno, F.; Roger-Estrade, J.


Reduced erosion and runoff after adoption of no-till are widely observed and are of particular importance in southwestern Europe. No-till reduces losses of phosphorus in runoff and, in some cases, reduces the loss of nitrate through leaching. Emissions of greenhouse gases CO2 and N2O from no-till soils are highly variable and depend on complex interactions of soil properties. Emission of CO2 from fuel during machinery usage is always appreciably reduced with no-till. Increased soil organic carbon in surface layers of no-till soils is widely found but may not be associated with increased carbon sequestration throughout the profile. The evaluation of the relative carbon balance for no-till and ploughing depends upon complex inter-relationships between soil and climate factors which are as yet poorly understood. Adoption of no-till could be encouraged by government financial assistance in recognition of environmental benefits, although future restrictions on the use of herbicides may be a deterrent. Opportunities for further research on no-till are outlined. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


No-till; Direct drilling; Zero tillage; Ploughing; Northern Europe; Western/South-western Europe

Published in

Soil and Tillage Research
2012, Volume: 118, pages: 66-87

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Science

    Publication identifier


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