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Excerpts from the report Introduction: In this bulletin are answers to various questions you may have about whether you want to join the thousands of farmers who have switched to conservation tillage. Others say they will change when they feel confident enough to borrow money for investment in conservation tillage equipment. Some conservation tillage advocates say that before you get further into debt, you might be able to test new systems before buying equipment. Conservation tillage systems reduce erosion and moisture loss by leaving crop residue on the surface until new crops are planted. Such systems mark a striking evolution in farming practices when compared with traditional, conventional tillage. The latter refers to previously favored tillage systems using implements that buried or otherwise mixed surface residue into the soil. A lot of residue is involved. The major field crops harvested in this country (from about 341 million acres) produce about 400 million tons of crop residue each year. Any of that residue left on the surface shields soil from the beating of raindrops. Residue holds soil and water and reduces sediment and chemical runoff.


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