In situations where a tillage operation is necessary, moisture retention and minimal soil disturbance are very important in maintaining soil health. By limiting the tillage operation to the upper 2-3 cm of soil, ultra-shallow tillage performs effective residue management in the upper layer while preserving the moisture profile below for the following crop. The minimal soil disturbance aids in the buildup and maintenance of beneficial soil organic matter.
Ultra-shallow tillage improves the field hygiene – leaving a clean field after the combined crop. Seeds are triggered by light, meaning that most crops generally germinates very shallow. Burying such seeds too deep often results in deactivating the seeds into a seed dormancy. This can last for years. Canola seeds for example can germinate after being buried 20 years in the soil. By then, they will act as polluting plants in new established crop, lowering the yield potential. Many weeds, especially those that are herbicide resistant, also causes problems if left in dormancy, reducing yields for many years.
Ultra-shallow tillage will enable an improved work result at a decreased cost. Less moved soil means less diesel used. Working according to the plant biology will make it possible to lower the chemical cost as well as improve the field hygiene. Additionally the improved mulching of the crop residues will increase the speed of decomposition and mineralization.