No-tillage Grows in California

No-tillage Grows in California

September 2, 2015

The list of crops that have been successfully grown using no-tillage in California continues to increase with garbanzo beans being the latest addition, according to Jeffrey P. Mitchell, CE cropping systems specialist, University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Harvest data from the Conservation Tillage Workgroup are now in for a 2015 garbanzo crop that was no-till seeded in January in the longstanding conservation agriculture systems study field in Five Points, CA, and these data indicate no difference in yield between the no-till with and without cover crop treatments and the standard till with and without cover crop systems. Garbanzo yields for the four systems averaged about 3,600 lbs / acre with no statistical differences seen between the four experimental treatments.

Other than an herbicide spraying in the fall of 2014 to knock down weeds, the no-tillage systems relied on zero tillage prior to seeding that was done with a John Deere 1730 6-row 30” planter. Conventional tillage consisting of several passes of a Wilcox Performer bed-shaping tillage implement was done to prepare planting beds in the standard tillage plots as would be commonly done in the region.

There is now a growing list of several crops, including processing tomatoes, cotton and dairy forage that have been successfully produced, both in research studies and on California farms, with economically viable yields using no-tillage seeding.

Additional information about this study is available at the Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation Center (CASI) website and by contacting Jeff Mitchell at

Established in 1998, the Conservation Cropping Systems Workgroup is a diverse group of more than 1,500 farmer, University of California, California State University, USDA - NRCS, Resource Conservation District, public agency, private sector and environmental group members that have come together to promote conservation cropping systems in California.

Featured Photo Soure: Source: CASI (Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation) Center, University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources