Date of this Version
Tillage system descriptions and comparisons are included here. Moldboard plowing, followed by such secondary tillage operations as disking and harrowing, was once the most common, or traditional, tillage system before planting. Soil erosion potential from rainfall on sloping lands was great and requirements for labor and fuel were high compared to other tillage and planting systems. One of the most commonly used tillage systems in Nebraska today is two diskings followed by field cultivation. Unfortunately, the potential for soil erosion may be great because the number of tillage operations involved may not leave adequate residue cover for erosion control. Today conservation tillage systems reduce soil erosion and moisture losses while saving labor and fuel. "Conservation tillage" can represent a broad spectrum of farming methods, provided at least 30 percent of the soil surface remains covered with crop residue following planting. Research in Nebraska and other midwestern states has shown that leaving at least 30 percent residue cover reduces erosion from water by more than 50 percent, as compared to a cleanly tilled field.