Biological Systems Engineering


Date of this Version

Fall 1991


Journal of Agronomic Education Vol. 20, No. 2 (Fall 1991)


An educational program was conducted to enhance the adoption of conservation tillage practices in targeted areas to reduce soil erosion and on-farm fuel use. Traditional extension methods such as meetings, field days, demonstrations, and plots were used extensively. In addition, the following nontraditional educational methods were used to achieve project objectives: targeting high priority areas, local program guidance committees, surveys to evaluate perceptions and use of conservation tillage, employment of extension assistants to work in the target areas, use of a rainfall simulator to demonstrate the effectiveness of residue cover in reducing erosion, and small group or "coffee shop" meetings to answer specific questions. With this concentrated educational effort, project goals of a 20% increase in conservation tillage and a 10% increase in no-till planting were exceeded during the 5-yr project in the 219 000 ha target areas. Using residue cover as a criterion to define conservation tillage, there was a 21.4% increase in the use of conservation tillage from 1984 to 1988. In the same time period, no-till use increased threefold. There was a projected annual savings of 1.47 ML of fuel and 59 400 h of labor. The estimated average annual soil loss reduction in the target areas was 2.27 Mt or approximately 10.3 t ha-1.