Rice residues in southeast Punjab, India, prior to the wheat season (photo on Flickr by Neil Palmer).
Why are most poor farmers in developing countries not adopting ‘no-till agriculture’ (also called ‘conservation agriculture’)—an eco-friendly, natural-resource-conserving technology that helps conserve soil fertility by eliminating ploughing and keeping the remains of crops on the ground after harvest? The simple and straightforward answer stares one in the face on small farms worldwide, that would be the face of a cow, goat, sheep or other hungry farm animal that consumes the stubble as an essential part of its seasonal feed resources.
Nicholas Magnan, in the OUPblog, has an interesting review of the value of ‘stubble’—also know as ‘crop by-products’, aka crop wastes’, aka ‘crop residues’, aka ‘stover’. As scientists such as Michael Blümmel and Diego Valbuena at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and other organizations working in and for developing-country agriculture have been arguing for…
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