Modeling Predicts No-Till Practices Could Extend Soil Fertility by Thousands of Years

Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst are continuing their investigations into the rate of topsoil loss in the Midwest. Their latest study involved modeling the rate of future soil loss based on historical rates of erosion. Their initial finding was that, if current U.S. agricultural practices remain largely unchanged, approximately 8.8 billion metric tons of soil and 170 million metric tons of soil organic carbon will be lost over the next century alone. However, if 100% no-till practices were implemented, 95% of this erosion would be prevented. Researchers point out that rate of soil loss not only has implications for cropland fertility, but for climate mitigation, as soil represents the largest pool of terrestrial carbon.