The importance of not tilling our soils

Jan 16 2020
notill farming

The picture above show a very healthy ground cover in an Olive grove under consulting from Revalue It’s team.

The grove is in a semi-arid environment on the island of Cyprus, it was planted four years ago into a very degraded soil with almost no top soil, an average of 250 mm of rain and temperatures in the high 40″ C in the summer. (Atsas Farm)

After four years of careful and appropriate soil management, the grove is almost ready to integrate grazing animals that will further speed up biological cycles and build healthy soil.

The key to achieve these results was to abandon tilling.

Tilling is the action of mechanically turning the soil once or more per year (plowing).

A common myth persist among olive growers that tilling helps with managing the olive fly (most common pest of the olive) by killing the fly when it is in the pupa stage in the soil. (pupa is the stage between larva and fly). Tilling does not bother the fly and is detrimental to the health of the soil and therefore the health of the olive trees.

By not tilling the soil we allow a very diverse range of micro-organisms to thrive in the soil.

These micro-organisms will have beneficial relationships with the trees and the plants forming the ground cover.

For example the mushrooms on this picture are just the tip of a vast underground mycellium network that will stabilise the soil structure, increase the water retention and infiltration in the soil. Having a wide variety of life below ground allows for large quantities of Carbon to be taken from the atmosphere and to be stored where it belongs, in the soils.

Regenerative Agriculture as practiced here is our best shot at cooling the planet.

In fact this Olive Oil operation is Carbon Negative, it takes more Carbon out of our atmosphere than it uses for its entire operation, shipping and distribution included. 

 At Revalue It we first teach farmers how to grow healthy soils, the trees will grow themselves!

Then we are making sure that the services they are providing to humanity are rewarded.

Tackling Climate Change, one farm at the time!