Conservation Tillage and Plant Biotechnology: How New Technologies Can Improve the Environment By Reducing the Need to Plow

Introduces and outlines environmental benefits of conservation tillage, while highlighting trends that like biotechnology with conservation tillage.

Exploring Biotechnology

Agricultural biotechnology delivers more than just streamlined pest management options or the promise of healthier, higher quality crops. Biotech-derived crops allow growers to adopt sustainable farming practices ranging from conservation tillage to integrated pest management. Those practices protect soil, water and air quality and allow producers to sustain our natural resources as well as our lives and lifestyles.

The Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC), with funding from the United Soybean Board, has produced Facilitating Conservation Farming Practices and Enhancing Environmental Sustainability with Agricultural Biotechnology, a thorough exploration of the environmental benefits of biotech crops.
For a copy of the executive summary, click here.

For a copy of the full report and references list, click here.

A Race Against Time

To meet the projected soybean demand of 2030, growers would have to add 168 million acres of soybeans to existing production if global yields remained the same as today, or double those yields to 59.5 bushels per acre to harvest enough soybeans on today’s acreage.

Biotech crops show promise to double or triple the current rate of yield increase in corn, and match or exceed the average 0.5-bushel-per-acre annual increase in soybean yields.

New Opportunities

Markets for water quality and carbon trading credits could allow growers to earn money for the environmental services they provide.

Protecting the Environment

By facilitating the switch to conservation tillage, biotech crops have helped dramatically reduce soil erosion and water pollution, increase carbon sequestration, and lower the use of crop protection chemicals by millions of pounds per year.

Switching to Conservation Tillage

Biotech crops have reduced the risks and challenges of switching to conservation tillage or no-till practices.  Since glyphosate-tolerant crops were introduced in 1996, acreage of no-till full-season soybeans in the U.S. has increased by nearly 70%. 
Click here to see the data.