There’s more tilling going on in Illinois farm fields. “The switch from no-till to the mulch-till is probably associated with those wet springs we had a couple of years ago,” says Alan Gulso, a land and water resources specialist at the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Mulch-till leaves at least 30 percent of the residue in the fields and is seen as an alternative to no-till to stop erosion.

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Gulso has completed a statewide soil conservation survey to determine no-till farming has declined from 33.2 percent to 24.2 percent since 2006. In the same period, mulch-till is up from 16.4 percent to 21.4 percent.

In a news release, Jim Larkin, acting director of the department, said, “Conservation tillage … prevents soil erosion and improves water quality. It is also good for farmers because it preserves fertile farmland and ensures our agricultural production is sustainable for generations to come.”

(Illinois Radio Network)