No-till farming, considered a more environmentally friendly agricultural practice that reduces soil disturbance compared to conventional practices, appears to have a key advantage in further reducing soil erosion and nutrient runoff.
A new study from North Carolina State College, capturing data at the county level of 12 states in the US Midwest, shows that no-till farming increases the value of farmland, with an increase of 1% no-till farming resulting in an increase of $7.75 per acre. in property values across the Midwest. In Iowa, data shows an increase of $14,75 per acre in land value with a 1% increase in no-till agriculture.
Rod Rejesus, professor of agricultural and resource economics at NC Point out and corresponding author of an article describing the work, said the study appears to be the first in the academic literature to quantify the monetary land value benefits of no-till agriculture.
“This study suggests that the advantages of agricultural land translate into advantages in land value, which is not generally considered in debates about the advantages and disadvantages of no-tillage, and, ultimately on the issue of whether or not conventional farmers should convert to no-till practices,” Rejesus said.
No-till farming practices leave residues of lifestyle on the te agricultural rres after harvest. Farmers plant seeds the following season using the leftover residue. No-till farming generally reduces labor and fuel costs for farmers compared to traditional practices, although the academic literature also shows disparities in terms of the effects of direct sowing on crop yields and soil productivity. Approximately 37% of U.S. farm acreage uses no-till agriculture, with high adoption rates in the Northeast, United States of the mid-Atlantic and the Midwest.
The study examined two large data sets to answer the dilemma of whether the farmland value benefits of no-till agriculture could be quantified. A set captured responses to Agricultural Census Farmland Surveys in 12 Midwestern states that asked farmers about the current market value of their lands these were reported at five-year intervals from 2007 to 2017.
The second data set focused only on farmland in Iowa and asked experts in that state – farmers, real estate professionals and others – about the average value of farmland . The dataset was collected annually from 2007 to 2007.
The researchers then separately combined these land value datasets with satellite data on no-till adoption at the county level in the states surveyed.
“This is a ticks in the benefits scenario for no-till agriculture,” said Rejesus. “Getting the word out about these farmland value benefits could help attract more farmers to the practice and encourage landowners to encourage the practice among their tenants.”
Rejesus hopes to expand on these findings using the same kind of approach in other get-togethers around the country and see if the results match those found in the Midwest.