South American farmers used to till the earth to plant seeds and eliminate weeds. However, tillage brought problems such as soil erosion and compaction, which made many local farmers adopt a seven year cycle crop rotation, in which no crops were harvested for four long years.
No-till farming is a system of planting, growing and harvesting crops without having to turn over the earth. Though initially complex, no-till farming offered obvious advantages.
The main contribution of this technique is the possibility of developing secondary wheat-soybean double crop, which implies having to sow the oil seeds immediately after harvesting the cereal. Besides, it has less impact on the environment since it helps to decrease the effects of water and wind erosion which degrade the land.
At the very first stages of Grupo Los Grobo development, no-till farming was just an idea in them minds of a group of technicians that planned to replace the production paradigm based on soil and fallow mechanical tillage.
In the late 1980’s we started to experiment with no-till farming using a seed drill. We started off with second-cropping soybean, followed with wheat over soybean and ended with corn, the most difficult grain with which to implement no-till farming; still for the 1991/92 campaign, 100% of the area we sowed was under no-till farming.
In a region where the main problems for producers were the loss of soils under water and wind erosion, Grupo Los Grobo achievement was to increase production in a sustainable way without tilling, which was revolutionary for the times.
These advances made no-till farming more practical, productive, and profitable and led to the “third pampa revolution”, during which Argentina’s agricultural production tripled in 10 years. These advances made no-till farming more practical, productive, and profitable and led to the “third pampa revolution” during which Argentina’s agricultural production tripled in 10 years.
It is estimated that nowadays over 70% of current agriculture in Argentina is performed under the no-till farming system.
Together with no-tilling, we use the concept of soil management to boost productivity in the fields, thus preserving the even the weakest ecosystems. Through a technique called Agroecoindex we manage to adapt production schemes to the soil and land profile, to maximize productivity minimizing erosion at the same time. Agroecoindex is part of the Corporate Social Responsibility program of adp in Uruguay.