Chair: Liz Bowles (Soil Association) Speakers: Ian Wilkinson (Cotswold Seeds), Andrew Woof (Weston Farm), Andrew Howard, (Nuffield Scholar)
More and more farmers are turning to minimum tillage, encouraged by the impressive benefits that are reported for soil life, organic matter, water storage and their bottom line. This is driving a new surge of interest in green manures and cover crops. But most min-till systems rely on glyphosate, the world’s most widely used herbicide, to kill the cover before the cash crop goes in. This isn’t an option for organic farmers, and others who avoid herbicides, who generally incorporate cover crops by ploughing. With some EU countries banning glyphosate on health grounds, and supermarkets taking note, it may not be an option for anyone before long. So what are the alternatives? Are there tried and tested ways to do min-till without glyphosate, and what new approaches are organic farmers testing?