No Kill Cropping is a method that sows crops into existing plant and litter cover without eliminating any other plants. It works on the complementary effects of diverse pastures rather than competition factors. It is a very low cost, flexible approach to crop growing that gives growers flexibility throughout the growing season.
No Kill is one of the only two cropping systems in the world (the other is Pasture Cropping) that work within grasslands rather than replacing grasslands to grow crops.
How does it work?
No Kill sows directly into the pasture or grassland with zero disturbance, no fallow period and using livestock as nutrient recyclers.
There are 5 Principles:
- Sowing is done dry
- Coulter type implements are used (no tynes)
- No Herbicide or Pesticides
- No Fertiliser
- Good grazing management
Sowing is done dry to give the crop the advantage over germinating annual weeds. It also keeps compaction effects to a minimum by travelling over the ground at its highest strength and that leads to dramatically lower fuel usage.
Coulter type implements are used in order to cut through the existing plants and residue while disturbing as little as possible. The two main consequences of this are very low draft in dry soil and the ability to retain large amounts of residues on top of the soil.
No Herbicides or Pesticides are used so that no organisms are taken out of the system- either plant or animal. This leads to the maximum amount of biological activity throughout the year which then feeds the organisms that create topsoil.
No Fertiliser is used for economic and ecological reasons. By not expending costs up front with fertiliser application risk is low and return on capital high while ecologically no simplification of the grassland occurs.
Good grazing management is critical to the long term with this method as it allows for the conditions that promote desirable plants while inhibiting the germination and growth of weeds.
In the video link below, the inventor of No Kill Cropping, Bruce Maynard from Willydah, Central West NSW, Australia, tells us how you can crop into grasslands without causing any damage.