Is it more desirable to have your soil at a pH of zero or a pH of 14?
Is it more desirable to have water at 100% field capacity or at 0% field capacity?
Is it more desirable to till soils or no-till?
Each of these is a false dichotomy. Options exist on the spectrum, not only at the opposing polarities.
The dogmatic debate about tillage versus no-till needs to die. It serves no one and traps us in a false duality of thinking.
We need to change the conversation. Instead of ’tillage’, we might consider ‘soil particle management’.
The objectives of optimal soil management might be to improve:
- surface protection
- aggregate stability
- water infiltration
- water percolation
- gas exchange
- microbial community function and balance
- redox poising/buffering
- (what else would you add to this list?)
Any tool or cultural management practice that improves these objectives of soil health should be adopted. Those which do not, should not.
Which tools and management practices achieve the objectives?