Tillage can be a valuable management tool on a vegetable farm but intensive and repeated tillage is hard on soils. We support small to mid-scale vegetable farmers, many using organic practices, in adopting reduced tillage practices on their farm. These practices can take many different forms. Our goal is to integrate reduced tillage with other soil building practices, to foster the growth and viability of vegetable farming in New York and the Northeast.
We work across different tools and practices, fit to the the scale and resources of the farm, and are learning from many innovative farmers leading the way. We conduct applied research to trial new and emerging practices to understand the science behind them while sharing practical lessons learned to support farmers in fitting them into their own operations. We partner with farmers in experimenting on their farm and offer workshops and other training opportunities for farmers to share their methods and ideas with one another. Explore this website to learn more about our research, events, and resources.
News and Updates
Research shows how the legacy of tarping and mulching can lead to fewer weeds in no–till vegetables. By Stephen Stresow and Ryan Maher The Woes of Weeding One of the…Read More
Hear the latest Cornell Small Farms Program research on reduced and no-till practices for vegetables at Soil Health and Climate Resiliency Field Days this July. We’ll be sharing our research…Read More
CSA Farm experiments to minimize inputs, mechanization and soil disturbance in their market-scale potato growing operation. By Bob Tuori, Ryan Maher, and Michael Salzl A major concern on our highly…Read More
About Reduced Tillage in Vegetables
Reduced tillage practices minimize soil disturbance with targeted and appropriate tillage based on farm goals. Reduced tillage means less intensity, shallower depth, and less area disturbed, either in the bed, field or across the farm. It can mean less frequent tillage and lead to successful adoption of no-till practices.
Practices take many forms. They may be system-wide, applied across the whole farm, or only fit in a part of the rotation for specific crops. They often maintain the benefits of some tillage for managing weeds, making a better seed bed for crop establishment, or incorporating residues. How they take shape on a farm can depend on farm size and soil characteristics, access to equipment or materials, farm skill sets, and labor availability.
We collaborate with other researchers at Cornell, extension educators within Cornell Cooperative Extension, and other organizations and universities across the Northeast.
About Anu Rangarajan
Anu was appointed director the Cornell Small Farms Program in 2004. At the same time, she opened a U-pick strawberry farm in Freeville, NY. The experience of operating a small farm changed her entire approach to research and extension, and deepened her commitment to NY farms and local food systems.
Read Articles by Anu Rangarajan