Wed, 08 Feb 2023

When farmland thrives, the people who own and care for it thrive too. Every person alive depends on agriculture for food, but agriculture accounts for 12 percent of annual greenhouse gas emissions. There is an increasing need for per capita productivity to both meet the present needs of the farm without jeopardizing its future potential. Agricultural productivity is a great concern for those both looking to rent and buy land. Tillable, the digital farm land management platform has created a simple system to measure soil health, and create successful, sustainable solutions to your land needs.

Tillable is unique because it is the only platform that is built around the land. Tillable values the land, both as a financial asset and as a community asset. That is why the platform has built a digital system that makes it easy to track and document how a farm is taken care of sustainably. Regardless of what your individual or organizational goals for sustainability are, attaining those goals starts with the same step: measurement. As one Tillable customer noted, 'Tillable cared about the story of our land and simplified things for us.'

Tillable's platform provides the full tool set to both farmers and landowners to report and collect data around activities performed on the farm, as well as the evidence that an activity is complete. The platform's tools make farmers part of the solution by making it easy for them to report everything they do to take care of your farm and improve sustainable outcomes.

How Tillable Measures Success & Soil Health

'Our promise to landowners who rent their land through Tillable is simple: from start to finish, we'll make sure your land is in as good or better condition than the way we found it.'

Tillable makes it easy to track and measure:

TILLAGE

How the soil is prepped for planting is just as important as what is planted. A basic and important input with both short and long-term effects on sustainability include the soil tillage, and soil surface management to remove any soil-related constraints to crop production. Soil tillage influences agricultural sustainability through its effects on soil processes, soil properties, and crop growth. Measuring the impact on the environment regards looking at soil degradation, water quality, and emission of greenhouse gasses from soil related process to name a few. Soils of low carrying capacities have an urgent need to attain agricultural sustainability; however, there is not a universal blueprint as tillage systems are soil and crop specific. For example, while South Dakota farmers have traditionally focused on keeping moisture in the soil, those in the southeastern part of the state can be challenged with too much moisture. Biophysical and socio-economic factors contribute to the tillage methods, as they must also facilitate soil and water conservation, improve root system development, maintain a favorable level of soil organic matter content, and reverse degradation in the soil's life-support processes. Important components or sub-systems of conservation-effective tillage systems include mulch farming, no-till or reduced tillage systems, use of cover crops and planted fallows, agroforestry, raised beds or ridge-tillage, and soil inversion or deep plowing.

PLANTING EVENTS

From cover crops to rotation crop tracking, Tillable keeps a history of what has been planted and when. Cover crops can be broadly defined as any non-cash crop grown in addition to the primary cash crop. These crops have the potential to increase soil organic matter and fertility, reduce erosion, improve soil structure, promote water infiltration, and limit pest and disease outbreaks. There are numerous benefits to cover cropping, though, as with any management technique, there are tradeoffs and limitations that must be considered. In many situations cover cropping can lead to a decreased reliance on fossil fuels and improved agricultural productivity. Crop rotation is the practice of planting different crops sequentially on the same plot of land to improve soil health, optimize nutrients in the soil, and combat pest and weed pressure.

CHEMICAL APPLICATIONS

Tillable can help measure herbicide, fungicide, and pesticide applications. Herbicides are an agent, usually chemical, for killing or inhibiting the growth of unwanted plants, such as residential or agricultural weeds and invasive species. A great advantage of chemical herbicides over mechanical weed control is the ease of application, which often saves on the cost of labor. Most herbicides are considered non toxic to animals and humans, but they can cause substantial mortality of non-target plants and the insects that depend on them, especially when applied aerially. Sustainable farmers and other professional pesticide users practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM). This is an environmentally friendly system of pest control which focuses on pest prevention and prioritizes alternative pest control methods, with chemical pesticides only used as a last resort. Pesticides are perhaps one of the most misunderstood technologies used in modern agriculture.

FERTILIZER APPLICATIONS

Tillable makes it easy to track and record nutrient and fertilizer applications. Mineral fertilizers, combined with organic fertilizers (along with other inputs and best management practices), currently keep about half of the global population alive. Without them, soils become devoid of nutrients, leading to low and declining yields and soil degradation, including loss of soil carbon. However, if fertilizer is overused (especially nitrogen fertilizer) this can lead to water pollution, acidification, and can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Agricultural soils hold the potential to be very productive and to serve as huge sinks for carbon capture, or 'sequestration.' But this can only be accomplished by the application of appropriate fertilizers and best management practices including minimum tillage, residue management, and nutrient recycling.

ONGOING MAINTENANCE

Keep a documented history of maintenance to buffer zones & filter strips, riparian zones, etc. According to the USDA organic regulations, a buffer zone is 'an area located between a certified production operation or portion of a production operation and an adjacent land area that is not maintained under organic management. A buffer zone must be sufficient in size or other features (e.g., windbreaks or a diversion ditch) to prevent contact by prohibited substances applied to adjacent land areas.' Simply put, a buffer zone is needed to protect organic crops from contaminants that may be used on adjacent properties. Check with a certifying agent for specific guidance on how wide the buffer zones should be. Many certifying agents use 50 feet as a common starting buffer width between organically managed crops and potential sources of contamination. The riparian zone is one of many different biomes, which represent different communities of flora and fauna. The riparian zone is identified as the area immediately adjacent to running, fresh water. This may be anything from a small trickling creek to a raging river.

HARVEST EVENTS

Tillable allows landowners to easily access yield data and yearly yield history for their farms. Understanding the data of your land will help landowners make more informed decisions and improve growing efficiency. Yield monitoring is increasingly considered a conventional practice in modern agriculture. The pioneers of Tillable already have several years of yield history and have examined different ways of interpreting and processing these data.

With Tillable's tools, individuals can rest assured that their farm is well-taken care of and large institutions can achieve their ESG goals without adding headcount or increasing administrative overhead. Call Tillable and learn more about how the Tillable platform can help you execute and measure progress towards your goals. If you need help understanding what to implement and what to measure, Tillable is happy to help you set goals as well. For more information, please contact the company at support@tillable.com.

Sign up for Sacramento News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!