Europe is largely considered a developing continent regarding conservation agriculture, according to Dr Derpsch. “The alleged reliance of conservation agriculture on the use of herbicides and pesticides to control disease is largely what’s holding its acceptance as a sustainable crop production concept,” he says.
The irony is that in the 1970s, the UK was leading the way in research into direct drilling and some of the initial development work started on UK farms.
However, the ban on cultural practices like stubble burning and the fact that other countries began to accept GM crops like glyphosate-resistant maize and soya somewhat hindered the take up on UK farms and other countries.
Currently, it’s estimated that 45% of UK arable land is under minimum tillage regimes, with only a small percentage of farmers using no-till or direct drilling as their sole method of establishment, according to figures from a RASE study.