Homo sapiens are hard-wired to be critical and suspicious of the unknown. We apply the maxim ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ where we can, and look for excuses to maintain the status quo. It applies to farming methods. The big gaps in no-till knowledge slow the progress of those who are direct drilling. They provide our conventional cousins the excuse to continue as they are.

It would be good to have the knowledge gaps filled and this is where this magazine is playing a huge part, and it can do this because it’s created and produced by enthusiasts who not only suck up knowledge but generate it as well. They join with similar minded farmers, and they allow all other farmers to join in. How good is that. 

Looking on are those who find change difficult; advisors who are out of their comfort zone; Big-Ag which thought it could hold back the tide and continue selling bigger kit, more complex chemistry, advanced genetics; politicians and government who forget the adage about empty vessels and continue to listen to the loudest and most established voices. Enthusiasts will always focus on the unknown and what needs to be researched, and we see this in notill events. Yet it’s easy to forget just how much we do know.

Keeping soil undisturbed and covered; using plant diversity to ‘mine’ nutrients; remembering that chemicals can damage beneficial biology as well as provide protection, and how this offers huge benefits for farmers and food production. This knowledge is, and needs to be seen as fundamental. Something taught in primary school. Direct drilling has come late on the farming scene in the UK – Frank Lessiter from Brookfield, Wisconsin started his magazine No-Till Farmer back in 1972. TCS – Techniques Culturales Simplifiées – has been going 20 years under the guidance of farmer Ferderic Thomas. Direct Driller is ending its first year. Notill puts people out of their comfort zone, threatens the status quo and the livelihoods that depend on it. It continues to need mavericks at every stage, and I would really like to hear from all out there!