Soil tillage is one of the fundamental agro technical operations in agriculture because of its influence on soil properties, environment and crop growth. Since continuous soil tillage strongly influence the soil properties, it is important to apply appropriate tillage practices that avoid the degradation of soil structure, maintain crop yield as well as ecosystem stability. The efficiency of input use viz. water, fertilizers, herbicides and others depend on tillage and crop establishment practices. It is therefore, essential that the soil environment be manipulated suitably for ensuring a good crop stand and improve resource-use efficiency. Sustaining production and productivity of any system is of paramount importance by improving the soil’s physical, chemical and biological properties. Conventional tillage operations will alter these properties in every cropping cycle thereby affecting the soil system. Conservation agriculture (CA), practising agriculture in such a way so as to cause minimum damage to the environment is being advocated at a large scale world-wide. Conservation tillage, the most important aspect of CA, is thought to take care of the soil health, plant growth and the environment. This paper aims to review the work done on conservation tillage in different agro-ecological regions so as to understand its impact from the perspectives of the soil, the crop and the environment. Research reports have identified several benefits of conservation tillage over conventional tillage (CT) with respect to soil physical, chemical and biological properties as well as crop yields.The largest contribution of CA to reducing emissions from farming activities is made by the reduction of tillage operations. Altering crop rotation can influence soil C stocks by changing quantity and quality of organic matter input. Therefore, conservation tillage involving ZT and minimum tillage which has potential to break the surface compact zone in soil with reduced soil disturbance offers to lead to a better soil environment and crop yield with minimal impact on the environment.
Carbon sequestration, Soil health, Tillage Residue management, CO2 emission.
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