Letters; November 2008; Scientific American Magazine; by Staff Editor; 2 Page(s)
In ¿No-Till: The Quiet Revolution,¿ David R. Huggins and John P. Reganold argue for no-till farming as a more sustainable alternative to plow-based agriculture and describe how herbicide use has enabled growers to effectively practice no-till on a commercial scale. I cannot believe that anyone other than the herbicide manufacturers is seriously proposing that flooding the earth with lethal chemicals is any solution to the problems of agriculture. Their effect on humans and other animals is known, and their effect on soil and groundwater is potentially disastrous (even if the Environmental Protection Agency gives out assurances about the latter). Producing enough food to feed the world¿s population without harming the earth is a hard question; this is certainly not the answer.
Louise Tremblay Cole
THE AUTHORS rereply: As we have stated, reliance on herbicides is a weakness of no-till as it is currently practiced. We contend, however, that no-till is a positive step in the evolution toward more sustainable farming. In addition, we support and are actively engaged in research efforts that integrate no-till into strategies that limit or even eliminate synthetic pesticide use, as in organic production.