Advantages and Disadvantages of Agriculture

Advantages & Disadvanatges of Modern Crop Farming

Advantages & Disadvanatges of Modern Crop Farming thumbnailAdvantages and Disadvantages of Agriculture

Modern crop farming procedures use no-tillage, or no-till, production for a number of reasons. No-till requires less equipment, less time and lower costs. Government crop subsidies may require no-till procedures. Strict rules apply to farms receiving payments from Credit Commodity Corporation a federally owned and operated corporation within the USDA. While no-tillage farm ground can experience significant nutrient loss on the surface, the environmental advantages of modern crop farming seem to significantly out-weigh the disadvantages.


  • No-till farming means you are not tilling up the soil. Previous farm practices used to plow up the soil and turn it over in the field. Plowing usually turned up quite a few rocks that had to be picked up so they do not damage the planter. Farmers either used a piece of equipment called a rock picker to do this or they walked the field and picked up rocks by hand. After plowing and picking rocks, the farmer pulled a disc behind the tractor to smooth the soil back down. If any significant lumps remained, the farmer also had to pull around a drag. All of these trips around the field are required before the farmer could use the planter to put the new crop seed into the ground. A no-till drill may not require any preparation, depending on the previous year’s crop. The farmer only makes one trip around the field and that is to plant. This significantly reduces the time in the tractor farming.


  • Using no-till practices, a farmer does not need to own a plow, disc or drag. This reduces equipment purchase and storage cost. Since the farmer is only making one trip around the field in the tractor instead of four, fuel cost is significantly lower. If the farm uses hired help during planting, then payroll cost can also be much lower by using no-till planting. No-till practices require additional soil testing but the cost is minimal. Small amounts of soil collected from 4-inch and 8-inch depths are mailed to area extension services for fertilizer application suggestions.

  1. Erosion

    • Previous crop farming methods that involved plowing up soil resulted in significant loss of quality topsoil. Loose soil is more susceptible to erosion by wind and rain. Rain water leaches with soil containing nutrients and chemicals and the runoff contributes contamination to local water resources.

    Plant Growth

    • Turning soil over by plowing warms the soil allowing seed to germinate faster. Faster germination means extra days for the crop to mature resulting in a better harvest. This is a disadvantage of no-till farming. The cold ground decreases root uptake that slows nutrient travel to plant shoots and to root surfaces. Hard no-till ground reduces the root system’s ability to take up nutrients by restricting root depth or surface area. However, no-till conserves soil moisture providing more water for growing plants.