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By C. Milton Coughenour

A learn of the sociology of conservation tillage within the usa and Australia, answering questions about the extraordinary developments, together with what led as much as the alterations. Discusses simply the sociological elements of those agricultural tendencies, leaving different vital points to different experiences. DLC: Conservation tillage.

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Additional info for Conservation Tillage and Cropping Innovation: Constructing the New Culture of Agriculture

Sample text

Prior to the nineteenth century, in areas where a grain-livestock, subsistence farming system prevailed, the primary aim of “plowing” was to provide a seedbed for corn every other year (Schlebecker 1975). Stirring the friable, forest soils with a bar-share or shovel plow accomplished this task with relative ease. Normally, wheat or barley would be broadcast either in the standing corn crop, or next spring in the corn stubble. This rotation supplied the food necessary for both the farm family and its livestock.

Tillage strategy (that is, the type of plant bed or landscape one aims to prepare) also depends on environmental conditions. This is hardly surprising because technical strategy is only useful insofar as it succeeds in modifying the particular environment to serve human ends. In this case, the high plains environment forced a substantial revision in plow culture. In the semiarid environment, the goal and strategy of husbanding moisture for cropping were as important as the preparation of the plant bed itself.

The process is iterative rather than linear. That is, while attending to the new technical frame, the farmer builds trust-based relationships with new “sources” of information, and this leads to further elaboration of the technical frame and a different tillage system, which provides incentives to stronger relationships with the new sources, and so on. As Bijker (1987) emphasizes, the new “technical frame” is elaborated until it incorporates the necessary supporting individuals and groups. Farmers’ conservation tillage (technical) frames, for example, were progressively broadened to include chemical and different machinery company representatives, government soil conservation agents, experts on residue management, soils, crops, and economics, as well as other farmers with varied cropping systems and farm landscapes.

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