The Economic & Soil Health Implications of Transitioning to No-Till on an Organic Mixed Vegetable Farm

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2024: $29,751.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2026
Grant Recipient: West Haven Farm
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Carlos Aguilera
West Haven Farm


Not commodity specific


  • Crop Production: no-till
  • Natural Resources/Environment: soil stabilization
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture
  • Soil Management: organic matter, soil analysis, soil quality/health

    Proposal summary:

    We are proposing a research
    project comparing mixed vegetable production that uses
    conventional tillage versus one that does not use tillage
    (no-till) on our organic farm.  We would measure four
    indicators of system viability including: Soil health, crop
    productivity, moisture retention and total cost. We plan to
    repeat the study in year two for more accurate data analysis and
    also to compare no-till costs in year one and year two of
    production. The soil health benefits of reducing or eliminating
    tillage is well documented, but there is a lack of data on the
    economic implications of making the switch to no-till for a
    small-scale organic mixed vegetable operation. Through our
    research we will not only be able to provide small-farmers with a
    template of our methods in switching to no-till, but also what
    costs and benefits to expect from using no-till methods on a
    mixed vegetable farm.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The objective is to research the
    economic and soil health implications of transitioning from
    conventional tillage to no-till on a mixed vegetable
    operation.  Recognizing that previous research on no till
    has been conducted  primarily on large monoculture systems
    and does not reflect the constraints that small-scale organic
    mixed vegetable farms face. Our goal is for the results from this
    study to give farmers the information they need to see if
    transitioning to no-till is a viable option for their farm
    without incurring unnecessary cost and risk.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.