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Home > Science > No Kill Cropping - The Everlasting Grassland Granary - Presented by Bruce Maynard

No Kill Cropping - The Everlasting Grassland Granary - Presented by Bruce Maynard

Date post: 08-Apr-2017
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Advance Sowing

No Kill CroppingCropping for the 21st Century

Imagine.If you could grow crops without simplifying grasslandsIf you could grow crops and increase the fertility rather than degrade or replace it.If you could grow crops using very little energy..If you could grow crops without ecological risk..If you could grow crops that ease grazing pressures on sensitive areasIf you could grow crops to heal degraded sites..We used our imagination to make a reality.

No Kill in action:

Invention of No KillDeveloped by the Maynard Family in 1996

Invention of No Kill

Theory development drew partly from Permaculture Principles and Holistic Management .Recognises and addresses future trends- Climate Change, Peak Oil, Peak Phosphorous and terms of trade decline.

No Kill Cropping is:Sowing crops into grasslands.Farming without harming.Cropping without killing.

No Kill CroppingWhat Is It?No Kill provides the crop with the headstart over germinating weeds and that is sufficient to allow effective growth.

No Kill- Can it Work?We have to look to nature to see why it works.

No Kill CroppingWhat it is NOT!It is NOT just cropping!!- It is a set of integrated landscape production techniques.It is NOT Pasture Cropping. It is NOT just cropping into grasslands.It is NOT just cropping for animal forage.It is NOT just leaving out fertiliser and chemicals.If it uses tynes it is NOT No Kill Cropping.If it is in any way expensive it is NOT No Kill Cropping.

No Kill Cropping PrinciplesSowing is done dry.Coulter type implements (no tynes).No Fertiliser.No Herbicides or Pesticides.Good grazing practices.

No Kill in actionA great description of how it is practically applied on a large scale farming operation.

No Kill CroppingPrinciple 1.Dry SowingWet sowing will always mean that any crop is sown at a disadvantage and so tillage or chemical control will be used because the weeds have the head start.Wet sowing damages the soil by travelling over the soil at its weakest time.Wet sowing places the seed at risk if the wetting front is not followed by further moisture.

Trouble with wet sowing weeds have head start and something usually have be done about themPhoto 4.00am Monday morning 10.00am Thursday same week 3cm in 3 daysLess power requirememt driving over dry groundFalse starts last point immediate germination greater ability to follow moisture down as profile drys out13

No Kill CroppingPrinciple 2Coulter ImplementsCoulters can sow without the need to destroy vegetation (they cut through it).Coulters do not create niches for annual weeds (disturbance and light exposure).Coulters are more energy efficient (rolling not dragging).The Coulters should be straightrunning so that they dont moveearth around.

Never any problems with residueStraight coulters never disturb soil enough to establish weeds along seed row nor to they expose weed seeds to light 14

No Kill CroppingPrinciple 3No FertiliserFertiliser increases risk:-Financial-costs loaded up front, -Climatic - over nutrition in dry times.

Fertiliser tends to advantage introduced weeds (native plants are often adapted to lower nutrient levels).

Fertiliser decreases biodiversity (birds on farms surveys showing lower numbers of birds in fertilised areas).

No Kill CroppingPrinciple 4No Herbicides or PesticidesGrasslands need to function with all available elements long term.Using Herbicides or Pesticides simplifies the ecosystem and makes it less stable as they are not target pest specific.Chemicals load the cost basis of cropping thereby needing more yield to compensate for the expenditure.

Want every component there16

No Kill CroppingPrinciple 5Good Grazing ManagementThe grazing method can remain targeted at desirable perennials at all times.No need to graze down paddocks prior to sowing.Adding plants to the grassland spreads the grazing impact.


No Kill- what about the weeds?No Kill Crops can compete against heavy competition- here it is both thick annuals, trees and shading.

Sowing a No Kill CropNo Kill positively impacts the whole farm business.

No Kill Cropping ResultsLow cost (5% of conventional).High return on investment.Low risk.No erosion risk.Lose no grazing when cropping.Increasing biodiversity.Lower labour costs.

No Kill Cropping MethodsWinter Crops:Start earlier than normal then stop when rains come.Sow 9am-5pm -in other words when it suitsYOU.Sow into grasslands whether high or low.Sow with pick up truck instead of tractor.

No Kill Cropping MethodsSummer Crops:Similar to Winter sowing except higher evaporation rates means shorter sowing window.

No Kill- adding to diversityMillet sown into spiral Saltbush areas.

No Kill-extra plants cheaplyIn the end farming is dry matter production

No Kill changes Grazing possibilitiesBy adding high nutrient-low toxin plants into pastures then animals can make use of low nutrient- high toxin plants.

No Kill Cropping-WeedsJust because No Kill does not eliminate weeds that doesnt mean they arent managed.This is a paddock that was sown to No Kill Oats and then grazed out.Notice that the Pattersons Curse is only dominant in the unsown area.No Kill is weed control that turns a profit!

No Kill CroppingTo Do It ProperlyFollow the 5 principles.Expenditure should be minimised by clever reductions in machinery and energy costs.There should be a readiness to harvest the crop by either mechanical or animal means- whichever gives the greatest profit.

No Kill in droughtExtra feed that wouldnt be there otherwise.

No Kill in droughtExtra feed and extra potential.

No Kill-a drought comparisonAn alley farming example without crop and then the next one with a No Kill crop sown.

No Kill Cropping AdvantagesHigh biodiversity.Minimal inputs.No erosion, salinity, acidity risk.Crop into marginal moisture areas.Crop onto high slope areas.Extra Grazing value.Low Carbon usage.High Carbon storage.

Machinery OptionsSeed Drills and air seeders can be used.

No Kill CroppingMachineryMany types of coulter machines could be appropriate.The best option is to Keep It Simple!

No Kill Cropping MachineryCheap and easy conversions are profitable.

No Kill CroppingMachinerySome machines are less than ideal due to either disc units that are not robust enough or they have disc units that run at an angle to the direction of travel.

No Kill CroppingMachineryYou can use cheap to operate machines and tow them easily.Reductions in fuel use have been up to 80%.

No Kill CroppingMachinery- CoultersDifferent coulter disc setups can be used but an important principle is that the discs must be straight running.

No Kill CroppingMachinery- CoultersCoulter parallelograms main components:Parallelogram pressure operated by springDouble discSeed TubeDepth Wheel

No Kill CroppingCoulter SpacingsCoulters can be placed as close as possible- there is no minimum distance.Machine practicalities and costs will dictate spacings. Consider 12 inches as a good mix of practicality and cost.

No Kill CroppingMachinery-Coulters-RocksThey are very suitable for rocky country as long as the disc units are robust and well designed.

Why Change From The Conventional?Monocultures are energy intensive.Monocultures do not use water at all times (they leak).Most plants and animals are killed in fallows.Costs are expended up front.Conventional inputs are high.Restoration of former grasslands impossible with existing systems.

Comparison of No Kill to Existing Systems.Present methods are not producing positive social, environmental or economic results.No Kill Cropping is provably superior in the Triple Bottom Line.No Kill Cropping does not exploit the resource- it farms it forever.

No Kill CroppingOther ApplicationsNo Kill can be applied in ViticultureNo Kill RegenerationAnywhere that root disturbance to tree crops is detrimental.

Carbonless CroppingWe can move to Carbon positive farming strategies.

Get the No Kill Thrill!

The Maynard family hope you can enjoy our breakthrough- have fun!


No Kill RegenerationUse No Kill Regeneration as a soil restoration tool.

No Kill RegenerationThe process is- get plants in the ground and growing to initiate soil repair.Their roots start processes below ground.Their upper canopy supplies shade, food for insects and organic matter surface protection.The extra plant matter produced also provides a reason for livestock to come to the area and start further processes of soil formation.

No Kill RegenerationStart a restorative process over large areas progressing forward without risking soil or diversity resources.

Get The No Kill Thrill !!Try two small areas on your property.Start in an area that has perennials already.Also plant one area that has many weeds.Take photos!!Record your gross margin!

Comparing PC to NK

Pasture CroppingNo Kill CroppingMachineryDisc or tyned machine.Disc seeder.At-sowing preparationGrazing management. Herbicide to kill broadleaf weeds and annual grasses and to put perennial grasses into dormancy.Grazing management.Row spacings>12in-30cm for tynesNo restrictions for discNo restriction- closer the better.Time of Planting/sowingFollowing breakDry sowing, before large germinations of volunteer annuals.FertiliserAgro rec. for cropNilManaging in-crop weedsWeed control essential careful not to kill perennial plantsNilCostsMachinery, fuel & labourSeedHerbicide FertiliserMachinery, fuel & labourSeed

No Kill CroppingCalendar- Eastern AustraliaMonthOperationGrazingJanNormal all yearFebSowing Winter CropContinue until seasonalMarchbreak/s.AprilMaySummer crop Harvest?In crop graze if possibleKeep sowing if conditions dry.JuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberSowingSummer CropSow less as evaporation rate increases.NovemberDecemberWinter crop Harvest?

No Kill CroppingAdding Layers

Summer CropSummer CropWinter CropWinter Crop

Keep adding cream to the cake!


Future Directions for No Kill Cropping.Carbon neutral sowing- 2008 implementation of electric powered vehicle at BathurstVariation of McLeod Harvest System for crop handling.Regenerate degraded sites.Use of the system to for production on arid and sloping sites.

No Kill CroppingMachinery- CoultersIf they are at an angle to the direction on travel then soil movement and disturbance is created. This would then make a niche for weeds and destroy some of the grassland plants.These two examples are of discs that create some of that disturbance and are not ideal.

The picture on the left is a Rockhopper machine and the one on the right is a Shearer drill. The Shearer drill is not suitable for either PC or NK.56