Area under No-tillage in different countries

One has to be aware that only a few countries in the world conduct surveys on the extent of no-tillage adoption and that in most cases the data is based on estimates made by farmer organizations, agro industry and other qualified informants. Table 1 shows the estimated area under no-tillage worldwide.

Country Area under No-tillage ha
(FAO, 2011)
Countries with > 100.000 ha
USA 26.500.000
Argentina 25.553.000
Brazil 25.502.000
Australia 17.000.000
Canada 13.481.000
Russia 4.500.000
China 3.100.000
Paraguay 2.400.000
Kazakhstan 1.600.000
Bolivia 706.000
Uruguay 655.100
Spain 650.000
Ukraine 600.000
South Africa 368.000
Venezuela 300.000
France 200.000
Zambia 200.000
Chile 180.000
New Zealand 162.000
Finland 160.000
Mozambique 152.000
United Kingdom 150.000
Zimbabwe 139.300
Colombia 127.000
Others 409.440
Total 124.794.840

Source: Friedrich, T., Derpsch, R., Kassam, A., 2012

Readers of this paper, who think that their countries should be mentioned in this list, or that some numbers should be corrected, are invited to contact the authors giving credit of the sources of the information. Internationally accepted definitions of no-tillage should be used.

According to previous sources there would be 650,000 ha of no-tillage in Mexico. But this estimate was based on the number of no-till machines sold which was multiplied by average farm size. Newer data by CIMMYT showed that this system greatly overestimated the area under this practice.

While more than two thirds of the area under no-tillage in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay and Australia is permanently not being tilled, this is only the case in about 10 - 12% of the area in the USA (CTIC, 2005).

Despite the fact that the United States has the biggest area under no- tillage, it is interesting to note that in this country no-tillage accounts for only 25.5% of all cropland hectares. In Brazil no-tillage accounts for about 70%, in Paraguay for 75% and in Argentina 78.5% of all cropland hectares.

It is estimated that no-tillage is practiced on about 125 million hectares world wide. Approximately 45% of the technology is practiced in South America, 32% is practiced in North America, 14% in Australia and New Zealand, 4% in Asia, 3% in Russia and Ukraine, 1% in Europe and 1% in Africa Despite good and long lasting research in these last continents, no-tillage has had only small rates of adoption in Asia, Europe and Africa.

Published in: Friedrich, T., Derpsch, R. & Kassam, A., 2012. Overview of the global spread of Conservation Agriculture Adoption. Field Action Science Reports 2012.

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