Date of Award
Master of Science
Charles Cleland, Robert Orr
A study was conducted to examine the relationship between use of no-till planting and farmers' perception of advantages and disadvantages associated with no-tillage agriculture. Analysis was based on data collected from farmers who attended one of the three West Tennessee Agricultural field days held in 1982. A total of 509 farmers (primary occupation) participated in the survey. One hundred and fifty-six of the farmers had never used no-till, fifty-four farmers had discontinued no-till use, seventy-six farmers were using no-till for the first time in 1982, and two hundred and twenty-three farmers had used no-till for two or more years and were termed continued users.
Analysis indicated that for the farmers surveyed there was a relationship between their perceptions of the attributes of no-tillage agriculture and their no-till use. Most farmers, regardless of no-till use, appeared to believe that major conservation benefits result with no-till use. Reduced soil erosion and conservation of future soil productivity were the items most frequently rated as major no-till advantages. However, other advantages and disadvantages appeared to have more potential to influence use of no-till practices. Weed and grass control problems appeared to be the' most serious disadvantage associated with no-till use.
Personal experience with no-till use appeared to have the most influence on how farmers perceive the attributes of no-tillage agriculture. Continued users of no-till gave the highest ratings to advantages and the lowest ratings to no-till disadvantages, while discontinued users gave the highest ratings to disadvantages and lowest ratings to advantages. Ratings given by first-year users and never users were very similar with never users rating the advantages only slightly lower in importance than first-year users.
Although no-till agriculture has traditionally been promoted as a means of controlling soil erosion, this study indicates that educational programs seeking to increase no-till use should direct their primary efforts at assisting farmers to minimize the difficulties associated with no-till use.
Preventive types of innovations have traditionally experienced a slow rate of adoption. Analysis of data confirmed this for the farmers surveyed. Also, no-till use was in the decision and implementation states of adoption rather than in the confirmation stage. Only 19 of 223 farmers surveyed who had continued use reported planting all their suitable acreage using no-till in 1982. Analysis also indicated that the number of farmers using no-till and the acres planted in first use has increased over time. Further, a small but statistically significant relationship occurred between size of farm operation and no-till use. Double-crop soybeans and wheat appeared to be where the greatest acceptance has occurred.
Hart, Cynthia Greenlee, "Adoption of no-tillage agriculture by farmers attending West Tennessee field days in 1982. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 1984.