From the Merced Sun-Star:

Central Valley farmers are slowly getting hip to the idea that tilling land before planting seeds may not always be necessary.

Conservation tillage has long been in vogue in places such as the Midwest and South America. Now in California, leaving land undisturbed between planting and harvesting cycles has started to catch on.

Advocates say conservation tillage is an array of practices aimed not only at saving farmers money, but also enriching the soil and improving air quality.

In 2010, Valley farmers used conservation tillage practices on 14 percent of crops surveyed, according to a University of California study. That's up from about 10 percent in 2008.

Between 2008 and 2010, Central Valley farmers switched to conservation tillage on nearly 1 million acres used to grow row crops such as corn and wheat silage, according to Sustainable Conservation, a nonprofit located in the Central Valley. That's more than 1,500 square miles and represents nearly 15 percent of all row-crop acreage in California. From 2004 to 2010, conservation tillage practices rose 24 percent for all silage corn acreage in the San Joaquin Valley.

For more, see: Low-till agriculture gets its day in California