CIMMYT’s Toluca field station has held another successful demonstration of reduced and zero till techniques to Mexican farmers. As superintendent of Toluca station, Fernando Delgado oversees the planting and evaluation of wheat. However, his knowledge of conservation agriculture and its potential for maize are also in demand. Wednesday 21 March saw more than 40 farmers come to Toluca from Calpulalpan, Tlaxcala, a journey of well over a hundred kilometers.
Fernando gave a presentation to farmers on the use techniques requiring little tillage in maize, which he turned into an in-depth discussion, answering searching questions on every aspect of production under the system.
There was also a field demonstration, where the farmers saw how the team has adapted conventional minimal tillage equipment to the soils of Toluca station, which lack organic matter and are hard and brittle when dry. They commented on the similarity with their own soils, and were surprised and excited to find the soil reduced tillage practices was soft and moist.
The farmers left Toluca with an understanding of the challenges of minimal tillage—and an enthusiasm to make it work for them.