Sustainable "no-till" farming practices have increased substantially over the last 20 year
"No-till farming is enabling agriculture to respond to some of the global challenges associated with climate change, land and environmental degradation, and increasing cost of food, energy and production inputs. The wide recognition of no-till farming as a truly sustainable system should ensure the spread of the no-till technology and the associated practices of organic soil cover and crop rotation, as soon as the barriers to its adoption have been overcome, to areas where adoption is currently still low.
"In 1999 no-tillage farming, synonymous of zero tillage farming or conservation agriculture, was adopted on about 45 million ha world wide, growing to 72 million ha in 2003 and to 111 million ha in 2009, corresponding to an growth rate of 6 million ha per annum. Fastest adoption rates have been experienced in South America where some countries are using no-tillage farming on about 70% of the total cultivated area. Opposite to countries like the USA where often fields under no-tillage farming are tilled every now and then, more than two thirds of the area under no-tillage systems in South America is permanently not tilled; in other words once adopted, the soil is never tilled again."
Source: Rolf Derpsch et al., “Current status of adoption of no-till farming in the world and some of its main benefits,” International Journal of Agricultural & Biological Engineering 3, no. 1 (2010): 1, accessed October 29, 2014, DOI: 10.3965/j.issn.1934-6344.2010.01.001-025.