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Combined Tillage Operations - Reduced Pass Tillage Management (Code 376)

field_ops_emissions_reduc_(code 376)

The Natural Resources Conservation Service is offering conservation assistance by encouraging California growers to use new and innovative agricultural emission reduction practices and technologies that provide significant environmental benefits to our natural resources.

The Field Operations Emissions Reduction practice standard improves air quality by implementing field operations or technologies from land preparation, planting, harvesting, and other field operations for reducing particulate matter (PM) emissions.  PM emission reduction improvements from baseline conventional tillage activities is achieved by utilizing implements that combine multiple tillage operations in a single pass or by reducing the number of field passes per crop rotation.  Depending on the size and type of equipment, reducing field passes may also help reduce fuel consumption and air pollutants from combustion equipment.  

The Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) applies this practice towards the following management treatments:

  • Combined-Tillage Operations, by utilizing an implement equipped with multiple tools on a single frame.  When compared with a conventional-tillage land preparation system that relies on solo implements to perform individual tasks and multiple passes, a combined-tillage implement can complete several land preparation tasks in a single pass.  The combined-tillage operation must report at least 30 percent reduction in PM10 emissions from baseline conventional-tillage operations.
  • Reduced-Pass Tillage Management, by implementing a system that will limit soil disturbances by decreasing the number of field passes needed for land preparation.  Examples include reducing passes for disking, tilling, ripping or chiseling the field.  The reduced-pass tillage management system must report at least a 30 percent reduction in acre-passes from the baseline conventional tillage activities.

Each eligible application undergoes a screening and ranking process to consider the air quality benefits of any planned conservation practice, as identified by local, state and national priorities.  Offered statewide, proposals for applying any one of these treatments within any PM designated nonattainment area of California will receive a higher priority.

Program Guidelines:  376 – Field Operations Emissions Reduction

California growers must meet EQIP eligibility requirements to qualify for payments.

  • Up to three years of annual payments are offered. Because these treatments are management practices, not available are payments for replacing conventional or purchasing new implements, components or equipment.
  • A combined-tillage implement must be equipped with a sufficient number and types of tools on the single frame that will result in 35 to 50 percent PM10 control efficiency for each acre-pass.
  • Size the tractor type and engine horsepower appropriately in order to operate implements effectively, in accordance with manufacturer recommendations.
  • Recommend equipping tractors with GPS and steering technologies to minimize overlap of field passes.
  • Adjusting field activities may help minimize PM emissions by conducting operations when relative humidity or soil moisture levels are higher, and when no or low wind conditions are forecasted. Consider suspending tillage activities during high wind events to avoid dust nuisances.
  • As deliverables, the producer provides NRCS with an annual report to support the implementation of these practice treatments.
  • The practice lifespan is one year.

For More Information

For more information about the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), please contact your local USDA Service Center, listed in the government section of the phone book under U.S. Department of Agriculture. Information is also available on the Internet at


Updated: 01/02/2018