National Agricultural Library
Alternative Farming Systems Information Center Masthead
SpacerHomeAbout AFSICPubsDatabasesHelpContact Us
Search the Alternative Farming Systems Information Center
Search all USDA
advanced search
search tips
browse by subject
Sustainability in Agriculture
Alternative Crops and Plants
Education and Research
Farm Energy Options
Farms and Community
Grazing Systems and Alternative Livestock Breeds
Alternative Marketing and Business Practices
Organic Production
Ecological Pest Management
Soil and Water Management
You are here: Home / Publications / Conservation Tillage (AFSIC Find-It Guide)  Printer Friendly Page
Conservation Tillage

OSU farm manager cultivates for weed control in ridge-tilled system [source: k. Weller. USDA-ARS].

AFSIC Find-It Guide

Compiled by: Becky Thompson
Alternative Farming Systems Information Center
Information Research Services Branch
National Agricultural Library
Agricultural Research Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Slightly revised February 2013

divider line

Table of Contents

divider line

What is Conservation Tillage?

 Back to Top 
divider line

Database and Internet Searches

Conduct automated, real-time, searches in the NAL catalog (AGRICOLA), search the Current Research Information System (CRIS), or locate topic-related resources on the Internet. Each time you select a link, a new search will be performed, and a new bibliography or list of subject related Web pages will be generated.


AGRICOLA (AGRICultural Online Access) is a bibliographic database of citations to the agricultural literature created by the National Agricultural Library (NAL) and its cooperators. The records describe publications and resources encompassing all aspects of agriculture and allied disciplines. [Read more about AGRICOLA.]

Search for information on tillage types in the AGRICOLA Book Catalog or Article Citations by date range. Articles include journal articles, reports, book chapters, and reprints. Books include books, serials, audiovisuals, etc. Search strategy:
["conservation till?" or "min? till?" or "zone till?" or "no till?" or "ridge till?" or "mulch till?" or "reduc? till?" or "strip till?" or "rotation? till?" or "crop residue management"]

Article Citations Book Citations
articles, all years books, all years
articles, since 2000 books, since 2000
articles, 1990-1999 books, from 1990-1999
articles, 1980-1989 books, from 1980-1989
articles, before 1980 books, before 1980

Browse the AGRICOLA Catalog by Subject Heading

Tip: To browse AGRICOLA using a specific term, go to Under the NAL Catalog or the Articles Database column, select "Basic Search," enter a subject term in the box labeled "Find," select "Subject Browse," and then select "Search."

Quick Bibliographies

Before the National Agricultural Library's AGRICOLA database was available online, our staff compiled "quick" subject bibliographies (below) to assist with research. These QB's identified relevant journal articles, reports, books, and video citations.
 Back to Top 
divider line

Selected Government Websites, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and online resources

The automated searches below locate resources about specific tillage types on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Web sites.

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is USDA's main in-house research agency. ARS research develops solutions to a wide range of problems related to food and agriculture. To find resources by specific ARS locations, use the ARS Advanced Search feature instead of the links above.

Water Quality Information Center, NAL, USDA

NAL's Water Quality Information Center now offers real-time, dynamic bibliographies on Conservation Tillage
 Back to Top 
divider line

Search selected Internet search engines for conservation tillage practices

 Back to Top 
divider line

The Current Research Information System (CRIS) from USDA

The Current Research Information System (CRIS) is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's documentation and reporting system for ongoing and recently completed research projects in agriculture, food and nutrition, and forestry.

To conduct a keyword search in the TITLE or DESCRIPTOR fields, follow these steps:

  1. Copy one of the following search strategies:

    TI,DE=conservation ADJ tillage
    TI,DE=no ADJ tillage
    TI,DE=minimum ADJ tillage
    TI,DE=reduced ADJ tillage
    TI,DE=ridge ADJ tillage
    TI,DE=strip ADJ tillage

  2. Access the CRIS database.
    (Note: Following this link will open a new browser window.)
  3. Select Professional Search.
  4. Select the Edit button beside Search Number S1.
  5. Paste the search strategy copied in Step 1 into the search box.
  6. Select the OK button.
  7. Select the Display button to view the results.
  8. Optional: Select the Change Format button to choose a different display format or to customize your format using selected data fields.
 Back to Top 
divider line

Search Tips

The tips below will help you create your own search strategies for conducting literature searches.

Recommended Keywords and Phrases:

  • (conservation till?) or
    (no till?) or
    (minimum tillage) or
    (reduced tillage) or
    (ridge tillage) or
    (strip till*)

  • The NAL Agricultural Thesaurus is an online vocabulary look-up tool for agricultural and biological terms. The Thesaurus is organized to help find terms in a specific discipline or subject area. The Thesaurus features automated Google Scholar and AGRICOLA database searches for each term.

  • NAL Thesaurus Terms Term: conservation tillage
    Broader Terms: tillage
    Narrower Terms: no-tillage; ridge tillage; strip tillage
    Related Terms: conservation practices; soil conservation

  • Refine your search with related keywords and phrases (see also Sustainable Agriculture: Definitions and Terms, or check the AGROVOC multilingual agricultural thesaurus).

Tips for Efficient Searching

 Back to Top 
divider line

Recommended Databases and Journals *

  • The Alternative Farming Systems Information Center maintains a directory of databases that are related to sustainable and alternative agriculture.

Free online databases

  • AGRICultural OnLine Access (AGRICOLA) contains bibliographic records created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Library and its cooperators.

  • AGRIS is produced by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

  • The Current Research Information System (CRIS) is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's documentation and reporting system for ongoing agricultural, food and nutrition, and forestry research.

Fee-based online databases
(Contact us to request assistance with database searches.)

  • Biological & Agricultural Index
  • BIOSIS Previews
  • CAB Abstracts
  • Current Contents
  • Water Resources Abstracts

Selected journals

* How to Obtain Full-text Journal Articles

 Back to Top 
divider line

Extension and Education Materials: online sources

 Back to Top 
divider line

Related Information Sources and Organizations

 Back to Top 
divider line
Last Modified: Sep 22, 2015
AFSIC Home | NAL Home | USDA | ARS | AgNIC | Web Policies and Important Links | Site Map
FOIA | Accessibility Statement | Privacy Policy | Non-Discrimination Statement | Information Quality | | White House