Both farmers and scientists who have studied soil health have come to realize that a key factor in improving soil health is to reduce soil disturbance. This means farming without any tillage (no-till) or using minimal amounts of tillage (sometimes called reduced till or conservation tillage). By avoiding soil disturbance, not only is soil erosion minimized, but also the structure and integrity of the soil are kept intact. When soil is heavily tilled, the building blocks of the soil (called soil aggregates) are degraded, soil organic matter declines, and soil macropores are destroyed.
Soil macropores are narrow tunnels created by earthworms or left behind when roots decompose. The macropores play a vital role in helping rainfall soak into the soil as well as helping with soil air exchange and future root growth.