Maximizing crop production while improving soil carbon storage and nitrogen-use efficiency is a major challenge in the sustainable intensification of agro-ecosystems. Agronomists Castelli et. al. compared four arable systems and a no-till permanent meadow during a 30 year field experiment. All ecosystems caused clear trade-offs between services. Both the no-till permanent meadow and the most productive annual rotation lead to win-lose solutions. Farmers, however, may justify high fertilization practices if their management goal is to spare land for less intensive uses such as permanent meadow.