WILBARGER COUNTY (KAUZ) - Farmers continue to work on better ways to preserve soil moisture and improve no-till farming.
Paul Delaune is an associate professor of environmental soil science. He took farmers to several field examples so they could see how different cover crops worked in Texoma Soil.
"We're looking at best management practices to enhance soil health in cropping systems across the region," Delaune said.
The research was done with Texas A&M AgriLife research and extension, United States Department of Agriculture, and the Natural Resources Conservation Services.
"To see how we can build up soil organic matter increase infiltration, stimulate microbe activity and just overall soil health," Delaune said..
One way he demonstrated microbial activity was by showing how quickly underwear deteriorated in no-till soil.
Behind the Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center at Vernon they are growing different cover crops. These plants are used to preserve soil health in a no-till field. They also measure nitrogen and carbon levels.
"The question is when should we terminate cover crops. The earlier we save more moisture or do you build up more residue and risk using more soil moisture
Farmers are preparing to plant wheat have to make this decision. Delaune said if they wait and get rain the field with more residue will capture and keep more moisture.
The research he presented today showed late termination cover crops did produce higher wheat yields.
This is all part of no-til farming. Steve Marten farms land in Archer County and adopted this practice about 10 years ago.
"I've been very pleased with it. It's a different concept but I think it's worked out well for me," Marten said. "It is a way to save soil. It's a way to conserve moisture when you can especially in drier type years like we've had this year."
It's all about figuring out how to keep moisture in a very dry place.
"It's good that they do these type of test plots that they do because in our environment in our soils because what works here might not work 200 miles from here," Marten said.