Improving soil health, no-till practices topic of Aug. 14 four-county field day

Writer: Kay Ledbetter, 806-677-5608, skledbetter@ag.tamu.edu
Contacts: Dr. Paul DeLaune, 940-552-9941, pdelaune@ag.tamu.edu

VERNON – A Rolling Plains field tour, “Practices to Improve Soil Health and Soil/Water Conservation,” will be held Aug. 14 by Texas A&M AgriLife Research, the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service and local Soil and Water Conservation districts.

Registration will begin at 8 a.m. at the Punkin Center Volunteer Fire Department of Haynesville, located 0.3 miles south of the intersection of State Highway 240 and State Highway or 3 miles north of Electra.

The tour will run from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., with field stops in Archer, Baylor, Wichita and Wilbarger counties. Admission is free, and lunch and transportation will be provided, according to Dr. Paul DeLaune, AgriLife Research environmental soil scientist in Vernon and organizer of the event.

RSVPs are required by Aug. 6 to Sloane Montano at Sloane.Montano@ag.tamu.edu or 940-552-9941, extension 206.

The day’s discussion will be led by DeLaune and Ray Archuleta, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service soil health specialist/agronomist at the East National Technology Center in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Archuleta teaches soil health and the principles of agroecology throughout the country, DeLaune said, adding, “His infectious enthusiasm for soil health has earned him the moniker, Ray the Soils Guy.

“We are fortunate to have Ray join us for the field tour. He has visited the area before, speaking at a Soil Health Workshop at the Chillicothe Research Station in Fall 2012 prior to the release of the current USDA-NRCS Soil Health Initiative.

“I know that Ray is excited not only to share his knowledge, but to learn more about the practices and challenges facing producers in the harsh environmental conditions that exist within the Texas Rolling Plains,” DeLaune said.

Attendees also will hear from experienced and beginning no-till producers at tour stops, providing an opportunity to see what peers are doing and how they have overcome challenges in no-till, he said.

DeLaune said each of the stops will also include fields withcover crops. There will be a variety of options, ranging from cover crops that have already been terminated to cover crops that have recently been planted.

The program will benefit both experienced and beginning no-till producers, DeLaune said.

Field tour stops will provide information on:

- Infiltration, runoff, nutrient cycling and soil health in no‐till cropping systems.

- Challenges in no-till.

- Cover crop water use.

- Incorporating cover crops in wheat cropping systems.

- Grazing wheat and cover crops in no‐till systems.

- First-hand knowledge from experienced and beginning no-till producers.

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