Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

January 18, 2013

Farm project with unique slant

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — A number of factors have come together to create a rather unique agricultural research project right in the heart of Garvin County.

Potential cost savings for farmers and the impact of drought conditions are a couple of things that played a part in an OSU Extension project now underway that looks at the differences between traditional and no-till farming methods.

Around 100 acres of land at a site between Pauls Valley and Wynnewood has already been offered up by its owner for a project meant to see if no-till farming can help cut costs while still yielding big harvests of different crops.

“We’re planning a long-term project, and we’ll study it over the next few years,” said Bob Leadford of the OSU Extension office here in Garvin County.

“We’ll be crunching the numbers and looking at the difference between the two farming methods,” he said.

“As an extension agent for OSU this has the potential to be some of the most groundbreaking information for any project I’ve been involved in.

“I think that over the next few years we’re going to see some interesting data. Data we get off this will be used everywhere.”

According to Leadford, the idea came from property owner Trey Lam, who suggested that OSU Extension do a no-till research project on some of his acres.

A planter clinic on no-tilling conducted about a year was attended by a number of farmers in the county as some switched over to this method right away.

The project then began to take shape, which Leadford said is the first one OSU has ever done away from research facilities and on “a guy’s individual farm.”

Put simply the project is looking to study the difference in the costs it takes to plant and harvest a crop using these two different types of farming methods.

Leadford says they already know the costs and crop yields using the traditional disc tilling system.

Studying things like the costs of fuel, equipment and labor, the number of passes on a field using farm equipment, moisture conservation and the benefits of organic matter left in the soil, the project will collect data on the no-till system to see which method is most cost efficient for farmers.

Leadford says it’s typical with the traditional method to make three or four passes with equipment to disc and cultivate a field in preparation for planting.

“With the no-till it’s only the one pass to cut and plant seeds,” he said.

For the project there are two areas between PV and Wynnewood split by U.S. Highway 77.

One side has about 55 acres, which after a crop of corn was harvested officials went in and used the no-till method to plant wheat with soybeans to come later.

Alfalfa is now on the other section, which this spring will get corn by way of no-till.

From there it’s a matter of comparing the two methods over the next few years.

“This will be an interesting project, and I look forward to see some of the results,” Leadford said.

“It’s a matter of looking at the numbers. It’s all about the cost.”