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Communication is key when changing tillage practices

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South Texas producers Jim Massey and Jon Whatley have transitioned from standard tillage to decreased tillage techniques through the years. Whereas change of their subject administration practices has concerned trial and error it is also required communication with their landowners.  

“This is not one of those situations where it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission because you’ll lose land that way,” Massey mentioned through the current “Carbon Farming in Texas Workshop.” 

Jim Massey, Nueces County (Picture by United Sorghum Checkoff Program)

Massey, who started his farming profession 21 years in the past in partnership along with his dad, mentioned his father decreased their tillage to keep away from preventing sand. Massey has continued what his dad began, evolving his tillage system.  

“I’ve had good luck with all my landlords. They’re accepting of what I’m doing. Certainly, the ones that live on the land are more so. They’ve seen the years of sand blowing into their house and they really like not having to deal with that,” he mentioned through the workshop’s panel dialogue. 

See, Reduced tillage increases organic matter on Texas farms

Landowners additionally remark about how they get pleasure from seeing the birds and different wildlife that reside within the stubble through the low season. “I think if you sit down and explain what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, I don’t think a reasonable person wouldn’t give you a chance to do it,” Massey mentioned.  

Conserving landowners up-to-date as issues change is important, Massey mentioned, “so they are not caught off guard when they go to the field and see something they weren’t expecting.” 

Lately one among Massey’s landowners known as to ask when he was going to plant. He had planted two weeks prior and the crop was starting to emerge. “It’s hard to see those little plants with that much residue out there, so keep things like that in mind.”  

There is a plan 

Whately, who participated with Massey in the digital producer panel, agreed landowner communication is key. “It’s understanding what Plan A is and what is ‘Z,’ too. There is a plan, and just because it looks like I’m not working doesn’t mean I’m not. We’re going in a totally different direction,” he mentioned. “Not all landowners are good with that, and I understand that, but fortunately, mine understand the difference we’re trying to make.” 

See, Reduced tillage weed control challenges 

kelly-whatley-jon-headshot.jpgJon Whatley, San Patricio County (Picture by Kelly Whatley)

Whatley tries to narrate what his landowners are doing of their yards again to what he is doing of their fields, solely on a bigger scale.  

For instance, in visiting with one among his landladies, Whatley mentioned he in contrast his strip-till with residue to her flowerbed with mulch. He requested her how a lot she spends on mulch for her flowerbeds, to which she responded, a lot. “She hires a guy to come put it out and I said, that’s what I’m trying to do. Unfortunately, I can’t do it to that level, but that’s ultimately my goal.” 

A distinct look 

A strip-tilled subject with residue seems to be totally different than a clean-tilled subject, which frequently raises questions from landowners or others. “I’ve had some people comment to landowners that it looked trashy or it looked different. But I think as long as they’re up to date on the plan, I don’t think it’s an issue,” Massey mentioned. 

“And cousins and neighbors and friends who have farmland might make a comment or two about how it looks different,” Whatley mentioned. “But I think if you educate them in what you’re doing, then hopefully they’re educating those friends and family members on what’s going on, and to me, that’s the most important part of it.” 

See, Agricultural ecosystem asset credit opportunities changing rapidly

Massey is additionally upfront with landowners that this is a studying course of for him. “I do not essentially have all of the solutions on a regular basis. 

“We’re the pioneers. We’re not following up what someone else did, so we’re not going to be perfect all the time. But I’ve always emphasized that’s there’s a Plan A, this is the way we want it to go but I have two or three to fall back on if this doesn’t work. But there is a plan.” 

Whatley concurred, including that flexibility is important. “I have Plan A, B and C and you have to have some flexibility to be able to know at the last minute, we need to turn this upside down and go this direction.” 

Standard farmers usually have one plan, Whatley mentioned. “And I understand how it works. It worked for me when I did it. But we do have multiple plans to figure out different ways to address different issues across the field.” 

Finally, each growers are decided to do no matter it takes to make a crop. 

“There are no rules,” Massey mentioned. “I’m trying to figure it out. I’ve got to do what works or try things on the basis that I can live with. But over the years, we’ve had enough of ‘this works’ and ‘this doesn’t,’ that going forward, we have a better idea of what may work in the future.” 

See, Be patient on selling carbon credits

“Sometimes you’re just going to have to do it totally different,” Whatley mentioned. “I think about my dad back in the 80s, when they went from beds to flat farming. It took them five to six years to get it right, sometimes longer, and they were still battling at times. As I started this and he was still farming, he said, ‘It took me forever to get flat farming down; it’s going to take you forever to get this the way you want it, too.'” 

For extra details about Whatley and Massey’s tillage program, see their article on web page ?. Additionally, to view the web workshop, go to https://bit.ly/3tPCNlU. 

 

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