Research Projects and Activities
No-till farming (also called zero tillage or direct drilling) is a way of growing crops or pasture from year to year without disturbing the soil through tillage. No-till is an agricultural technique which increases the amount of water that infiltrates into the soil and increases organic matter retention and cycling of nutrients in the soil. In many agricultural regions it can reduce or eliminate soil erosion. It increases the amount and variety of life in and on the soil, including disease-causing organisms and disease suppression organisms. The most powerful benefit of no-tillage is improvement in soil biological fertility, making soils more resilient.Farm operations are made much more efficient, particularly improved time of sowing and better trafficability of farm operations - adapted from Farmers Guide to Success.
The Solomon Valley Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) and the Kansas Black Farmers Association (KBFA) hosted a Teff Field Day at Nicodemus in August of 2009. Gary Alexander's teff field was harvested to demonstrate the Flail Vac Harvester. After harvesting, the teff was dumped on screens to seperate the small grain from the plant. Afterwards presentations were given to inform on current teff developments. Featured speakers were:
Dr. Bruce Anderson, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, professor of agronomy and Extension forage specialist, discussed "Using Teff as a Forage."
Dr. Dipak Santra, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, assistant professor and alternative crops breeder "Teff Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Panhandle Research and Extension Center."
Mr. Brad Shank, Natural Resources Conservation Service District Conservationist presented information about the new Conservation Stewardship Program.
Charles McNeal and Teresa Webb, teff producers in Osborne and Rooks Counties, reported they have swathed and baled their fields for forage. Both Gary Alexander and Triple J Farms in Phillips County will be harvesting their fields for grain.
Teff, a grain native to Ethiopia, has been grown in Graham County since 2005. In 2007 the Solomon Valley RC&D was awarded a three year Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) to grow and market teff. There are currently 95 acres of teff being grown in Osborne, Rooks, Graham and Phillips Counties. Teff is gluten free and known to be both flood and drought tolerant.