AMARILLO, Texas (KVII) — The drought impacting the region is forcing ag producers and farmers in the Texas Panhandle to experiment with alternative growing methods.
One strategy referred to as “MY LAND” could be adopted as early as next year.
In this week’s Panhandle Runs on Water, ABC 7 News looks at how anything that requires less water and improves a crop’s yield may go from discussion to a new practice.
“MY LAND is a brand new technology for the Texas Panhandle,” said Nicholas Kenny, agriculture engineer.
Very early in the stages of development, there is potential for adoption amongst producers. The strategy focuses on improving the health of the soil and allows for increased profit for growers.
“Local algae is extracted from the soil and then is cultured out and re-applied as an agriculture amendment and then explode its volume in population so it can be re-applied in a really dense matter,” said Kenny.
There are currently zero systems when it comes to MY LAND in the Texas Panhandle. It started in 2015 in Arizona and proving to be successful in some of the western states, MY LAND is beginning to infiltrate into the Texas Panhandle.
“There’s heavy interest right now,” said Kenny. “I think if we get some of the systems in the Panhandle after a year will see people paying money to have it on their fields.”
After proving to be successful in arid areas of the country the questions producers are asking is how can it be adopted and fitted into production systems and make it work for fields on the High Plains?
“Because it’s such a large organic matter system when you culture that much algae you can apply it to the field, boost the organic matter and then get all the benefits of soil health,” said Kenny. “This would take hundreds of years to build in a production system almost overnight.”
“We may wonder how does that has to do with water? In any way we can improve the process for growing these crops then we enable the crop the plant itself to be more efficient with the use of water,” said Kirk Welch, assistant general manager of North Plains Groundwater Conservation District.
The impact of regenerating your soil with this technology depends on two key factors, location and crop type.
“In most cases, the soil that’s in better health deals with declining water better,” said Kenny.
Infusing life into the soil may help return your farm to a fertile state quicker compared to other traditional methods.