What is in this article?:
- In the middle of one of the worst ongoing droughts in Texas history, how can Tommy Henderson remain so optimistic about his dryland winter wheat crop? Because he’s got it covered.
Tommy Henderson's wheat crop is thriving thanks to three years of no-till and the cover crops he planted in them this past summer.
Cashing in on benefits
Henderson was able to harvest the seed from his sesame crop for a profit, with just a few modifications on a wheat combine, leaving the residue in the field. Lack of moisture prevented the guar beans from making a crop, but that didn’t discourage him at all.
“The plants grew and did their job to protect and improve the soil,” Henderson says. “But we just didn’t get enough rain to have a seed harvest.
“Normally it would have really bothered me to not make a crop,” he says. “But now I’m beginning to think a cover crop is well worth the soil benefits it provides, even if you don’t get a harvest.
“I’ve already saved money in my nitrogen bill,” he continues.”And you can’t buy rain, so the fact that the cover crop is why my wheat crop has access to moisture in the middle of a drought is a big deal.”
No – Henderson can’t buy rain, even when he needs it most. But he is doing everything he can to preserve soil moisture and keep producing crops despite lack of rainfall.
His soil might remain under cover, but his success with cover crops won’t. Thanks to Henderson and others like him, this new under-cover operation is gaining a lot of public attention.