No-till drill promotes conservation, profitability

Courtesy/Goshen County Economic Development Corporation Dave Johnson Lingle-Fort Laramie Conservation District Treasurer, left; Denise Lucero, Goshen County District Manager; Ryan Ferguson, LFLCD Soil Technician; Kelly Greenwald, LFLCD Education Board Member; Donald McDowell, LFLCD Chairman; Ryan Clayton, District Conservationist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service; and Don Zimmerer, Goshen County Tree Specialist; stand with the new Great Plains No-Till Drill recently. The LFLCD purchased the drill, which area producers can rent beginning early next spring.

LINGLE, Wyo. – True to its name, the Lingle-Fort Laramie Conservation District recently purchased a piece of equipment designed to promote conservation by improving soil health, using less water on irrigated ground, and allowing farmers to experiment with cover and alternative crops – ideally, increasing profitability.

The Great Plains 12-foot End-Wheel No-Till Drill “is the perfect balance between compact versatility and large-drill productivity,” according to official equipment paperwork. “These units are designed for seeding in a wide variety of applications, from pasture renovation and mine reclamation, to production farming and food plots.”

The no-till drill features a modular design, which allows three different seeds to be planted at separate rates and different depths at the same time, and a four-speed gearbox that gives producers the option to set planting rates for a variety of seeds.

The quest to purchase the equipment began nearly one year ago, when a fellow county conservation district member lamented to Ryan Clayton, District Conservationist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, about a lack of funds to be used for conservation in the county.

Clayton said the comment inspired him to present the idea of purchasing a no-till drill to Goshen’s three conservation districts – and LFLCD jumped onboard.

“Ryan pointed out one of our big things is soil health, and … there’s getting to be a lot of interest in no-till and the amount of water you can save in irrigated ground and building healthy soil,” LFLCD Chairman Donald McDowell said. “It’s been 11 months since we first got quotes on drill. The budgetary process all came together, and we got the drill on the ground.”

In addition to $7,500 in grant funds from Goshen County Economic Development Corporation, the district spent more than $30,000 to purchase the drill through Brown Company in Wheatland.

“The bulk of it was from our budget – we’ve been saving for years,” McDowell explained. “It’s been a pretty good, cooperative effort among our board members and local dealers. All board members put in a lot of hours. There’s a lot of interest in this county and the adjoining county.”

Currently, the drill is being stored in Lingle. Clayton said he expects the equipment to get to work in February 2019.

“It’ll be nice to make sure it’s calibrated right, especially on grass seed,” he said. “It’s slick – it’s really slick. We’re excited to see it used. We’re going to keep a really close eye on it and make sure it doesn’t get damaged.”

LFLCD is currently accepting applications to rent the no-till drill at a rate of $12 an acre. Local producers can get their name on a list by calling (307) 532-4880, ext. 101.

“We really want to see people use it,” McDowell said, adding the drill is also effective in controlling wind erosion, reseeding CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) land, and more. “It’s just an exciting time, after many years, to get conservation on the ground.”

The Lingle-Ft. Laramie Conservation District LFLCD is one of 34 districts in Wyoming organized to provide leadership in the wise and sustained use of natural resources, according to its website (www.conservegoshen.com). The district has worked to conserve and enhance natural resources in Goshen County since 1946.

Board meetings are held on the second Tuesday of the month at the University of Wyoming James C. Hageman Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Center, west of Lingle, beginning at 1 p.m.

All meetings are open to the public.


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