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Drought like we've never seen settled on our farm in north central Oklahoma in 2022. It’s the most severe drought in this area since records started more than 100 years ago. Still, we’re going to be right at break-even thanks to crop insurance, alternative markets, crop diversity and the resiliency of our soils.
This past year was a testament to our soil health. When we’re asked how much rain we got, we can rightly say, “We got it all.” The water infiltration rate in many of our no-till fields is approaching that of the surrounding native prairie. Water doesn’t run off. Our fields can take a 5-inch rain and put it right into the soil profile where it’s held in reserve for growing forage and crops. Big rains don’t go to filling ponds at our place.
Keeping all the moisture in the soil is like money in the bank and has been a major factor in keeping us profitable year after year — even if it’s only by a very small amount in years like 2022.
That certainly wasn’t the case when I left college. I was studying biology to take over the farm when my dad, Larry, was severely injured in a car accident.
NAME: Tom Cannon
LOCATION: Blackwell, Okla.
YEARS NO-TILLING: 25
CROPS: Cotton, wheat, corn, soybeans, milo and cover crop seed
PRIMARY SOIL TYPE: Sand to heavy clay
ANNUAL PRECIPITATION: 32 inches
IRRIGATION: Yes (600 acres)
LIVESTOCK: 100-200 pairs (down to 45…