Alternative Crops & Cropping Systems
Crop diversity is a key tenet of sustainable agriculture. Having multiple crops that fill distinct niches in an agroecosystem improves the ability to manage weeds, diseases and insect pests as well as potentially improving the environmental performance of the cropping system. Research can help overcome production and market obstacles that enable the successful introduction of alternative crops.
Featured Alternative Crops & Cropping Systems Publications
Cogger, C., A. Fortuna, D. Collins. Feb 27, 2014. The second of a two-part webinar series on Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Soil Quality in Long-term Integrated and Transitional Reduced Tillage Organic Systems.
This is the focus of our current research. How do different organic vegetable production systems affect N2O emissions, and how do other outcomes of those systems affect their potential for adoption?
- Systems include full tillage with high-carbon amendment (compost), full tillage with low carbon amendment (broiler litter), pasture-vegetable rotation, and reduced tillage cover crop mulch.
- Measurements include N2O and CO2 emissions, soil N, microbial ecology focused on denitrification organisms, crop yield, and soil quality. Measurements are focused on key times during the season, including amendment application and tillage, irrigation, and freeze-thaw.
Intended audience is other researchers, and interested extension faculty and farmers.
Cogger, C., A. Fortuna, D. Collins. Feb 25, 2014. The first of a two-part webinar series on Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Soil Quality in Long-term Integrated and Transitional Reduced Tillage Organic Systems.
Topics for this webinar include:
- Source and properties of N2O as a greenhouse gas, its relative contribution to global
- warming, and the role of agriculture in N2O emissions
- Review of the nitrogen cycle and the production of N2O
- The relationship between organic practices and N2O production
- How we measure N2O emissions
Intended audience is extension faculty and farmers who want a big picture perspective on why we’re interested in nitrous oxide emissions.
Zaher, U, C. Stockle, K. Painter, S. Higgins. Agricultural Systems. November 2013. Volume 122, pages 73-78.
WSU webpage for the OFoot project, working to provide a scientifically sound yet simple estimation of the carbon and nitrogen sequestration and net greenhouse gas (GHG) balance likely in a given organic cropping system scenario.
At the Tilth Producers of Washington Conference in November 2011, WSU hosted a Dryland Organic Agriculture Symposium. The presentations and keynote from that symposium were recorded and are now available for online viewing. This special symposium addressed agronomic and economic issues specific to dryland organic production. Speakers and attendees came from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. Also, please see link for a list of companies interested in buying organic crops produced in the PNW: Dryland Organic Agriculture in the PNW – grains sellers buyers
Vegetable crop production and alternative crop development such as edamame, wasabi, bamboo, and organic seed production. Work is targeted for both small-scale and large commercial growers, with emphasis on organic production. Links include new fact sheets and information on grafted vegetables http://vegetables.wsu.edu/graftingVegetables.html .
Andy McGuire, Agricultural Systems Educator WSU Extension. Program website.
Additional Alternative Crops & Cropping Systems Publications
Goldberger, J. 2011. Journal of Rural Studies 27(3):288-296.
Article in Sustaining the Pacific Northwest Newsletter
Huggins, D.R., & Kruger, C.E. (2010). In R. Khosia (Ed.), Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Precision Agriculture. 10th International Conference on Precision Agriculture, Denver, CO. Colorado State University.
Chapter 17 in Climate Friendly Farming: Improving the Carbon Footprint of Agriculture in the Pacific Northwest. Full report available at http://csanr.wsu.edu/pages/Climate_Friendly_Farming_Final_Report/.
Chapter 16 in Climate Friendly Farming: Improving the Carbon Footprint of Agriculture in the Pacific Northwest. Full report available at http://csanr.wsu.edu/pages/Climate_Friendly_Farming_Final_Report/.
Chapter 24 in Climate Friendly Farming: Improving the Carbon Footprint of Agriculture in the Pacific Northwest. Full report available at http://csanr.wsu.edu/pages/Climate_Friendly_Farming_Final_Report/.
Economic Enterprise Budgets for Conservation Tillage Systems in Washington State.
Chapter 14 in Climate Friendly Farming: Improving the Carbon Footprint of Agriculture in the Pacific Northwest. Full report available at http://csanr.wsu.edu/pages/Climate_Friendly_Farming_Final_Report/.
A Report to the Washington State Department of Agriculture. School of Economic Sciences. WSU. March 2009
This new extension bulletin is an excellent resource for growers interested in producing organic alfalfa, both irrigated and dryland. Alfalfa provides an excellent transitional crop for those interested in organic production of other crops as well. This guide includes a great deal of information on managing weeds, pests and diseases, and includes a small section on economics.
Article in Sustaining the Pacific Northwest Newsletter
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