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Science in action to improve the sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and food systems
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Sustainable Crop-Livestock Integration for System Health in the Dryland Inland Pacific Northwest

Dryland wheat-fallow producers have begun switching to a direct seed tillage system for soil health benefits such as reduced runoff, increased water infiltration, increased consistency of crop stands, more and longer period of surface cover from crop residue, better soil moisture, and fewer dust clouds at planting time. However, this practice often requires increased pesticide and herbicide use. Thus, many producers are interested in economically sustainable strategies for reducing pesticide use and further improving soil health. In this project, we worked with five producers, who typically farm using a direct seed wheat-fallow rotation, to experiment with a more biologically intensive and sustainable management system. We hypothesized that integrating cover crops and livestock would improve soil health, suppress weeds, and reduce pesticide use.

Long-term goals of the producers and the project as they relate to the BIOAg Program included:

  1. Increase diversity in an agricultural system that has historically planted a single crop over the last 100 years.
  2. Reduce pesticide and synthetic herbicide use and move toward more socially responsible and environmentally sound agricultural production systems.
  3. Reduce long-term economic risk, protect soil resources, and increase farm viability through more holistic, sustainable, and biologically-based farming practices.

Grant Information

  • Project ID: 172
  • Project Status: Complete

2017

  • Principal Investigator(s): Tao, H.
  • Investigator(s): Burke, I., Carpenter-Boggs, L., Hudson, T., Hulbert, S., Johnson, K., Michel, L., Sullivan, T.
  • Grant Amount: $39966

2020

  • Principal Investigator(s): Tao, H.
  • Investigator(s): Burke, I., Carpenter-Boggs, L., Hudson, T., Hulbert, S., Johnson, K., Michel, L., Sullivan, T.
  • 2020 Progress Report