Cropping Systems

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Estimating Plant-Available Nitrogen Release from Cover Crops

This Oregon State University fact sheet explains the basics of plant-available nitrogen (PAN); when to kill cover crops for the maximum PAN benefit; step-by-step instructions on how to perform site-specific measurements to predict PAN from your cover crop; and case studies from the Willamette Valley.

Highlighting Innovations in Soil Health

On March 8-9, 2021, the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) held the first Soil Health Innovations conference. Originally scheduled last year as an in-person conference in Montana, the conference was postponed due to COVID and expanded as a nationwide virtual conference with 675 participants. The live stream event included speakers and panels, as well […]

Can Cover-cropping and Grazing Work with Dryland Grain Farming?

Farmers know that planting one crop year after year is asking for trouble. It depletes the soil and leads to increased insect, weed and disease pressures. But in certain places, it’s also been the major agricultural system for decades. In north-central Washington, along the Canadian border, dryland wheat production has been the dominate production system […]

A Sunn Hemp Cover Crop for Soil Health and Nematode Management

These University of Hawaii fact sheets and virtual field day explain how to use sunn hemp as a cover crop to control weeds, nematodes and other pests, add soil nutrients, prevent erosion, and contribute to a more robust and complex community of beneficial nematodes. Available fact sheets include: Using Sunn Hemp as a Cover Crop […]

Sustainable Agriculture Farming Systems Project

Public concerns regarding pesticide misuse, food safety, water use and contamination, and depletion of non-renewable resources have motivated the reevaluation of some of the practices of conventional agriculture and the exploration of alternative, more sustainable approaches to growing food. In 1988, the Sustainable Agriculture Farming Systems (SAFS) project was established at the University of California’s […]

Mixed Cover Crops

An informational video on the pros and cons of planting mixed cover crops which are often used to replace fallow. Focus is on effects of cover crops on soil quality in semi-arid regions.

Cover Crops in Organic Systems: California

This is a collaborative project to build the capacity of conservation professionals to assist organic and transitional farmers in planning and implementing conservation practices through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program Organic Initiative. This guide is part of a series of guides created by Oregon Tilth for use by NRCS staff in the Western Region. This document provide an overview […]

Wireworm Biology and Nonchemical Management in Potatoes

This bulletin is one of a series on organic potato production developed by OSPUD, a collaboration among Oregon State University personnel and 11 farmers operating diversified organic vegetable farms. The purpose of OSPUD is to improve potato quality and profitability through a participatory learning process and on-farm, farmer-directed research. The first two years of OSPUD […]

On-Farm Internship Training Binder

The Placer Ag Futures Project was conceived as a response to critical issues affecting local agricultural sustainability. This project was intended to help grow a new crop of agricultural professionals that are trained in sustainable agricultural practices. One part of the Ag Futures Project was the on-farm internship training. The summer internship program consisted of […]

Nutrient Management Plans: Idaho

This is a collaborative project to build the capacity of conservation professionals to assist organic and transitional farmers in planning and implementing conservation practices through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program Organic Initiative. This guide is part of a series of guides created by Oregon Tilth for use by NRCS staff in the Western Region. This document is […]

Nutrient Management Plans: California

This is a collaborative project to build the capacity of conservation professionals to assist organic and transitional farmers in planning and implementing conservation practices through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program Organic Initiative. This guide is part of a series of guides created by Oregon Tilth for use by NRCS staff in the Western Region. This document is an instruction […]

Cover Crops in Organic Systems: Oregon

This document provides an overview of how the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service NRCS Cover Crop 340 conservation practice can be implemented on organic operations in Oregon.

Cover Crops in Organic Systems: Idaho

This document provides an overview of how the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service NRCS Cover Crop 340 conservation practice can be implemented on organic operations in Idaho.

Cover Crops in Organic Systems

This document provide an overview of how the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service NRCS Cover Crop 340 conservation practice can be implemented on organic operations in the Western Region.

Funded Grants on Diverse Ag Topics

Western SARE funding is important for many reasons. It helps researchers develop and test new sustainable farming and ranching techniques. It helps university extension agents and other agricultural professionals get that new knowledge into the hands of producers. And it helps farmers and ranchers conduct their own research on their own land, testing out new […]

Fresh Growth Podcast

Fresh Growth: Approaches to a More Sustainable Future from Western Ag Practitioners introduces you to farmers and ranchers from around the western United States who are finding innovative sustainable practices that enrich the natural resources we all care about. These successful multi-generational operations experiment with new ideas and are making it pay. Listen in as […]

Farmer and Rancher Research in the West

Making changes on the farm or ranch involves taking risks. One or two years spent experimenting can lead to a financial hit too difficult to recover from. That’s where Western SARE’s Farmer/Rancher and Professional + Producer grants help out. Grantees, like the ones highlighted in this report, come up with the possible solution to a problem they face on their farm or ranch, propose a way to research the idea, and then Western SARE provides the critical support needed to experiment.The projects explore sustainable solutions to problems through on-farm research, demonstration, and education. It is expected that the results are shared with other producers. The highlights you’ll read here are just a fraction of the creative projects attempting to solve real-world problems the grants programs have funded. 

Managing for Wild Bees

Pollination is a critical component of the crop production cycle, directly contributing to reproductive success for pollinator-dependent crops. Graduate student Hillary Sardinas evaluated the ability of hedgerow restorations to augment hybrid sunflower pollination by the native bee community. She also investigated whether rates of nesting were increased in fields adjacent to hedgerows, as well as whether the presence of hedgerows enhanced the diversity and abundance of the native bee community at different distances into fields.