2001 STEEP Projects
WSU/UI Extension Conservation Tillage Specialist, Moscow; Donn Thill,
UI Weed Scientist, Moscow; David Bezdicek, WSU Soil Microbiologist,
To Environmental and Economic Problems) is a cooperative Pacific
Northwest research and educational program on conservation tillage
systems through the University of Idaho, Oregon State University,
Washington State University, and USDA-Agricultural Research Service.
It has been a national model for multi-state, multi-disciplinary
efforts among land grant universities, USDA-agencies, grower commodity
organizations, conservation districts, and other Ag support groups
and agencies to work collectively to solve regional environmental
and economic problems. Funding has been provided by special Congressional
grants through USDA since 1975.
STEEP program is managed through three committees. These include:
1) a 10-member Technical Coordinating Committee of scientists from
the three universities and USDA-ARS; 2) a 7-member Industry Advisory
Committee of 2 growers from each state representing the grain producer
and conservation district associations, and one from the pulse crop
industry; and 3) an 8-member Administrative Committee representing
research and extension at the 3 universities, the USDA-ARS and USDA-NRCS.
the STEEP program invites proposals on research and education
projects on cropping systems technologies for direct seeding and
other conservation tillage systems. Projects can be funded for
3 years with the possibility of continuing funding in the future.
This longer-term funding has been critical for conducting cropping
systems research projects. Eleven research proposals were received
for the 2001 funding cycle, totaling over $937,000. Six proposals
were selected for a total of $468,000.
is a listing of the new STEEP project titles (and durations),
investigators, and objectives of each project.
Title: Seed Placed Lime to Reduce the Acidifying Affects of nitrogen
Fertilizer in Long-Term Direct Seed Systems (3-year project)
Greg Schwab, WSU Extension Soil Scientist; Jim Harsh, WSU Soil
Chemist; and David Huggins, USDA-ARS Soil Scientist, all at Pullman,
WA; working with 4 collaborating WSU scientists and 2 Washington
Assess the effects of seed placed lime and fertilizer on seed
zone PH and exchangeable aluminum using direct seed planting methods.
2) Determine the effects of lime source and starter fertilizer
source on dry matter accumulation, early season nutrient uptake,
grain yield and grain protein.
3) Evaluate the long-term effects of soil pH and plant growth
of applying low rates of pelletized lime in combination with acid
form or pH neutral starter fertilizers using two direct seed rotations.
the Impact of No-Till (NT) and Conventional-Till (CT) on Crop,
Variety, Soil, Insect and Disease Response (3-year project)
Stephen Guy, University of Idaho Crop Management Specialist at
Moscow, working with a team of 4 other UI scientists
Evaluate crop and variety performance differences between NT and
CT production systems in a replicated tillage trial for winter
wheat, spring barley, spring wheat and dry pea in a 3-year winter
wheat - spring cereal - spring pea rotation.
2) Determine changes in soil organic matter quantity and quality
in NT and CT systems on different landscape positions.
3) Determine the impacts of NT and CT on soil fauna and document
changes in total porosity and pore size distribution on different
4) Evaluate incidence and severity of insect pests and their natural
enemies on wheat, barley and pea grown under NT and CT systems.
5) Evaluate root diseases incidence and severity of Rhizoctonia
root rot, Fusarium species, and Pseudocercosporella foot rot in
winter and spring wheat and barley under NT and CT, and correlate
disease with soil organic matter, pore size distribution and landscape
Management with Herbicides Between Crops and During Fallow in
Direct Seed Dryland Winter Wheat Cropping Systems (3-year project)
Joe Yenish, WSU Extension Weed Specialist, Pullman; Dan Ball,
OSU Weed Scientist, Pendleton; and Donn Thill, UI Weed Scientist,
Determine the effect of four glyphosate herbicide formulations,
applied at several rates with and without ammonium sulfate, on
control of volunteer winter wheat and weeds in direct seed systems
between harvest and spring planting or through the spring portion
of the summer fallow period.
2) Determine the effect of glyphosate and paraquat + diuron, applied
sequentially during the fall and / or early spring at different
rate combinations, on control of volunteer winter wheat and weeds
in direct seed systems between harvest and spring planting or
through the spring portion of the summer fallow period.
3) Provide economic comparison of the vegetative management systems.
4) Disseminate information to growers via field representatives,
extension educators, field tours and popular publications, and
to scientific audiences via publications and presentations.
of Residue Manipulation Systems for Direct Seeding Drills to Improve
Seed Opener Performance (First year of multi-year project)
Eric Drews, UI Agricultural Engineer at Moscow, working with 2
collaborating UI scientists and an advisory group of over 6 representatives
from the universities, grower organizations and the Ag service
Form an advisory group to guide the research effort.
2) Build prototype residue management devices.
3) Build a 3 seeding-unit test drill and install the selected
residue management system.
4) Evaluate the residue management system in a range of residue
Statistical Analysis Software for On-Farm Testing (1.5 year project)
Russ Karow, OSU Extension Agronomist, Corvallis; working with
a team of 10 collaborating PNW scientists
the current AGSTATS statistical computer software to a more flexible,
Windows-based program for use by those inexperienced with statistics
to do their own scientific analyses of simple field experiments.
Sowing into Standing Irrigated Stubble Instead of Burning (6-year
William Schillinger, Dryland Research Agronomist at the WSU Dryland
Research Station near Lind; working with 6 collaborating NW scientists
and a 5-member grower advisory group
The objective of this 6-year project is to determine the feasibility
of direct seeding into high levels of residue as a substitute
for burning after winter wheat harvest in irrigated cropping systems.
Specific objectives are to:
Test a 3-year crop rotation of winter wheat - winter Canola -
spring barley direct seeded with a Cross-slot no-till drill in
three residue management treatments after winter wheat: standing
stubble; mechanical removal of stubble; and burning. An additional
treatment of annual winter wheat sown after stubble burning +
moldboard plowing will be included as the conventional check system.
2) Evaluate and develop effective techniques for planting into
heavy surface stubble using no-till methods.
3) Document cumulative effects of a diverse no-till crop rotation
under three winter wheat stubble management practices on soil
physical and biological properties, water use efficiency, disease,
weed ecology, and economics, and compare these effects to those
under the check treatment of continuous winter wheat with stubble
burning + moldboard plowing.
4) Extend the research results to growers, agricultural support
personnel and scientists.