2002 Steep Projects
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, multidisciplinary
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.
The 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.
Sixteen research proposals were received for the 2002 funding cycle,
totaling over $1,187,344. Ten proposals were selected for a total
is a listing of the new STEEP project titles (and durations and
awards), investigators, and objectives of each project.
Rotation Effects of Alternative Crops on Spring and Winter Wheat
in Direct-Seed Cropping Systems (3 year project; $137,210)
James Cook, WSU (crop management and supervision of farm management;
Rich Allredge, WSU (statistical analyses), Bruce Frazier, WSU
(remote sensing and landscape database management); Rob Gallagher,
WSU (assessment of wild oat and other weeds); Dave Huggins, USDA-ARS
(assessment of yield-protein relationships and soil water and
nitrogen); Tim Paulitz, USDA-ARS (assessment of root diseases
and soilborne pathogen); Greg Schwab, WSU (soil fertility and
extension/outreach); Doug Young, WSU (agricultural economics);
and Joe Yenish, WSU (extension weed scientist).
Problem to be Addressed: This project will: (1) assess the crop
performance (.e.g. yield and grain protein) within rotations designed
for direct-seed conditions in both a) field-scale replicated plots
(PCFS), and b) across spatially diverse landscapes (CAF); (2) evaluate
performance limiting or enhancing biotic and abiotic factors that
contribute to rotational effects of alternative crops on subsequent
direct-seed wheat with no burning; and (3) determine the economic
feasibility of the different rotations on both field and within-field
scales. The crop performance-limiting or enhancing factors will
include the assessment of some major problems associated with continuous
direct seeding, namely: stand establishment, grain yield and quality,
water and N availability and use efficiency, wild oat population
dynamics, soilborne root disease (Rhizoctonia, Pythium and Fusarium
root rots and take-all of wheat and barley) and economic considerations.
Baseline spatial data at the CAF exists for all of these variables
and therefore crop rotation effects will primarily be assessed at
Nutrient Requirements of Short-season Dryland Corn Grown
in Eastern Washington Using Direct-Seeding Methods (2 year project;
Pan, WSU; Greg Schwab, WSU; Dennis Roe, USDA-NRCS, Pullman, WA.
Cooperator-grower: John Aeschliman, Colfax, WA
optimal nitrogen rate and application timing for dryland corn
production in eastern WA using direct-seeding methods.
- Assess the
effects of added P, Zn, and S on corn yield and in-season tissue
concentrations to establish sufficiency levels of nutrients most
commonly deficient in eastern WA.
a nutrient management extension publication for dryland corn grown
in eastern WA.
The Role of Alternate Hosts in the Epidemiology of Ascochyta
Blight of Chickpea in Reduced Tillage Cropping Systems in the Pacific
Northwest (1 year; $50,000)
L. Peever, WSU (fungal molecular geneticist and will be responsible
for oversight of Objective 3); Lori M. Carris, WSU (mycologist
and fungal biologist and will be responsible for oversight on
Objectives 1 and 2); Fred J. Muehlbauer, USDA-ARS (legume breeder,
who will provide oversight of the field experiments in Objectives
1 and 2 and provide equipment and field plots necessary to complete
the proposed research in Objectives 1 and 2).
- To quantify
Ascochyta rabiei infection of wheat and other alternate hosts
grown in rotation with chickpea in rotational, minimum tillage
or direct seeding cropping systems.
- To develop
a specific PCR primer to detect and quantify Ascochyta rabiei
infection of wheat and other hosts.
Seasonal and Spatial Dynamics of Rodent Damage and Effectiveness
of Management Options in No-till Crop Rotations in Idaho and Washington
(2 years; $80,000)
Sayler, WSU (conservation biologist); Gary Witmer, USDA Wildlife
Services (wildlife research biologist); David Huggins, USDA-ARS
(research soil scientist).
the species, population biology, and ecology of rodents causing
the extent of rodent damage within selected no-till conservation
crop rotations and experimental tillage practices.
a variety of direct and indirect management actions to reduce
this damage through experimental treatments on selected conservation
farms and private farms.
Publication of Pacific Northwest Extension Bulletin PNW 553 "Retooling
Agriculture: A Report of Direct-Seed Cropping Systems Research in
the Pacific Northwest" (1 year; $3,000)
Veseth, WSU/UI (extension conservation tillage specialist); R.
James Cook, WSU (crop management and supervision of farm management)
the funding needed to print 4000 full-color copies of the recently
completed PNW Extension Bulletin PNW553 "Retooling Agriculture:
A Report of Direct-Seed Cropping Systems Research in the Pacific
Expanding Access to PNW Direct Seed / Conservation Tillage Systems
Technology (2 years; $66,359)
STEEP Extension Cropping Systems Specialist Team (listed here:
- PNW STEEP
Conservation Tillage Update (newsletter)
- PNW Extension
Conservation Tillage Handbook Series (distributed though the Update)
- Web Site:
PNW STEEP Conservation Tillage Systems Technology Source (http://pnwsteep.wsu.edu)
which includes publications 1 and 2 above, and many other information
- PNW Direct
Seed List Server (email / Internet based)
Direct Seed Cropping Systems Conferences
Field Days and Tours
Strategies for Profitable Conservation Tillage Farming in the Pacific
Northwest (3 years; $72,481)
Young, WSU (ag economist). Cooperators: Herb Hinman and Hong Wang
(Dept. of Ag. Ec., WSU); David Bezdicek, James Cook, Bruce Frazier,
Rob Gallagher, Robert Papendick, William Pan, William Schillinger,
Greg Schwab, Joe Yenish (Dept. of Crop & Soil Sciences, WSU);
David Huggins, Frank Young (USDA-ARS); Roger Veseth (WSU/UI),
Dennis Roe (USDA-NRCS).
- To evaluate
the economic feasibility of oil seeds, food legumes, and spring
grains on conservation tillage crop rotations.
- To identify
equitable farmland leases for conservation tillage farming systems.
- To assess
the potential for precision weed control to cut costs in conservation
- To identify
effective financial risk management strategies for adopting conservation
- To disseminate
the results on profitable strategies for conservation farming
to growers, policy makers, and others.
Examination of Tillage Factors, Crop Type, Soils an Non-crop Habitat
upon Soil Fauna and Ground Dwelling Predators in a Small Inland
PNW Watershed (2 years, $40,000)
Chang, Jodi Johnson-Maynard, Nilsa Z. Bosque-Perez, Sandford D.
Eigenbrode, Timothy D. Hatten (UI Plant Soil and Entomological
Sciences Dept.). Cooperators: Stephen O. Guy (UI Plant Soil and
Entomological Sciences Dept.); Wayne Jensen (local grower).
the ground dwelling predator fauna of wheat and spring pea grown
under DS and CT, and the overlap of such fauna with that found
on natural habitats.
the ground dwelling predator fauna of specific natural habitats
within the Palouse.
the spatial relationship between soil microfauna, soil type, crop
rotation, and soil fertility across two sub-watersheds under different
Identifying Alternate Rotation Crops for Eastern Oregon
(3 years; $33,360)
Stephen Machado, OSU/CBARC (dryland cropping systems agronomist),
Dr. Chengci Chen, OSU/CBARC (assistant professor/senior researcher).
Cooperators: Dr. Steve Petrie, OSU/CBARC (soil scientist); Dr.
Dan Ball, OSU/CBARC (weed scientist); David Hamlin, OSU/Wheller
Co. Extension; Sandy Macnab, OSU/Sherman Co. Extension; Jordan
Maley, OSU/Gilliam Co. Extension; Bruce Nisley, OSU/CBARC (plant
pathologist); Brian Tuck, OSU/Wasco Co. Extension; Dr. Don Wysocki,
OSU/CBARC (soil scientist). Grower Cooperators: Chris Kasberg,
Sherman Co.; Ron Thompson, Sherman Co.; David Brewer, Wasco Co.;
John McElheran, Wasco Co.; Bill Miller, Wasco Co.; David Stelcer,
Wasco Co.; Phil Kasier, Wasco Co.; Van Rietman, Gilliam Co.
- To obtain
alternate crop seed from areas with similar climate to eastern
Oregon and from breeders at OSu, WSU, and UI.
- To evaluate
the adaptability of alternate crops to growing conditions in eastern
- To establish
basic agronomic practices of commercially promising alternate
crops under reduced tillage systems.
Initiating Long-term Agronomic Experiments in North-Central Oregon
and South-central Washington (1 year; $13,142)
Stephen Machado, OSU/CBARC (dryland cropping systems agronomist);
Dr. Steve Petrie, OSU/CBARC (soil scientist). University Cooperators:
Dr. Dan Ball, OSU/CBARC (weed scientist); Dr. Chengci Chen, OSu/CBARC
(assistant professor/senior researcher); Dr. William Schillinger,
WSU (dryland systems agronomist); Dr. Richard Smiley, OSU/CBARC
(plant pathologist); Dr. Roger Veseth, WSU/UI (conservation tillage
specialist); Dr. Don Wysocki, OSU/CBARC (extension soil scientist).
USDA/ARS Columbia Plateau Conservation Research Center Cooperators:
Dr. Dale Wilkins (supervisory agricultural engineer and research
leader); Dr. Stephan Albrecht (soil microbiologist); Dr. Amos
Bechtel (economist); Dr. Stewart Wuest (soil scientist). Grower
Cooperators: Ernie Moore, Chris Kaseberg, Tom McCoy.
a strong grower advisory committee that represents growers in
all aspects of the proposed long-term experiments, the main objective
of which is to develop sustainable cropping systems for north-central
Oregon and South-central Washington.
- Select one
or two representative sites for the proposed long-term research
and characterize these sites to establish baseline data from which
inferences about sustainability can actually be drawn.