Oregon State University
Washington State University
University of Idaho
Research Reports
PNW Tillage Handbook
Direct Seed Conference
Direct Seed  Newsletters
Grower Case Studies
E-Mail / Web List Servers
Research Reports

2010 Research Report
2009 Research Report
2008 Research Report
2007 Research Report
2006 New Projects
2006 Research Report
2005 New Projects
2005 Research Report
2004 New Projects
2004 Research Report
2003 New Projects
2003 Research Report
2002 New Projects
2002 Research Report
2001 New Projects
2001 Research Report
2000 Research Report
1999 Research Report
1998 Research Report

Wind Erosion / Air Quality Project
On-Farm Testing
Coming Events
Resource Links
Search Our Site
Direct Seed Association


New 2003 Steep Projects

STEEP (Solutions 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.

Each year, 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 2003 funding cycle, totaling over $1,536,994. Eight proposals were selected for a total of $549,551 based on the FY03 estimated Federal budget. An additional allocation of $72,691 was received for a total of $622,242.

The following is a listing of the new STEEP project titles (and durations and awards), investigators, and objectives of each project.

Title: Impact of Alternative Crops on Winter Wheat and Spring Cereal Establishment, Growth, Yield, and Economics in Direct Seed Systems in the Intermediate Rainfall Area of Washington (1 year; $24,000)

Team: Dennis Tonks, WSU Extension (dryland farming specialist); Aaron Esser, WSU Extension (on-farm testing associate).


  1. Evaluate the impact of alternative crops on establishment, growth, yield, and economics of winter wheat and spring cereals.
  2. Evaluate the impact of winter and spring cereals no establishment, growth, yield, and economics of spring seeded alternative crops and development of direct seed systems.

Title: Optimizing Plant Genetics and Soil Fertility to Achieve High Grain Protein Content in Hard Red Spring Wheat (3 years; $85,000)

Team: Kimberlee K. Kidwell, WSU (spring wheat breeder); William Pan, WSU (soil fertility specialist); Robert Gallagher, WSU (weed-crop ecologist).


  1. Evaluate current varieties and improved isolines of hard red spring wheat for grain yield and protein response to nitrogen fertilization.
  2. Evaluate the most promising isolines identified in Objective 1 for agronomic potential and protein response to native soil fertility (as affected by crop rotation) coupled with nitrogen fertilization regimes.

Title: Improving Genetic Resistance to Cephalosporium Stripe of Wheat through Field and Toxin Screening and Molecular Mapping with Novel Genetic Stocks (3 years; $77025)

Team: Christ Mundt, OSU (botany and pathology); C. James Peterson, OSU (crop and soil science); Oscar Riera-Lizarazu, OSU (crop and soil science).


  1. Characterize response of select winter wheat populations, parents, and progeny to Cephalosporium gramineum. Utilize both fungal toxin(s) and field screening methods to identify materials with superior disease resistance.
  2. Identify and use molecular markers to determine the inheritance of resistance to Cephalosporium Stripe.

Title: Evaluating Chemical Fallow Systems for Weed Control Efficacy, Soil Moisture Conservation, Crop Production, and Cost/Return Analysis (2 years; $11,786)

Team: Joseph P. Yenish, WSU; Aaron Esser, WSU; Dennis Tonks, WSU; Frank Young, USDA-ARS


  1. Determine weed control efficacy of chem-fallow treatments.
  2. Determine comparative soil moisture content between chem-fallow treatments.
  3. Determine comparative wheat injury and yield following chem-fallow.
  4. Compare cost/return of the chem-fallow treatments.

Title: Biology and Management of Rattail Fescue in Direct Seed Cropping Systems (3 years; $54,449)

Team: Daniel A. Ball, OSU; Carol Mallory-Smith, OSU; Donn C. Till, UI; Joseph P. Yenish, WSU.


  1. Determine basic biological characteristics for seed of rattail fescue. Seed characteristics to be studied include optimum seed germination temperatures, occurrence and characteristics of seed dormancy, seed longevity under field conditions, and whole plant vernalization requirements.
  2. Coordinate and conduct multi-state herbicide trials to determine optimum treatment rates and timings for control of rattail fescue in chemical fallow systems.
  3. Coordinate and conduct multi-state herbicide trials to determine optimum treatment rates and timings for control of rattail fescue in direct-seed winter and spring wheat. Consideration will be given to carryover potential in pulse/brassica rotations. Cooperation with the agrichemical industry will be solicited to obtain appropriate herbicide registrations for rattail fescue control in PNW cereal crops.
  4. Information will be disseminated to growers via field representatives, extension educators, field tours, and practical publications and to scientific audiences via publications and presentations.

Title: Investigating Dryland Production with Increased Cropping Intensity Under Reduced Tillage and Direct Seed Cropping Systems (3 years; $126,189)

Team: Dr. Stephen Machado, OSU/CBARC (assistant professor); Dr. Steve Petrie, OSU/CBARC (soil scientist); Dr. Richard Smiley, OSU/CBARC (plant pathologist); Dr. Dan Ball, OSU/CBARC (weed scientist); Dr. Don Wysocki, OSU/CBARC (extension soil scientist). University Cooperators: Dr. William Schillinger, WSU (dryland systems agronomist); Dr. Roger Veseth, WSU/UI (extension conservation tillage specialist). USDA-RS Cooperators: Dr. Dale Wilkins, USDA-ARS, CBARC (supervisory agricultural engineer and research leader); Dr. Stephan Albrecht, USDA-ARS, CBARC (soil microbiologist); Dr. Hero Gollany, USDA-ARS, CBARC (soil scientist); Dr. Stewart Wuest, USDA-ARS, CBARC (soil scientist). Grower Advisory Group and Cooperators: Ernie Moore, Sherman Co.; Chris Kaseberg, Sherman Co.; Tom McCoy, Sherman Co.; Walter Powell, Gilliam Co.; John Hilderbrand, Sherman Co.; David Brewer, Wasco Co.


The aim of this project is to develop acceptable and sustainable cropping systems for north-central Oregon and south-central Washington. Specific objectives include determining systems that increase residue cover, increase soil OM, increase available soil moisture, reduce wind and water erosion, reduce soil water evaporation, and sustain soil productivity. Information to address these objectives will, however, be obtained only after long-term experimentation. This proposal intends to initiate these experiments.

The objective of this proposal is, therefore, to establish a series of long-term experiments that will compare the effects of a conventional wheat/fallow system with potential alternative and intensive crop systems and crop management practices such as direct seeding.

Title: Developing Optimal Agronomic Management Systems for Direct Seeding Brassica Oilseed and Mustard Crops in the Pacific Northwest (3 years; $52,851)

Team: Jack Brown, UI; Don Wysocki, OSU-CBARC.


  1. Determine more optimal agronomic practices for direct seeding winter canola by examining the effects of straw management, opener type, row spacing, seeder opener type, and starter fertilizer rate.
  2. Determine more optimal agronomic practices for direct seeding spring canola, oriental mustard and yellow mustard by examining the effects of straw management, row spacing, and seeding rates.

Title: Outreach Activities for PNW Direct Seed and Conservation Tillage Systems Technology (2 years; $57,891)

Team: Roger Veseth, WSU/UI (extension conservation tillage specialist); Don Wysocki, OSU (extension soil scientist).


Increase grower awareness and adaptation of STEEP and related research technologies for direct seed / conservation tillage systems by presenting new technologies as integrated components of direct seed / conservation tillage systems in specific agronomic regions, and making the information available through:

  1. PNW STEEP Conservation Tillage Update (newsletter)
  2. PNW Extension Conservation Tillage Handbook Series (distributed through the Update)
  3. Northwest Direct Seed Cropping Systems Conferences
  4. Northwest Field Days and Tours

Contact us: Hans Kok, (208)885-5971 | Accessibility | Copyright | Policies | WebStats | STEEP Acknowledgement
Hans Kok, WSU/UI Extension Conservation Tillage Specialist, UI Ag Science 231, PO Box 442339, Moscow, ID 83844 USA
Redesigned by Leila Styer, CAHE Computer Resource Unit; Maintained by Debbie Marsh, Dept. of Crop & Soil Sciences, WSU