Advancing Sustainable Agriculture in the Pacific Northwest

Conservation Tillage Systems

Information Resource

Why STEEP is Essential

We are at a critical juncture in the adoption of conservation tillage practices in the Pacific Northwest.  New farm bill programs such as Conservation Security are dramatically increasing the number of farmers adopting conservation tillage.  STEEP continues to provide key knowledge to make this accelerated transition successful.

Emerging issues related to pest management, soil quality, input efficiency and social and economic constraints threaten to slow the adoption of conservation tillage systems. STEEP provides solutions to these emerging problems through long term, integrated research and education efforts - the success hallmark of the program.

Farmers are facing new challenges in terms of increasing costs of fuel and fertilizer.  STEEP research continues to discover new ways to improve the efficiency of fuel and other farm inputs with conservation tillage.

STEEP is poised to play an expanded role in facilitating the production of biofuels, sequestering carbon and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Many of these areas are integral to successful conservation tillage adoption and are already in the realm of STEEP research.


STEEP Impact Assessment complete

The Chairs of the STEEP research program were asked by the USDA to prepare an impact assessment of its agricultural research and education activities to date in order to evaluate the extent program goals were achieved and return on investment.  The comprehensive report, completed in October 2007, documents STEEP’s 30 years of success improving environmental impacts while bettering the economic viability of farming, and reviewing lessons learned.  The self-published report is available below pending Extension’s formal bulletin review process.

Read the full report here (pdf).
Summary report (pdf).
Poster presentation (pdf).

The report was also published in the Journal of Soil and Water Conservaton, July 2009 (article) (abstract/references)

The Undercutter Method for Winter Wheat - Summer Fallow Farming

This 16-minute DVD describes the Undercutter method, a cost and time saving way of farming in the PNW summer fallow area. It contains research and farmer interviews explaining the advantages of the system (published by WSU Extension, January 2007).

Watch this video and order your copy here.


Direct Seed Videos

A number of direct seed videos are available here in both VHS & DVD formats.


STEEP (Solutions To Environmental and Economic Problems) is an innovative interdisciplinary research/education program focusing on developing profitable cropping systems technologies for controlling cropland soil erosion and protecting environmental quality. Initiated in 1975, STEEP is a collaborative project involving scientists and educators from the University of Idaho, Oregon State University, Washington State University, and USDA-Agricultural Research Service, in cooperation with grower organizations and agricultural support industries and agencies.


The continued support of the Idaho Grain Producers Association, Oregon Wheat Growers League, and the Washington Association of Wheat Growers have helped to sustain the success of the STEEP program.

Hans Kok, WSU/UI Extension Conservation Tillage Specialist, UI Ag Science 231, PO Box 442339, Moscow, ID 83844 USA (208)885-5971
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