Location: Forage Seed and Cereal Research
2005 Annual Report
Because of natural resource quality concerns and increasing economic pressures, there is a need for new production systems that can enhance natural resources and increase productivity and profitability to farmers. Since relatively small incremental returns are achieved by increasing production efficiency, value-added opportunities that fit into these systems could provide additional ways for increased farm income. Implementation of effective conservation technologies that qualify for Federal conservation program payments also offers a value-added source of revenue.
Our research plan investigated integrated approaches to increase farm income while addressing environmental concerns. Objective 1 quantified the physical effects of perennial grasses (seed production fields, grassed waterways, and restored native range) and conservation practices (direct seeding, nutrient management planning, and residue management) on water, soil, plant, and animal resources. Objective 2 assessed the potential use of native grass biomass and crop residues for conversion to energy products and how these components fit into conservation management plans that receive income from conservation program payments. Objective 3 integrated research results using world-wide-web and GIS tools to develop farming, conservation planning, and policy decision support products to predict the impacts of production strategies and agricultural policies on the agriculture. Overall, this research provides information to assist farmers, land use planners, policy makers, and public interest groups in making science-based decisions that enhance natural resource quality and increase farm economic viability.
Sub-objective 1. Determine the effectiveness of upland grass seed production systems and conservation practices in reducing winter and irrigation sediment runoff, enhancing soil quality, and reducing off-site nutrient loading to drainages and streams.
Plant, soil, and water data will be collected and used to demonstrate the effectiveness of no till practices on soil and water quality. FY 2005-2007
Impacts of tillage on water and soil quality will be provided to land managers to help implement/improve conservation practices on farm. FY 2005-2007
Sub-objective 2. Compare the health of annual grassland and restored native perennial grassland ecosystems.
Plant and soil data will be collected and used to demonstrate the effectiveness of restored native plant grassland on rangeland ecology. FY 2005-2007
Biotic and abiotic effects of restored native perennial grasslands into historical non-native annual grasslands will be known and information transferred to land managers to facilitate science-based management decisions. FY 2005-2007
Sub-objective 3. Determine the relative contributions of grass seed fields and adjacent riparian zones to aquatic wildlife habitat quality.
Aquatic and terrestrial vertebrate population and concurrent resident water quality sampling and analyses FY2004-2007
Spatial database established and maintained FY2005-2007
Analyze drainage network and develop watershed model FY2005-2007 Determine impacts of habitat characteristics on aquatic wildlife distributions and health FY2005-2007
Report results and provide site-specific habitat management options to USDA-NRCS and industry to help plan landscape-level management contingencies FY 2007
Objective 2. Develop value-added opportunities for grass seed production systems using residues as bioenergy product feedstocks and participation in Farm Bill Conservation Programs with appropriate use of conservation areas.
Sub-objective 1. Determine the potential of native and cultivated grass biomass for conversion to energy products and their role in the profitability of Pacific Northwest agricultural systems.
Obtain native grass samples from USDA-NRCS Plant Material Centers FY2004
Conduct controlled dry mass accumulation and phenology development experiments FY2004
Conduct wet chemistry analyses and develop NIR calibration curves FY2004-2005
Determine optimal feedstock harvest times for each species and recommendations for the different ecoregions and landscapes FY2004-2005
Determine the suitability of grass feedstocks for high-quality synthesis gas production in on-farm scale reactor technology. FY2004-2005
Integrate results with other system components and develop landscape-level management recommendations FY2006-2007
Sub-objective 2. Determine effective configurations of native grasses suitable for dual use as riparian mitigants in seasonally inundated areas neighboring agricultural fields, and as dry-season energy product feedstocks.
Obtain yield monitor data FY2004
Import data to R statistical package and determine spatial yield distributions. FY2005
Multivariate analyses and spatial optimizations. FY2006
GIS visualization and specific maps developed. FY2006
Field-specific decision aid developed for crop and conservation area optimizations. FY 2007
Collect field samples for carbon balance. FY2006-2007
Integration of model systems with alternative optimized components including carbon cycle and carbon sequestration. FY2008 Objective 3. Integrate research results to develop farm production, conservation planning, and policy decision support products to predict impacts of production strategies and agricultural policies on sustainability of Northwest agriculture.
Sub-objective 1. Quantify the impact of contrasting production practices and evolving technologies on long-term, landscape-scale changes in weed demographics.
Boundary map 10% coverage completed. FY2004
Boundary map 50% coverage completed. FY2005
Boundary map 100% coverage completed. FY2006
Update boundary map database annually. FY2007-2008
Field inspection database factors correlated with each other for current boundary map. FY2005-2008
Fields identified that depart from trends for in-depth follow-up. FY2005-2008
Seed test database correlated with field inspection database for current boundary map. FY2006-2008
Monitor levels of herbicide resistance in weed seeds found in seed lab purity tests. FY2008
Develop remote sensing procedures able to identify grasses grown for seed by species. FY2007
Use remote sensing techniques to add non-certified production to map database. FY2008
Sub-objective 2. Quantify the impact of agricultural pollution abatement strategies and policy instruments on production efficiency and profitability of different sized farms.
Data collection for economic and physical effects models. FY2004-2005
DEA modeling. FY2006-2007
Watershed level hydrologic modeling. FY2006-2007
Spatial statistical analyses. FY2006-2007
Spatial links between economic & physical effects models. FY2006-2008
Policy instrument scenarios, simulations, and analyses. FY2007-2008
Sub-objective 3. Deliver web-based decision tools that make integrated economic and natural resource impact assessments and utilize site-specific and landscape-level research findings.
Complete web conversion of RUSLE1, WEPP, SCI, MSBG, SISL, and WinPST. FY2004
Incorporate Digital Elevation Model function into the map viewer using web tools. FY2004-2005
Adapt WEPP functions to irrigated systems including sediment mitigation analyses. FY2005-2006
Assess and convert additional stand-alone programs to web-based use. FY2005-2006
CREEDA integration of individual application data inputs and data sharing among applications. FY2004-2006
Begin public release of web development tools. FY2005
Develop beta web site for Yolo County RCD. FY2004-2005
Deliver stable platform program with interface to Yolo County RCD. FY2005
Deliver individual application components to USDA-NRCS partners. FY2005-2006
Proposed USDA-NRCS conservation planning tool interface development. FY2006-2008
Time intensive census must be taken over large areas to collect data about the kinds of crops and amounts of tillage that are done annually so estimates can be made about the impacts of agriculture on water quality at the watershed level. The Forage Seed and Cereal Research Unit in Corvallis developed a method using Landsat satellite images to accurately estimate variability from amounts of tillage and kinds of crops being grown within and among different sub-watersheds of the Calapooia River drainage in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. Six major land use categories were verified by a ground-truth census that showed the method to be 74% accurate. This new geographic information system-based method will help researchers obtain remote-sensed information about agricultural practices impacts on water quality at the landscape-level and help farmers choose the best ways to reduce nutrient and sediment loading from their fields to streams to meet legislated water quality standards. This research also supports the USDA Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP).
Much of the grassland area in central California has been degraded by poor management practices and replaced by invasive annual species. The Forage Seed and Cereal Research Unit in Corvallis, OR and California Audubon Society showed that central California Mediterranean rangeland that has been restored to deep-rooted native perennial grasses has increased water percolation amount and soil water availability to plants, and improved soil fertility. The establishment of native grasses that in turn resulted in greater plant biomass production with higher forage quality than exotic annual grass range. These findings are assisting conservationists in rangeland planning and showing landowners the benefits of restoring annual grasslands that will benefit livestock, wildlife, and overall ecosystem health.
The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) is a powerful model that estimates the physical effects of agricultural and conservation practices at the landscape level using several hundred variables, but requires advanced technical expertise to calibrate for specific watersheds. The Forage Seed and Cereal Research Unit in Corvallis, Oregon developed a method for non-technical users to automatically match the model prediction of water flows throughout a watershed with observed measurements. Our approach is done on a parallel computer to greatly increase the speed of calculations and was applied to the Calapooia River basin with high accuracy. This new automatic calibration method will help watershed managers who do not have the technical expertise or time to use SWAT and find the best ways to manage water quality. This research also supports the USDA Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) to demonstrate the effectiveness of conservation methods supported by the USDA Farm Bill.
A prototype conservation planning Website that uses various USDA conservation assessment tools was delivered to the Yolo County (CA) Resource Conservation District. Further development of the OAC planning tool depends of additional funding provided by the Yolo RCD. Funding has been provided to extend the tool using the Web-based ARS Water Erosion Prediction Program (WEPP). The Website can be viewed at http://yukon.een.orst.edu/OAC/OACHome.htm
WebGRMS software emulating the USDA Genetic Resources Information Network (GRIN) database was delivered to the USDA-ARS Plant Germplasm Introduction and Testing Unit at Pullman, WA. WebGRMS allows geospatial analysis of germplasm collections and demonstrates large collection managers can easily use GIS tools without any GIS software training using low-cost Linux operating system free-ware. The Website can be viewed at: http://yukon.een.orst.edu/~greene/ms_apps/home/index.htm
Davis, J.H., S.M. Griffith, W.R. Horwath, J.J. Steiner, and D.D. Myrold. Fate of 15N-labeled ammonium and nitrate in a poorly drained Lolium perenne field and herbaceous riparian zone in a western Oregon. 9th International Symposium on Biogeochemistry of Wetlands, at LSU Baton Rouge, LA, March 20-23, 2005.
Griffith, S.M. presented an invited oral paper “Differences in soil quality and plant characteristics among restored and non-restored sites using native perennial grasses” at the 3rd Biennial CALFED Bay-Delta Program Science Conference Abstracts. October 4-6, 2004.
Griffith, S.M. presented made an oral presentation “Water Quality of the Santiam Canal and Agricultural Runoff” to the City of Albany, Oregon Department of Agriculture, and Linn-Benton County Soil & Water Conservation group. June 16, 2005.
Griffith, S.M. Soil quality characteristics of restored native perennial and non-restored exotic annual California grasslands. 58TH Annual Meeting of the Society of Range Management, Ft. Worth, TX, February 5-11, 2005.
Science Action, News from the CalFed Bay-Delta Science Program. Bringing back native grasses. June, 2005.
Steiner, J.J. and Banowetz, G.M. A new look at on-farm production of energy products from grass seed straw. Forage Seed News, p. 15-17. Manitoba Forage Seed Association, Arborg, Manitoba, Canada. Winter, 2004.
Focus on Forestry, Oregon State University College of Forestry. Written in the river. Fall 2004.
Oregon's Agricultural Progress. Oregon State University Agricultural Experiment Station. Profile: Guillermo Giannico learns about the land from the fish he studies. Summer 2005.
Banowetz, G.M., Steiner, J.J., Boateng, A. and El-Nashaar, H. Potential for on-form conversion of straw to bioenergy in seed producing operations. In 2004 Seed Production Research at Oregon State University, W.C. Young III (ed.). Dep. Crop and Soil Science Ext/CrS 124, pp. 75-78. March 2005.
Floyd, W.C., Schoenholtz, S.H., Griffith, S.M., Wigington, P.J., Jr. and Steiner, J.J. Seasonal relationships between dissolved nitrogen and woody vegetation at multiple spatial scales in the Calapooia River watershed, Oregon, USA. American Water Resources Association Specialty Conference: Institutions for Sustainable Watershed Management: Reconciling Physical and Management Ecology in the Asia-Pacific. June 2005
Griffith, S.M. Santiam Canal Water Quality Analysis for Organic and Inorganic Nitrogen and Other Chemical Constituents. In 2004 Seed Production Research, W. Young, III (ed.), Dep. Crop and Soil Science Ext/CrS 124, Corvallis, OR, pp. 79-81. 2005.
Mueller-Warrant, G.W., Whittaker, G.W., Steiner, J.J., Griffith, S.M. and Banowetz, G.M. Identification of grass seed crops of Linn County, Oregon, through remote sensing. In 2004 Seed Production Research, ed. W. Young, III, Oregon State University Extension and USDA-ARS, Corvallis, OR, pp.82-85. March 2005.
Steiner, J.J., Griffith, S.M., Mueller-Warrant, G.W., Whittaker, G.W., Banowetz, G.M. and Elliott, L.F. Effects of direct seeding and full chop-back residue management in perennial grass seed production. In 2004 Seed Production Research, W. Young, III (ed.), Dep. Crop and Soil Science Ext/CrS 124, Corvallis, OR, pp. 37-38. March 2005.