Title: Soil quality assessment in long-term direct seed Authors
Submitted to: Washington State University College of Agriculture and Home Economics
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: June 1, 2014
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Producers in the Pacific Northwest are adopting direct seed farming to reduce soil erosion, improve soil quality and increase water infiltration. Some direct seed producers are concerned with reaching the yield and profit potential expected with long-term direct seed, and this may be due to soil stratification with lack of soil disturbance that makes nutrients unavailable for plant uptake due to pH, electrical conductivity (EC), or banding of nutrients at potentially toxic or deficient levels. We are investigating the soils of thirteen long-term direct seed sites and three sites farmed with conventional or conservation tillage to identify characteristics that play a part in limiting yield potential. Sites represent low, intermediate and high rainfall zones of eastern Washington and northern Idaho. Biannual soil sampling began in spring, 2013 and will continue through fall, 2014. Three landscape positions (top, midslope, bottom) were sampled at each location, and samples were separated into six depth increments from 0-8 in. Remedial management by farmers to improve, maintain or restore soil quality will depend upon their efficiency in managing variable and fixed costs when carrying out field operations. With these factors identified, management options can be investigated and strategies developed to obtain sustainable systems. The 2013 annual report for this study can be viewed at: http://mysare.sare.org/mySARE/ProjectReport.aspx?do=viewRept&pn=SW12-122&y=2013&t=0.