Submitted to: Seed Production Research at Oregon State University
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: March 15, 2010
Publication Date: March 31, 2010
Citation: Banowetz, G.M., Griffith, S.M., Steiner, J.J., Mueller Warrant, G.W., Gavin, W.E. 2010. SUSTAINABILITY IN SEED PRODUCTION ENTERPRISES – WHAT WE’VE LEARNED. Seed Production Research at Oregon State University.129:35-37. Interpretive Summary: This manuscript summarizes our findings regarding the impact of production practices on soil and water quality in grass seed production cropping system research. Over 18 hears of field studies conducted at multiple sites in western Oregon showed that conservation practices in tillage and crop establishment could be implemented in some seed production systems, and that when implemented, they reduced erosion, improved soil quality, sequestered carbon, and were economical. We also note that there are still issues remaining in some of these systems because direct seeding is not always effective with small-seeded crops and that pest management may confound the successful implementation in some cases.
Technical Abstract: Over 18 years of field studies comparing water and soil quality along with seed yield in conservation and conventional grass seed production systems is described. In many cases, minimum tillage and direct seeding approaches could be successfully implemented in these systems, and that their implementation reduced soil erosion and enhanced ground and surface water quality. In general, these perennial production systems were carbon rich and had the capacity to take up nutrients applied to the crop, minimizing the amount of nitrogen nutrients in ground water and adjacent surface waters. We note that there remain gaps in our knowledge in implementing direct seeding approaches in small-seeded crops and that pest management may confound the successful use of this practice in certain systems.