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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Corvallis, Oregon » Forage Seed and Cereal Research Unit » Research » Research Project #445390

Research Project: Optimizing and Stabilizing Economic and Ecological Sustainability of Pacific Northwest Seed Cropping Systems Under Current and Future Climate Conditions

Location: Forage Seed and Cereal Research Unit

Project Number: 2072-21600-001-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Sep 28, 2023
End Date: Sep 27, 2028

Objective 1: Identify and evaluate economical methods for sustainable pest management practices in seed crop systems that improve crop productivity, seed health, and seed lot quality by controlling historical and emerging pests. - Sub-objective 1A: Develop optimized survey and molecular detection methods for Anguina seed gall nematodes infecting ARG and OG seeds. - Sub-objective 1B: Investigate the spatiotemporal composition and environmental predictors of the aphid– YDV virus-vector system in perennial grasses grown for seed production. - Sub-objective 1C: Integrate cultural, chemical, and biological control strategies to reduce YDV disease severity and protect yield potential in grass seed production. - Sub-objective 1.D: Improve grass seed production and seed lot quality by examining cultural harvesting practices and companion cropping to minimize weed contamination. - Sub-objective 1E: Improve knowledge of arthropod pest population dynamics and integrated pest management in grass and legume seed production. Objective 2: Evaluate the effects of soil amendments, tile drainage, and conservation residue management on soil health, C sequestration potential, and biodiversity to improve/enhance ecosystem services, productivity, sustainability, and resilience to climate change. - Sub-objective 2A: Quantify and model soil C stocks on seed production systems differing in subsurface drainage, residue management, and tillage practices. - Sub-objective 2B: Using Balansa clover, evaluate how five termination methods and three termination times affect the availability of N and GHG fluxes. - Sub-objective 2C: Measure the synergistic interactions between basalt dust, biochar, and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) that sequester and transform atmospheric CO2 to bicarbonate in grass seed production systems. - Sub-objective 2D: Evaluate the effects of baling and flailing straw residue on weed ecology and efficacy of pre-emergent herbicide applications in grass seed production systems. Objective 3: Develop knowledge, technologies, and decision support tools that enable growers to optimize seed production for economic and ecological sustainability and resilience to weather extremes. - Sub-objective 3A: Develop WV Soil Organic C decision support tool. - Sub-objective 3B: Expand existing resources to increase the geographical and functional range of the PNW Biochar Atlas. - Sub-objective 3C: Develop decision support tools to forecast and improve monitoring of economic pests in seed crop production systems. - Sub-objective 3D: Develop an environmental-based model to predict ABG seed germinability in grass seed production systems.

The long-term aim of this project is to address high priority needs of Oregon and Pacific Northwest (PNW) seed growers by adapting and developing management practices that improve crop productivity, advance ecosystem and economic resilience, and provision ecosystem services. This aim will be met by investigating systems-level questions that fall into two broad objectives and their related subobjectives. In Objective 1, we focus on improving crop production, seed health, and seed lot quality by lessening the overall impact of pests. The research for this objective is conducted in laboratory, greenhouse, and field experiments focused on improving detection and management of priority pests, evaluating reduced pesticide application strategies, and developing pesticide resistance management plans. In Objective 2, research is focused on understanding the effects of management practices on soil health, carbon (C) sequestration potential, and biodiversity to enhance ecosystem services, productivity, sustainability, and resilience to extreme weather. This objective is met with laboratory, greenhouse, and field experiments that examine the influence of management practices and soil amendments (tile drainage, residue management, tillage, cover cropping, biochar, and basalt dust) on biogeochemical cycling and microbial population dynamics. The aim of Objective 3 is to synthesize the knowledge acquired and published in peer-reviewed journals in Objectives 1 and 2 to develop innovative decision support tools, storyboards, and other materials that clearly guide farmers towards the science-based practices that achieve balance between ecosystem and economic sustainability. The tools from this objective include web-based tool kits, models, and agronomic measures used to control pests and weeds, and to apply soil amendments. In general, these approaches aim to identify key interactions between genetics, environment, and management that simultaneously reduce farm inputs and improve ecosystem services by identifying and quantifying tradeoffs.