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Agronomy Journal Abstract - Cropping Systems

Conservation Practices in Western Oregon Perennial Grass Seed Systems


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 98 No. 1, p. 177-186
    Received: Jan 3, 2005

    * Corresponding author(s): steinerj@onid.orst.edu
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  1. J. J. Steiner *,
  2. S. M. Griffith,
  3. G. W. Mueller-Warrant,
  4. G. W. Whittaker,
  5. G. M. Banowetz and
  6. L. F. Elliott
  1. USDA-ARS, Natl. Forage Seed Prod. Res. Cent., 3450 SW Campus Way, Corvallis, OR 97331


Recent legislative actions addressing concerns about water and air quality have placed restrictions on open field burning and other grass seed production practices. Because of natural resource quality concerns and economic pressures, there is a need to identify production systems that protect natural resources while still providing economic returns to grass seed farmers. A 10-yr field study was conducted at three locations in western Oregon. We compared the effects of direct seeding (DS) with conventional tillage (CT) establishment, combined with maximal (HR) and minimal (LR) residue management, on seed yield, straw phytomass yield, partial budget costs, and estimated soil erosion from perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.), and creeping red fescue (F. rubra L.). Perennial ryegrass (PRG) and tall fescue (TF) seed yields were greater using DS, whereas creeping red fescue (CRF) yields were unaffected. Seed yield from all three crops was unaffected by residue management amount. Both DS and HR reduced soil erosion and cost less to implement than CT and LR by straw baling and removal. Compared with the industry standard practice of LR management plus CT establishment, use of HR combined with DS reduced soil erosion 76.9, 70.2, and 40.0% for PRG, TF, and CRF, respectively. The cost savings using the DS-HR conservation system compared with the CT-LR farm standard were 60, 76, and 84%, respectively. It was also observed that nonmarket opportunities have resulted from implementation of the alternative conservation practices. These research findings document the suitability of DS used in combination with HR in maritime Pacific Northwest region perennial grass seed production systems without needing postharvest straw removal.

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Copyright © 2006. American Society of AgronomyAmerican Society of Agronomy