Estimating Nitrogen Contribution from Cover Crops in Organic Vegetable and Cane Berry Farms

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional + Producer
Funds awarded in 2006: $19,325.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Principal Investigator:
Nick Andrews
Oregon State University


  • Agronomic: grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Fruits: berries (cranberries)
  • Vegetables: beans, peppers, sweet corn, tomatoes


  • Animal Production: feed/forage
  • Crop Production: cover crops, organic fertilizers
  • Education and Training: decision support system, demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Soil Management: green manures, organic matter

    Proposal abstract:

    In this project, six farms in western Oregon, four that grow vegetables, one that grows cane berries and one that grows both, will test cover crops developed at Oregon State University. Many production systems, including cane berries and vegetables, can obtain most of their nitrogen requirements through the wise use of legume cover crops. Project coordinator Garry Stephenson will work with the farms to select cover crops that are appropriate for each cropping system, while ensuring that as many crops as possible are tested. Among the cover crop candidates are fava beans, winter peas, hairy vetch, common vetch, lupine and subterranean, red, crimson and berseem clovers. Planting and incorporation of the cover crops will be timed to fit with other farm operations. In addition to providing nitrogen for the cane berry and vegetable crops, the goals are to reduce soil erosion, improve soil quality on the farms and reduce the cost of fertilizer.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.