- Agronomic: oats, wheat
- Vegetables: beans, brussel sprouts, cabbages, sweet potatoes
- Pest Management: mulches - general, mulching - vegetative
- Soil Management: soil quality/health
Oat and wheat straw used to mulch organic vegetable crop transplants carry distinct advantages over rolled black plastic, contributing soil organic matter, allowing more moisture to penetrate to plants and avoiding labor-intensive removal and landfill tipping fee expenses. Rising fuel and production costs, agro-fuel demand for evermore corn and soybean plantings, and herbicide carry-over concerns, however, pressure small-scale organci vegetable crop growers to seek alternatives. This study examines perennial prairie grass straw as mulch, comparing cost of establishment and maintenance, breakdown and availability to soil fertility, weed suppression and alternative income potential in native species seed harvesting and pheasant hunting fees, with small grains straw mulch production and uses.