Bio-Intensive Forage and Hay Production

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional + Producer
Funds awarded in 2004: $7,499.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Region: Western
State: Washington
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Steve Fransen, PhD
Washington State University


  • Agronomic: general hay and forage crops, grass (misc. perennial), hay


  • Animal Production: feed/forage
  • Crop Production: organic fertilizers
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, value added
  • Pest Management: biological control
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, holistic management
  • Soil Management: organic matter, soil analysis, composting, nutrient mineralization, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: public participation, sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    The number of small farms on Lopez Island has increased in response to a desire for local food security. Many farmers raise grass-fed livestock, increasing the demand for farm-produced hay and forage. To compensate for the low availability of nutrients in the island’s acidic soils, farmers periodically apply lime, which is expensive to transport and apply and oxidizes organic matter. Lopez Island farmer Henning Sehmsdorf has applied compost and mulch to heal acid soil, but his supplies of those materials are limited. In this project, Sehmsdorf will team with Washington State University agronomist Steve Fransen to test whether biological stimulant materials can be created on the farm as economically and ecologically viable alternatives to liming. They will compare liming, biological stimulants and no treatment on a 1-acre plot, assessing the effects on soil characteristics and forage yield and quality.

    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.