Conservation Tillage Forage Production in California's San Joaquin Valley

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional + Producer
Funds awarded in 2006: $9,400.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Region: Western
State: California
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Jeff Mitchell
University of California, Davis


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


  • Animal Production: feed rations, feed/forage
  • Crop Production: conservation tillage
  • Education and Training: display, extension, farmer to farmer, networking, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Production Systems: general crop production
  • Soil Management: green manures, soil quality/health

    Proposal abstract:

    California’s dairies require year-round, inexpensive locally produced forage. Current practices involve growing a series of forage crops, with significant tillage passes between harvest of one crop and the planting of the following crop. These production systems lend themselves to a variety of conservation tillage approaches. Farmers have showed increased interest in conservation tillage, which, if adopted in dairy forage systems, could reduce the time between harvest of one crop and the planting of the next crop. It could also reduce costs and lessen dust emissions by two-thirds compared with today’s standard practices. This project will evaluate and refine several conservation tillage practices, including strip till and no till for corn forage production and no till for winter forage planting. It will also determine whether the practices improve producer quality of life by increasing profits and easing time and labor constraints. Information from the project will be disseminated widely to other Central Valley dairy farmers.

    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.