Organic Wheat Intercropping Trials and Outreach

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2010: $15,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2010
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Principal Investigator:
Sarahlee Lawrence
Rainshadow Organics


  • Agronomic: wheat


  • Crop Production: cover crops, crop rotation, double cropping, intercropping
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, mentoring, networking, on-farm/ranch research, youth education
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, feasibility study, whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity
  • Production Systems: transitioning to organic, holistic management, organic agriculture
  • Soil Management: green manures, organic matter, soil analysis

    Proposal summary:

    As a third-generation producer in central Oregon, I grow organic vegetables for a CSA program and am transitioning my family hay/grain farm to organic. Our agricultural community is active and interested in organic and sustainable farming and a local food
    network has developed with the help of Western SARE.

    Demand is emerging locally for organic straw for composting and soil enhancement, organic grain to be used in a distillery opening in Bend and for organic grains to supply local bakeries and bulk-food groceries.

    This project will look at a systems approach to find an approach for raising organic grain that can take a producer through the transition to organic and into organic production. The project will use 25 certified transitional organic acres to test four intercropped annual legumes (shaftal clover, arrowleaf clover, sub clover, and black medic) and a biennial legume (sweet clover) interseeded with a soft white spring wheat (Alpowa).

    There will be three replications of 11 test plots and one control of mono-cropped wheat. Among data collected will be weed samples, weed and legume interaction with wheat, nitrogen uptake and yield, protein and test weight.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Find a cover crop that provides nitrogen for grain production without overwhleming the grain. This will be measured by soil and bio assay tests before, during and after the field test as well as by measuring grain yield, protein and test weight from various test strips.

    2. Determine which cover crop provides the best competition for weeds, measured by transect data taken for weed count throughout the field test.

    3. Share with our agricultural community a cost-effective systems approach for growing organic grain through websites, newsletters, a field day and fact sheets.


    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.