Optimizing Amendment and Seeding Rate for Heritage Spring Wheat Production in Western Washington

Project Overview

FW19-353
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2019: $19,432.00
Projected End Date: 04/01/2021
Grant Recipient: Barn Owl Bakery & Heritage Grains
Region: Western
State: Washington
Principal Investigator:
Nathan Hodges
Barn Owl Bakery & Heritage Grains

Commodities

  • Agronomic: wheat

Practices

  • Crop Production: cover crops, fertilizers, food product quality/safety

    Summary:

    Optimizing Amendment and Seeding Rate for Heritage Spring Wheat Production in Western Washington. 

    Western Washington millers, brewers, bakers and farmers seek to expand local production of high quality novel and heritage grains (Banse 2018). Producers seeking to grow specialty grains lack information to support production methods and mitigate risk. Little work has been done on the agronomics of grain production in western Washington and regional research focuses on conventional production systems.  Barn Owl Bakery and Heritage Grains seeks financial support and support from a technical advisor to expand their self-funded grain and baking trials to address key production questions and share lessons learned with regional producers.  

    San Juan County,  a group of islands in the Puget Sound of western Washington has a rich history of agriculture. Today grains are the largest acreage of certified organic crop production in San Juan County and local craft bakeries throughout the islands are interested in sourcing local and regionally grown wheat. Barn Owl Bakery and Heritage Grains will plant Halland, a Swedish landrace standard height hard red spring wheat that has been grown on Lopez Island for 4 years. An assessment of seeding rates, compost top dressing post seeding, and organic fertilizer amendment on spring wheat agronomic performance, the biomass of wheat and weeds, soil quality and wheat end use quality will be conducted. Findings will be shared utilizing Barn Owl’s well established community connections, strong social media network, field days, farm tours, and regional grains conferences. This project combines the expertise of an established bakery with the science of grain production linking field methods to the qualities of the grain in the bread in an established and experienced project team already serving the region. This creative applied research and outreach project will help inform the continued expansion of local and regional grain production and inform utilization by craft bakeries.

    Project objectives:

    In order to address the challenge of improving the quality and quantity of landrace, ancient, or heritage grains in low-input organic systems grown in western Washington we will conduct applied research and outreach relating to six primary objectives.

     

    1. Measure impact of seeding rate, compost application, and organic fertilizer amendment on spring wheat agronomic performance.
    2. Measure impact of seeding rate, compost application, and organic fertilizer amendment on weed biomass and cover.
    3. Measure impact of seeding rate, compost application, and organic fertilizer amendment on soil quality.
    4. Measure impact of seeding rate, compost application,  and organic fertilizer amendment on spring wheat end use quality.
    5. Encourage novel organic grain production for craft millers, brewers and bakers by illuminating risks and benefits.
    6. Quantify producer adoption impacts using before-and-after questionnaires.
    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.