Dry Farm Melon Production in Oregon

Project Overview

OW22-369
Project Type: Professional + Producer
Funds awarded in 2022: $74,583.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2024
Grant Recipient: Oregon State University
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Principal Investigator:
Dr. ALEXANDRA STONE
Oregon State University
Co-Investigators:
Andy Gallagher
Red Hill Soil
Amy Garrett
Oregon State University Small Farms Extension
Lane Selman
Oregon State University

Commodities

  • Fruits: melons

Practices

  • Crop Production: varieties and cultivars
  • Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research
  • Production Systems: dryland farming

    Proposal abstract:

    Farmers in the west are increasingly affected by reductions in summer irrigation availability due to early and reduced snowmelt and increased temperatures and drought. In addition, some farmers have no or limited water rights. This project is integrated with and led by the Dry Farming Collaborative, a group of farmers, extension educators, and agricultural professionals partnering to increase knowledge and awareness of dry farming practices. The project will support farmers in the production of melons without supplemental irrigation (dry-farming), by engaging farmers in project development and evaluation, identifying productive varieties and/or rootstock/scion pairs in research station and on-farm trials, promoting dry-farmed melons, engaging other farmers in project, and evaluating project outcomes. Drought-tolerant melon germplasm and grafting of diverse melon types will be evaluated for fruit productivity and quality. Farmers will be engaged through the Dry Farming Collaborative Facebook group, listserve, field days, workshops, and winter meetings, as well as an extension bulletin. Outcomes will be identified through paper and online evaluations at project end. This project will reduce summer irrigation water use and thereby increase in-stream flows for aquatic organisms, and enhance farm system resilience to climate change. It will eliminate the need for costly and energy intensive irrigation systems, increasing profitability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It will allow farmers on lands with no or limited irrigation rights to grow profitable crops with little to no risk, thereby increasing profitability and quality of life.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Objective 1: Engage farmers in development, delivery and evaluation of project

    Objective 2: Identify productive dry-farm melon varieties and/or rootstock/scion pairs

    Objective 3: Evaluate the effect of planting density on yield

    Objective 4: Market and promote dry-farmed melons

    Objective 5: Engage other farmers in project outcomes

    Objective 6: Evaluate project outcomes

    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.