- Additional Plants: meadowfoam
- Crop Production: conservation tillage
- Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
- Farm Business Management: whole farm planning
- Pest Management: cultural control, economic threshold, field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management
- Production Systems: general crop production
- Soil Management: soil analysis
Meadowfoam is an oilseed crop and a key to diversification in the grass seed cropping systems in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. In addition to growing for meadowfoam seed yield, many grass seed growers view meadowfoam as a key rotational crop to control weeds and pathogens in their grass seed fields. On the winter saturated/flooded soils in the south Willamette Valley, meadowfoam is currently one of few options other than another season of grass seed production. Reducing production costs, key to increase farm sustainability in many cropping systems, is even more significant for meadowfoam growers. As co-owners of the meadowfoam growers cooperative (OMG), growers are not paid for the seed they produce until the oil from that year’s crop is sold. Currently, this means that the capital the producers spent to produce the crop is not returned until 1.5 to 2 years after the crop is grown. Traditionally meadowfoam is planted into a plowed or disked seedbed. This requires planting before the onset of heavy fall rains in late October. No-till (or broadcast) planting meadowfoam later in the fall provides an avenue to reducing production costs and improving weed control. Our data from past years (Fund for Rural America Grant, WSARE) show that late planted no-till meadowfoam produces yields equal to, and sometimes greater than, the traditionally planted crop. Straw from the previous grass seed crop traditionally has to be managed through field burning, baling, or plowing. Further cost saving can be realized once we determined that meadowfoam can be no-till through a full-straw load that has been flailed in summer and left to settle until planting in mid to late fall Our grower survey, part of the previous WSARE grant, revealed that growers place their trust in a variety of information sources, and that university researchers were necessarily not high on that list. Interactions among growers, their respective experiences with new establishment methods, and on–farm trials ranked higher on that list. We are using farmer-to-farmer interactions as our key to spreading the use of the new establishment methods. Producer involvement will be to help choose their farm-appropriate entries, design and execute the field layout and field tasks, serve as co-presenters at field days, and serve as ‘new practices innovators.’ The primary objective of this project is to work with additional growers, who will act as sources of information and experience on no-till practices.
Project objectives from proposal:
I) Determine if seed and oil yields of late planted no-till or broadcast meadowfoam, and full straw load plantings, compare to yields from traditionally planting meadowfoam.
2) Determine if weed and insect pest populations are lower in late planted meadowfoam.
3) Document production cost savings from the new establishment methods for each farm.
4) Improve producer skills in: 1) producing meadowfoam using the new establishment practices, 2) managing their nitrogen fertilizer program and meadowfoam fly (MFF) control, and 3) economic analysis of production costs and returns.
5) Develop grower educational products through collaborations with the Director of Production/Research for the OMG - Meadowfoam Oil Seed Growers cooperative and the meadowfoam producers.