No-till Livestock-Grain Rotation for Diversified Farms

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2006: $125,122.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Matching Federal Funds: $13,737.00
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $8,997.00
Region: Western
State: Washington
Principal Investigator:
Stephen Bramwell
Washington State University
Lynne Carpenter-Boggs
Washington State University

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: wheat
  • Animals: bovine, sheep


  • Animal Production: free-range, grazing - multispecies, pasture fertility, grazing - rotational
  • Crop Production: conservation tillage
  • Education and Training: technical assistance, demonstration, display, networking, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, feasibility study, agricultural finance, whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, soil stabilization
  • Pest Management: cultural control
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, holistic management, integrated crop and livestock systems
  • Soil Management: earthworms, organic matter, soil analysis, nutrient mineralization, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    Farmers in the Palouse region of Washington and Idaho are well aware of the limitations of the current intensive tillage wheat-based system. Members of our work group suggest that a lack of alternatives can largely explain the persistence of limited conventional cropping systems. Fortunately, the use of ecologically based management strategies that incorporate key agroecosystem design principles (ADPs) provides opportunities to increase the sustainability of wheat cropping in the region (Matson et al., 1997). The proposed research will improve the adoption of alternative practices by (1) comparing alternative systems including an integrated livestock-cereal system, (2) developing management models and materials for specific systems, (3) assessing the economic and environmental benefits of these systems, and (4) networking and providing technical support. The ADPs that characterize our proposed alternative systems will include integrated livestock-cropping systems (hereafter referred to as integration), perennial versus annual grain cropping, low disturbance systems, and diversified cropping systems. The need to re-integrate livestock into cropping systems has been widely acknowledged for its potential for income diversification, to increase the productivity of land, and for weed control. In addition to incorporation of integrated cropping systems on two producer-collaborator farms, this research will assess four alternative cropping treatments in three replications at a controlled research site, including (1) a wheat-based no-tillage perennial polyculture, (2) a native grass (CRP) community, (3) a non-integrated, low disturbance organic cropping system, and (4) an organic, integrated wheat-livestock cropping system.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Form a producer-researcher-extension work group to assess and develop wheat-pasture systems for the wheat-farming region in Washington and Idaho.

    Utilize this working group to identify locally relevant goals, needs, impediments, and potential solutions concerning cereal-pasture systems

    Build upon previous and ongoing SARE-funded research to further adapt/develop cereal-livestock management practices for the Palouse region of Washington and Idaho. Describe at least two integrated cereal-livestock systems appropriate for trials PCFS and local farm sites

    Compare soil quality and environmental impacts of four management treatments at the PCFS, consisting of integrated organic cereal-livestock, non-integrated organic minimum-disturbance cereal, CRP, and perennial polyculture cropping systems

    Develop comparative nutrient and operating budgets in a WSU Cooperative Extension business report format (Hinman and Schirman, 1997)

    Develop comparative energetic analyses of alternative cropping systems, using energy accounting, to determine energy efficiency of our four cropping systems

    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.