Western SARE From the Field

Western SARE From the Field

Western SARE From the Field

Curious about a particular topic? Search all SARE products in the Learning Center.

Land Management Training for America's Fastest Growing Farmer Group

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

SARE-funded extension specialists in 42 states are making homestead farmers better stewards of their land.

Water Use of Wine Grapes in the Granitic Soils of the Fair Play Wine Region in the Sierra Foothills

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Vineyard managers in Fair Play, California looked for a way to increase the efficiency of their water applications.

Montana Ranchers Embrace New Winter Forage

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

For ranchers, Montana's first state-recommended winter wheat variety is a livestock forage with multiple benefits. 

Wiser Wine: California Grape Growers Adopt Innovative System to Evaluate Sustainability

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

California's massive winegrape industry is growing more sustainable, thanks to the efforts of groups like the Central Coast Vineyard Team.

New Mexico Grower Saved by the Sun

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Don Bustos has used solar energy to cut his winter greenhouse heating bill to almost nothing.

Rural Revitalization through Farm-Based Enterprise

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

For decades, John Allen has helped farmers develop business skills and strategies, improving their profitability and helping to revitalize rural communities.

Vegetables All Year in Northern New Mexico

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Thanks to the effort of two New Mexico State University faculty members and a SARE grant, the farmers of northern New Mexico are finding that vegetables can be successfully grown year-round more....

Low-Till Forage Production

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Jeff Mitchell of the University of California Kearny Agricultural Center, was awarded a Western SARE Professional + Producer Grant to evaluate and refine strip-till and no-till planting systems for corn forage production and no-till drill winter forage planting at the San Joaquin Valley in terms of crop establishment, weed control and profitability.

Pollinator Conservation

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

As the Xerces Society implements their Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Courses in the Western Region, they are already showing signs of impact and interest among their targeted audience....

Teaching Cattle to Eat Sagebrush

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Nevada rancher Agee Smith is using a farmer/rancher grant to add sagebrush to his cattle's diet, which has the potential to lower winter feed costs while improving rangeland biodiversity. 

Successful Launching of Wyoming Reservation Farmers Market

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Because of high obesity and diabetes rates and a lack of locally-grown foods on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Washakie, Wyoming, Justine Russell launched her PDP-funded project with the goal of increasing awareness of the potential for a farmers market on the Reservation. In less than two years, she and her partners accomplished so much more than increasing awareness.

Behind Regional Distribution Success

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

University of California researchers are discovering the keys to success for regionally based supply chains, which play a major role in vibrant local food systems.

Curriculum Helps USDA Build Bridge to American Indians

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

A landmark curriculum that helps USDA professionals better serve American Indians is being widely adopted throughout the West, and garnered its writers USDA’s 2011 National Extension Diversity Award.

Perennial Forage Revitalizes Rangeland

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Pervasive cheatgrass has long posed a threat to ranchers and their communities in the Intermountain West, but there is new hope in forage kochia, a perennial shrub with the potential to improve grazing and biodiversity.

Camelina's Potential in the High Plains

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Dr. Bret Hess' research looking at camelina as an alternative seed crop for biofuels and as feedstock will give producers the information and tools they will need to make decisions around adding camelina to their operation when fuel prices do rise again. Read more...

Developing Regional Agritourism Networks

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Shermain Hardesty and Penny Leff of the University of California Small Farm Program see an opportunity in agritourism to increase and diversify profits for producers, given the increased public demand for local foods and for education about local farms and ranches...

Creating a Tribal Farm

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

When Fara Ann Brummer of Warm Springs Oregon began her SARE-funded project, Cropland Planning Group, her original intent was for the group to focus on one piece of tribal land and produce a well-thought out plan as an exercise. What happened in addition to this is that the group took on a life of its own through the middle phase of the project and gained immense tribal support to start a farm. Read more...

Stitching Together a Region's Prosperity, Nutrition and Sustainability

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

The San Joaquin Valley of California is one of the most productive and diverse agricultural areas in the country. However, Daniel O’Connell of the Sequoia Riverlands Trust (SRT), along with local producers, gathered data that identified challenges in building a healthier regional food system.  These challenges, similar those many other regions face, included  lack of infrastructure to provide for adequate distribution channels, minimal awareness by consumers about where and how to access product in the region,  land use decisions on the urban-rural edge that impacted farmers with pressures that drove up land and production costs, and the Valley’s disconnect from broader, statewide food systems thought, policy changes and economic benefits from localized trends like value-added processing.

Water Use Efficiency in Tomatoes

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

This research project demonstrated that higher water use efficiency is possible with irrigation reductions of at least 25% in on-farm trials, with no affect on yields and fruit quality. This reduction could help keep ag land in production, especially in drought years

Exploring Energy Efficiency and Alternatives Curriculum

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

To increase producers’ knowledge of energy issues, the “E3A Project” created energy education resources targeted at meeting the needs of producers and ag professionals by developing materials, web-based tools, an in-depth energy training and educational toolkits.

Rehabilitating Degraded Grasslands with Managed Grazing

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Steve Van Vleet found that properly managing grasslands with mob grazing significantly helped regenerate the vegetation and improve species diversity. 

Compost Training for Ag Professionals

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Composting is an example of an ecosystems service, and one that has potential to serve a variety of needs, including: waste reduction and diversion, soil enhancement, renewable sources of organic fertility, water conservation and carbon sequestration. In spite of interest in composting over the past decade, the project leaders saw significant untapped promise for agriculture to play a role in appropriate conversion of organic matter. Furthermore, questions remain. To address these questions, the Center for Sustainability developed a successful training program integrating the award-winning Maine curriculum with Cal Poly’s range of expertise and resources and established a number of collaborative partnerships that has resulted in research and educational programs within the Cal Poly Compost Project that surpass the scope of the grant.

Meeting the Need for Livestock Mortality Alternatives

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

With traditional methods of handling dead livestock either becoming more costly or falling under closer scrutiny, a team of researchers from four Western states developed in-depth training materials on livestock composting, an alternative disposal method.

Nurturing a Culture Shift in School Cafeterias

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

A network of school gardens in Bellingham, Wash., is helping strengthen ties between local farmers and school food service administrators.

Integrated Production Systems in Micronesia

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

According the Dr. Virendra Verma, College of Micronesia - FSM, there is a crucial need to increase agricultural production in Micronesia by generating the ability to successfully raise livestock and grow food and feed crops for sustenance. This can be accomplished by training local farmers in appropriate and skillful use of sustainable and integrated agriculture systems.

Assessing Direct and Indirect Interactions between Insect and Plant Pathogens and Their Impact on Insect Herbivores

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

The diversity found in irrigated vegetable crops in Arizona and Southern California, along with high temperatures and dry conditions, provides an ideal habitat for a number of insect pests, including lepidopterans. Management of these major pests primarily involves chemical pesticides. The use of these pesticides has created several problems, including insecticide resistance, outbreaks of secondary pests, decrease of biodiversity, and other effects of environmental concern. For this reason, the search for environmentally-friendly strategies for pest management is important.

Potential of Managing Iron and Zinc Deficiency in Dry Beans with Interplanting of Annual Ryegrass

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Beans are the fourth most valuable crop in Wyoming, yet production has been limited by micronutrient deficiencies from high pH, low-organic-matter, and calcareous soils in the region. Specifically, iron deficiency causes interveinal chlorosis, which reduces the yield and quality of the beans. While a graduate student researcher in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Wyoming, Emmanual Omondi jumped on the opportunity to conduct interesting research that had potential to overcome iron deficiency chlorosis.

Sustainable Landscapes: Investigating the Landscape Scale Effects of Riparian Habitat on Natural Pest Control

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Agriculture can look to landscape diversity that includes riparian habitat to reduce run-off, improve water quality, and attract beneficial predators. However, there is little understanding of the effects of natural areas and landscape diversity on pests and pest predators. As species move between natural and agricultural areas, effects on the food webs in both habitats could occur. This could include changes in natural pests in agriculture. Therefore, how areas surrounding a farm affect the dynamics of natural biological control needs to be better understood.

Facilitating Integrated Weed Management in California Rice: Predicting E. spp. and C. difformis Emergence Across Heterogeneous Growing Environments

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

California rice growers face increasing problems with herbicide-resistant weeds in their fields. Previous research projects focused on ecologically-based integrated weed management approaches in a variety of cropping systems, but none focused on rice systems. In addition, previous projects included spatial modeling components or the creation of decision support tools, but, again, none included specific information on rice.

Promoting Native Bumblebees in Agricultural Systems for Conservation and Ecosystem Service

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Food production faces drastic impacts due to colony collapse disorder, which had resulted in the decline of the European honeybee. A decline in bees can threaten 75% of the world crop species. This has led to the search for alternate pollinators, such as native bees. Bumblebees (Bombus) can provide pollination services to native plant and crops; including some crops, such as tomatoes, which honeybees cannot. They can provide these services with relatively high efficiency.

Contributions to Pest Suppression through Predator Phenology and Functional Diversity

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Focusing on alfalfa in Utah, Erica Stephens’ goal in project was to understand how predator phenology and diversity can work to suppress pest populations. This understanding could lead to monitoring protocols using information obtained from the collection of beneficial insects to direct more informed decisions about pesticide application.

Developing a Management Plan for Reducing Thrips-Induced Damage on Timothy Hay

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Dominic Reisig’s project was part of a team effort involving cooperative research and extension personnel in California, the University of Nevada, Reno, and Washington State University to study thrips in Timothy Hay. To assist timothy growers, Reisig researched sampling protocol, treatment thresholds, and some overwintering ecology of thrips in California. The goal of the project was improving the economic and environmental benefits of growing timothy hay in a sustainable system.

Improving Rangeland in the Semi-Arid West

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Research by geneticist Dr. Blair Waldron, USDA-ARS Forage and Range Research Lab in Logan, Utah, has led to a better understanding of the positive uses of perennial shrubs (such as Forage Kochia) and grass-legume mixes in managing rangeland in the semi-arid west. His research will assist ranchers and land managers in decreasing invasive species, lessen damage from wildfires, reduce nitrogen fertilizer use and feeding costs, and increase environmental stewardship.

Impacts of Age on Residual Feed Intake and Its Effect on Reproductive Parameters and Profitability in Ewes

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Graduate student Rebecca Cockrum's Western SARE-funded project was the first to use the GrowSafe feed intake system with sheep to measure residual feed intake (RFI). Her project attempted to address one unmet need of the sheep industry – the reluctance to adopt RFI as a measure of feed efficiency, due to limited research.

Late Season and Overwintering Management of the Large Raspberry Aphid

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

In the Pacific Northwest, growers are facing damage by the raspberry leaf mottle virus (RLMV) which is transmitted by the large raspberry aphid. The virus causes symptoms of crumbly fruit, resulting in lowered fruit quality and reduced life of the field. Through this project, Pacific Northwest producers have been informed about aphid management during both fall and early spring.

Pest Control Services from Natural Habitat

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

With recognition of the risks of pesticides and a desire to reduce agriculture’s dependency on chemicals, there is an increased interest in enhancing communities of natural enemies of agricultural pests to provide a more sustainable means of pest control. More attention needs to be paid to the arthropod relationships at the interface of agricultural and natural systems. Rebecca Chaplin, a graduate student at UC Berkeley, questioned whether natural habitat near agricultural areas could provide resources for the natural enemies of agricultural pests.

Contamination of non-Bt Cotton Fields by Transgenic Bt Cotton

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

This Western SARE-funded project aimed to create a model that predicted the rate of Bt contamination increase in cotton fields based on cross-pollination and seed mixing and to design recommendations that would assist growers in protecting their fields from Bt contamination. Growers, extension agents, and others in the seed production industry learned about the top factors for seed contamination through an extension publication, along with strategies to limit contamination.

Soil Quality Network

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

For better or worse, land management decisions impact soil health. To support on-the-ground soil quality improvements, Theresa Matteson and her team created plans for two workshops to train ag professionals; a database for rating soil samples, generating farmer reports, and documenting activities and efforts; and a website to serve as a central hub for communication and resource distribution.

Agriculture, Water, and Institutions: An Investigation of Water Management Policy and its Effects on Water Use by Agriculture in Arizona

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

In the face of regional water policy aiming to reduce groundwater overdraft, graduate student Haley Paul was curious about how growers in the central Arizona desert make water use decisions and if there were recommendations to be made to enhance agricultural water sustainability.

Information Flows along the Beef Supply Chain: Information Exchange as a Strategy for Mitigating Increased Costs and Maximizing Producer Profits

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Due to information asymmetry in the beef supply chain, there is no communication system to identify the feed strategies that produce high quality beef with lower production costs. Sarah Lake, graduate student at the University of Colorado, considered that increasing the exchange of information throughout the beef supply chain could be a priority for the continued economic success of the beef industry. With better access to information, beef producers potentially could improve feed strategies and produce higher volumes of quality beef.

Reducing Drosophila suzukii Management Challenges: An Alternative to Insecticide Cover Sprays

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Berry and stone fruit growers are facing a new invasive pest that can cause yield losses of up to 80%; the spotted wing drosophila (SWD), Drosophila suzukii. To minimize crop losses, growers use repeated cover sprays of broad spectrum insecticides, and the number of applications has greatly increased since the arrival of SWD. It may be possible to lessen these problems by the use of border sprays, as the tractor and spray equipment travel around the edge of the field, and, if effective, reduce chemical use and alleviate risks to the environment and humans.

Understanding N Fixation by Legume Cover Crops in Organic Vegetable Systems

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Many organic vegetable growers on the central coast of California rely on winter legume cover crops such as bell beans and woollypod vetch for fertility management. Growers possibly could manage N more efficiently and lose less N to environment if they had a better understanding of how fixation values affect N cycling, including how much N is available and when for the following crop.

Ecosystem Services in Hedgerow Restorations: Pollination Function and Nesting Habitat

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Due to declines in honey bee populations, and drops in native bee numbers in some regions, there is increasing interest in on-farm practices that restore habitat-supporting pollination services. Hedgerows – field edge plantings of native shrubs and forbs – are commonly used to re-diversify agricultural areas as a means to strengthen ecosystem benefits.More knowledge about the efficacy of hedgerow restoration in providing availability of nesting resources, translating into more nesting bees, is essential.

Assessment of Riparian Management Practices in Northeastern Oregon

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

A serious impact of agriculture can be non-point source pollution, effecting water quality. Conservation easements have been perceived as an effective means of improving water quality. However, Melissa Scherr as a graduate student at Oregon State University, observed that their effectiveness is not well understood and maintains “if we are to promote good stewardship of agricultural lands, we must understand the utility of best management practices such as riparian conservation easements.”  To gain this understanding, Scherr considered that comparing the diversity and abundance of the endemic invertebrate fauna along the Umatilla could assist in determining the health of the system. The results of the project indicated that “the conservation easements in this area are having less success returning to a more ideal condition, and are still highly affected by the agricultural use on the adjacent landscape.”

Characterization of Soils Properties Associated with Suppression of Fusarium Wilt in Spinach Seed Crops and Development of a Quantitative Molecular...

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Oregon and Washington are ideal for spinach seed production, with long summer days, dry summers, and mild summer temperatures. The area’s growers faced the challenge in spinach seed production of Fusarium wilt (caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. Spinaciae) due to their acidic soils. According to Emily Gatch, graduate student at Washington State University, management tools were needed.

Sustainable Root Rot and Soil Management in Raspberry

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Ninety percent of processed raspberry acreage in the U.S. is found in the Pacific Northwest, with the majority in Skagit and Whatcom counties. By 2009, the length of harvestable plantings had declined as much as 50% due to Phytophthora root rot (PRR), plant pathogenic nematodes (PPN), and other factors. Growers were suspecting that current practices may have led to soil conditions that favored these pathogens. In her Western SARE-funded project, Sustainable Root Rot and Soil Management in Raspberry (GW09-021), Jessica Gigot aimed to develop a quantitative molecular assay for Pr in raspberry soil and roots and investigate alternatives to fumigation for pre-plant management of these pathogens.

Investigating the Legume Green Fallow Alternative on North-Central Montana No-Till Operations

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Legume green fallowing (LGF) possibly can reduce dependence on inorganic N inputs and improve soil quality in systems with the high N demands and summer fallow practices. However, Northern Great Plains wheat producers have historically rejected LGF due to reduced yields in subsequent wheat crops from stored soil water depletion. Montana State University researchers and graduate student Justin O’Dea saw that more recent innovations of early LGF termination and no-till practices could possibly strengthen LGF viability in the region, especially given improved management of stored soil water.

Determination of Gas Emissions from Manure Sources in Animal Feeding Operations

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Pakorn Sutitarnnontr successfully developed an automated multiplexing system for chamber-based monitoring of greenhouse and regulated gas emissions from manure sources which was used to examine spatial and temporal variability in emissions associated with manure management practices. After development of the system, Pakhorn measured gaseous emissions from AFOs in the Intermountain West to recommend site-specific BMPs.

Soil Community Structure, Function, and Spatial Variation in an Organic Agroecosystem

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Farmers are becoming increasingly interested in their soil’s biological status. Nitrogen mineralization, aggregate formation, and pathogen control, along with other soil biological processes, effect farm productivity and profitability. Graduate student Doug Collins believed that “a spatially-explicit research approach can strengthen our understanding of biological diversity and abundance and better connect those parameters to edaphic properties and biological functions.”

Enhancing the Potential for Sustainability through Participatory Environmental Assessment

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

The Gila Watershed Partnership, a multi-stakeholder group including farmers, ranchers, as well as representatives from federal, state, and local government agencies, municipalities and other concerned associations, agreed to work with a University of Arizona research team to develop and test a participatory assessment approach to effectively mitigate land degradation.

Confirmation of Riparian Friendly Grazing Project Results and Development of Achievable, Site Specific Reference Conditions for Grazed Riparian Areas

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Building on a previously funded Western SARE project, Kenneth Tate and his team led this project to develop grazing recommendations based on the previous research and share those recommendations with ranchers, public land managers, and others involved with California’s natural resources.

Developing a Handbook for Utilizing Livestock as a Tool in Noxious Weed Control in Nine Western States

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Researchers, ranchers, and land managers have recognized that livestock grazing can be a valuable and selective noxious weed management tool. In 2004, Jay Davison, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, found that known techniques had not been summarized into a useful format. This weakness had led to slow adoption of livestock grazing as a management tool. Davison and colleagues designed his project to summarize information concerning the use of livestock grazing to control important noxious weeds in nine western states, package the information in a readily useable format, and to disseminate the information to targeted audiences.

BEHAVE Facilitators’ Network

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Previous research, along with successful implementation by ranchers, demonstrated the potential for livestock behavior to be modified and managed to improve and restore pastures and rangelands. Kathy Voth and the project team based in Utah designed their project to address the need for more education about using livestock’s natural behavior to manage weeds and other vegetation. According to Voth, the project was developed to “continuously expand the network of trained, agriculture professionals to facilitate understanding and application of behavioral principles to increase environmental integrity, quality of life for people and animals, and economic viability of agricultural enterprises.”

Graduate Student Program From the Field

Short profiles of Western SARE-funded graduate student projects in action.

Improving Nutrient Use Efficiency in Montana Wheat

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

A Montana State University team used on-farm research to identify fertilizer application practices for wheat that can minimize volatilization, or atmospheric nutrient losses, saving the state's farmers millions of dollars per year. "This was a landmark study because we knew we were losing nitrogen, we just didn't know how we were losing it," says farmer Curtis Hershberger.

Economic Evaluation of Alternative (low-water use) Crops for the Great Basin

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Carol Bishop created the Western SARE Professional Development Program project Economic Evaluation of Alternative (low-water use) Crops for the Great Basin to “educate producers with pertinent information about alternative low-water-use crops and the associated decision-making tools developed to implement them.”

Water Management in Sonoma County Grape Production

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

According to Karen Thomas of the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, their regional wine grape growers needed “information on alternatives to frost protection using overhead sprinklers, on irrigation management strategies to reduce water use, and on Best Management Practices for water conservation when frost protecting and irrigating grape vines.” In order to provide this information, Thomas designed the Western SARE Professional + Producer project Water Management in Sonoma County Grape Production.

Native Habitat Restoration, Sustainable IPM, and Beneficial Insect Conservation

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

A key to improving the sustainability of IPM and CBC is a diversified, native habitat that contains resources for predators and parasitoids year-round. This can be accomplished by creating a farm landscape that mimics the habitat that existed before the vineyard and is attractive to beneficial arthropods. David James and his team in Washington obtained an extensive amount of information on the relative value of more than 100 flowering plant species in attracting beneficial insects, including predators, parasitoids, and pollinators. These species include Snowy Milkweed, Yarrow, Gray Rabbitbrush, among many others.

Training in Marine Ornamental Farming for Extension Professionals in Micronesia

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

According to Simon Ellis, director of the Marine and Environmental Research Institute of Pohnpei (MERIP), one of the most successful aquaculture enterprises in the FSM and RMI to date has been farming of marine ornamental invertebrates for supplying home aquariums in the United States and Europe. Ellis designed his Western SARE Professional Development Program project, “Training in Marine Ornamental Farming for Extension Professionals in Micronesia,” with the assumption that the marine ornamental aquaculture industry in Micronesia could be improved by better skills, knowledge, and communication between practitioners.

Evaluating the Potential of Oyster Mushroom Compost Waste for Plant-Parasitic Nematode Management

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Farmers in Hawaii manage plant-parasitic nematodes, which can cause significant yield losses in a number of crops, through the use of nematicides. Many farmers are looking for alternative methods for managing nematodes in the soil. Shelby Ching had learned that edible mushrooms, such as the oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus), have been known to create a toxin to incapacitate nematodes. She hypothesized that oyster mushroom substrate can be utilized in the management of nematodes in the soil. Ching developed this Western SARE Graduate Student project to develop an approach of nematode management using oyster mushroom compost waste that will be easily accessible to farmers, with an added benefit of the production of edible mushrooms.

Integrating Traditional Foods with Aquaponics in the Desert Southwest

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Farmer Aaron Cardona designed his project to research building a more affordable aquaponic system on his farm, which could be replicated by others in the region, creating an economic opportunity. The system would also produce culturally relevant food as a means of bringing back traditional foods into the local population’s diet; thus, improving the health of the community.

Managing A Challenging Subterranean Clover Pest: Sustainable Control Using Insect Pathogens

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

When attacked by the clover root borer, red clover can only be raised for two years due to the reduction in yield, causing economic hardship. According to Oregon State University graduate student Anis Lestari, “Insect pathogens provide an effective means of suppressing pests but have received less attention compared with other biological control agents. For pests that develop below ground, insect pathogens may offer the best management option.” As a student, she developed this Western SARE project with the goal to investigate the virulence of insect pathogens against the clover root borer.

Western Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Course

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

To provide information on habitat enhancements to ag professionals, Eric Mader of the Xerces Society developed the Professional Development (PDP) project “Western Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Course.” This project aimed to supply in-depth pollinator conservation training to farm educators and resource conservation professionals in 11 Western States.

Building Tools and Technical Capacity to Improve Irrigation and Nutrient Management on California's Central Coast

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Growers on the Central Coast of California face rising costs and increasing regulatory scrutiny due to implementation of Total Maximum Daily Load. Thus, many growers are seeking more sustainable and cost-effective irrigation and nutrient management strategies. 

Reducing Pacific Island Growers’ Reliance on Off-island Fertilizer Sources

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

At the Western SARE Hawaii sub-regional conference held in 2008, stakeholders identified replacing imported fertilizers with local resources as the highest research, education, and development priority. The cost of commercial fertilizer has risen along with oil prices, and thus, growers in the Pacific region are increasingly interested in obtaining locally available by-products that can be used as agricultural inputs. According to Theodore Radovich, University of Hawaii, possible inputs include commercial green-waste composts, rendered animal products (tankage), and invasive algae from coral reef remediation projects. These by-products are readily available, but bottlenecks exist that inhibit use and adoption by growers. To address the bottlenecks, Radovich developed this project to conduct a series of greenhouse and on-farm trials in cooperation with university faculty, commercial growers, and industry partners.

Management Practices and Cover Crops for Reducing Tillage, Enhancing Soil Quality, and Managing Weeds

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

When Douglas Collins, Washington State University, brought together a research and producer group, they identified a “lack of successful examples of reduced-till practices for systems similar to theirs and in the maritime Northwest climate” as a critical gap to making this system change. Producers were specifically interested in identifying species of cover crops to use in organic reduced-till systems; planting and termination timing for cover crops; weed management techniques; and field equipment necessary to adopt these systems.” Consequently, Collins and his team developed the project “Selecting Management Practices and Cover Crops for Reducing Tillage, Enhancing Soil Quality, and Managing Weeds in Western Washington” with the long-term goal to increase organic farmer economic and environmental sustainability in western Washington through soil conservation in reduced tillage systems.

Best Management Practices that Promote Sustainable Crop Pollination

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Katharina Ullmann, University of California Davis, designed her project “Best Management Practices that Promote Sustainable Crop Pollination: The Role of Crop Rotations and Tillage Depth" to explore how tilling and crop rotation practices impact an important pollinator of squash and pumpkin, the squash bee (P. pruinosa).

Pollinator Forage Development

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Farmer Heather Harrell and beekeeper Les Crowder of New Mexico recognized the need to develop conservation techniques to preserve the continued presence of honeybees and other pollinator species in both agricultural and wild lands, due to their collapsing populations. Research existed on the potential causes of the collapse; however, more information was needed on remediation. Organic producers, such Harrell and Crowder, had turned to the idea of building healthy habitats for pollinators in areas that are protected from environmental degradation. In 2011, Harrell and Crowder had NRCS funding to establish pollination hedges, but they did not have a viable list of plant species to use. The goal this project was to begin the process of identifying forage species which provide food and habitat for pollinators while serving as windbreaks, livestock forage, and nitrogen-fixing cover crops. They believed that “this will enable beekeepers and interested agricultural landowners with the knowledge to develop their lands in support of these diminishing populations.”

Marketing Opportunities of Conventional vs. GMO-free Broilers

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Farrmer Jared Pruch received numerous requests from his farmers’ market customers in Oregon to produce GMO-free poultry products. However, Pruch was uncertain of the economic viability of raising poultry with GMO-free feed. In order to determine the potential for his operation and other local poultry farmers, he conducted a cost-comparison study between raising Cornish cross broiler chickens on locally sourced, GMO-free feed versus conventional feed. He found that there was economic potential in providing consumers a GMO-free chicken.

Columbia River Basin Growers Learn their (Pest) Enemies

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

To manage pests, growers have to be able to identify them. They have to be able to recognize enemies – insects, weeds and diseases that will cause them economic harm – and realize that not all bugs or blotches on their plants are enemies. Some are allies – beneficial insects that prey on damaging pest – and others are neutral third parties that neither help nor harm the growers’ crops. Identification of pests and beneficials is one of the first principles of integrated pest management, and the core of a train-the-trainers program that’s been successfully improving the skills of young ag professionals in rural Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

Vegetable and Weed Degree-day Models

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Pest managers are familiar with the concept of using degree days to predict pest outbreaks. Insects, like many other organisms, develop according to the temperature around them and degree days are a way to measure accumulated temperature. Plants – at least in part – also develop based on temperature, so a team in Oregon is adapting a degree-day modeling system built for pest management to make a tool for vegetable growers to better plan their planting and harvesting dates.

Market Opportunities of Conventional vs. GMO-free Broilers

Type: Western SARE Grantee-Produced Info Product

Berggren Demonstration Farm (now Phoenix Farm Enterprises, Inc) performed a side-by-side comparison of pasture-raised Cornish Cross broilers fed on GMO-free feed vs. conventional feed. This project would help local poultry producers evaluate the viability of raising poultry with GMO-free feed.

Planting Flower Strips for Native Bees

Type: Western SARE Multimedia

Montana State University researchers discuss flower strips of nine native plants that provide habitat for native bees and an additional income source for farmers who can collect and sell the flower seeds.

 

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Energy Training Series

This series has been designed to provide educational training resources focused not only on the technical feasibility of bioenergy generation, but also on approaches and processes that assist communities in understanding the comprehensive implications of bio-based alternative energy.