A primary goal in developing environmentally sound and profitable farming systems has been to prevent soil degradation and erosion loss, and wherever possible, enhance soil quality through organic matter management. Conventional tillage practices currently used for vegetable production in the Willamette Valley involve from 5-8 passes over the field. For the past four years we have been working with vegetable growers in the Willamette Valley to develop an integrated system of vegetable production using winter annual cover crops and rotary strip- tillage.
The production of organic processing tomatoes requires large inputs of organic sources of nitrogen. Besides the addition of compost, manure, and other organic amendments, leguminous cover crops, grown during the winter, are important sources of nitrogen for a subsequent tomato crop. Present management of cover crops for tomato production generally requires significant amounts of tillage that may retard the improvement of physical and chemical properties of the soil.
Researchers from Washington State University have been breeding and selecting hulless food barley types for almost a decade with the goal of releasing high yielding, nutritious barley varieties in this novel market class. Now in the final stages of this project, they will work to identify the advanced breeding lines most adapted to organic farmers in Washington State and Northern Idaho. In addition, the researchers propose to develop a truly comprehensive nutritional evaluation and a flavor profile of