Organic Conservation Tillage Production Systems in the Palouse Thesis uri icon



  • Thesis (M.S., Plant, Soil and Entomological Sciences)--University of Idaho, June 2014 | Organic, reduced-till (ORT) dryland cropping systems show potential for economic viability while meeting soil health and conservation needs in the hilly, highly erodible Palouse soils of northern Idaho and eastern Washington. To investigate impacts on soil health, we measured chemical, physical and biological indicators in replicated plots allocated to two ORT cropping systems and one non-organic no-till system after five years of crop rotations. Positive changes in biological and chemical properties were observed under organic compared to conventional management, while physical properties remained similar despite greater disturbance in the organic systems. Based on ORT research trials, economic feasibility was assessed through a cost of production analysis for integrating 100 acres of ORT crop production into a 2,000 acre non-organic dryland farm. A five-year alfalfa-wheat and a three-year wheat-pea hay crop rotation show potential for economic profitability. Field scale research is suggested before ORT practices are suggested for regional commercial operations.

publication date

  • June 1, 2014