COARC Research Success Stories

OSU Research on Carrot Seed Finds Ways to Improve Yields and Reduce Fertilizer Costs

In support of the region’s seed industry, OSU Extension crop and soil scientists conduct research on the nutrient needs of carrot seed crops grown in central Oregon. Research findings indicate that carrots for high value specialty seed crops require less fertilizer to get good yields than previously thought. The result is lower fertilizer costs, high yields and less water pollution. More than 90 percent of central Oregon carrot seed growers have adopted OSU research-based recommendations.

Marvin Butler, Jefferson County Extension Crop Scientist and John Hart, OSU Extension Soil Scientist.


OSU Researcher Evaluates Drip Irrigation on Carrot Seed

Research by Jefferson County OSU Extension crop scientists shows that drip irrigation on high value carrot seed crops in central Oregon reduces water use, increases seed yields and germination of the seed, and may reduce disease. Increased efficiency with drip irrigation can reduce water use by 50 percent, while increasing seed yields by 20 percent or more. Just as important to growers, germination rates are consistently 4 percent higher with drip irrigation. Drip irrigated seed is more marketable and brings higher prices to local growers. Since 2001, nearly 40 percent of the carrot seed acreage in central Oregon has been shifted to drip irrigation.

Marvin Butler, Jefferson County Extension Crop Scientist.


Jefferson County Researchers Work to Reduce Flammable Exotic Grasses on Rangelands

OSU Extension in Jefferson County is working with the county’s noxious weed control program to evaluate and reduce range fuel loads and fire hazards. An OSU Extension crop scientist is helping investigate control methods for the exotic, fire-carrying, non-native grasses medusa head and cheat grass on central Oregon rangelands. The search is on for weed control products that do not harm the more fire resistant native bunchgrasses, but remove the more flammable annual weedy grasses. Tests look promising. Plans for evaluating seeding methods and native grass species for restoration situations are underway. This work will help suppress the spread of wildfires and restore the sage steppe ecology of eastern Oregon.

Marvin Butler, Jefferson County Extension Crop Scientist and Floyd Paye, Jefferson County Weed Control Program.


Jefferson County Extension, COARC Help Plan Strategy for Puncturevine Control

Puncturevine, classified as a noxious weed in most eastern Oregon counties by the Oregon Department of Agriculture, is a prickly nuisance due to the stiff and sharp spiny burs on seeds of the plant. It infests pastures, crop fields and roadsides, and the spiny seeds can cause injury to the mouths and digestive tracts of livestock. The Jefferson County office of the OSU Extension Service and the OSU Central Oregon Agricultural Research Center (COARC) partnered with county agencies in conducting research that identified a soil-active herbicide as an effective control agent for preventing the spread of puncturevine plant populations. This information resulted in wider adoption in central Oregon of the soil-active herbicide imazapyr for puncturevine control. Application of this product for control of roadside puncturevine infestations in Jefferson County costs approximately $63 per mile compared to $189 per mile for an alternative control agent. As a result, puncturevine control recommendations made by the Jefferson County Extension office and COARC significantly reduced puncturevine control costs, making possible a savings of $23,000 in Jefferson County funds in 2008.

Rich Affeldt, Jefferson County Crop Scientist


Lowering the Cost of Alfalfa Establishment

Seed costs are generally considered to be one of the lowest input costs associated with establishing an alfalfa field. But, in recent years, seeding rates have increased, and now with the recent release of Roundup Ready® alfalfa, the cost of seed has increased 200-300 percent. Research at the COARC has shown that under good management, seeding rates can be reduced without sacrificing yield. If a good seed bed is prepared and irrigated properly, there is no statistical yield difference between 6 to 25 lb/acre pure-live-seed of alfalfa planted after 5 years of production. There is a physical quality difference for higher seeding rates, resulting in an increased number of stems per square foot produced for the first three years of a 3-cut and 4-cut management system.Depending upon the situation, producers can reduce seed input costs by as much 50-60 percent, by planting a reduced seeding rate under good to excellent management. Twelve to 15 lb/acre is still a more than adequate alfalfa seeding rate.

Mylen Bohle and Rhonda Simmons


Umatilla Russet: A Potato Variety with Resistance to Net Necrosis

Umatilla Russet was initially selected as a seedling in Powell Butte in 1984 and released by the TriState Potato Variety Development Program in 1998. It is now the sixth most widely grown potato variety in the United States. This improved potato variety yields 21% more U.S. No. Ones than Russet Burbank under approximately the same fertilizer regime, has 10% less hollow heart/brown center than Russet Burbank and is immune to net necrosis, a tuber flesh blemish caused by leafroll virus infection. These improvements have resulted in an estimated additional $16.3 million in farm gate value for the 2007 crop.


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