- Crops & Livestock
- Pastures & Hay
- Soil & Water
- Processing & Marketing
- Farm Business Management
- Small Farms, Local Food, and COVID-19
As summer approaches and the soil dries, forage plants become dormant. Some years in drier areas of Oregon dormancy may begin in the late spring. If you have irrigation rights, your pastures can provide supplemental nutrition even during the dry summer months. Although this article target irrigated pastures many of the principles apply to other crops.
There are a number of irrigation methods used in Oregon, including flood, hand line, wheel line, gated pipe, little and big gun, linear, and pivot irrigation systems. The method of choice depends on the system that came with the farm, the size of the farm and the amount of labor, time and money available. Some small farms use solid set systems for pasture. These systems are efficient but require care to protect the pipe from the livestock.
Determining when to irrigate and how much water to apply are specialized tasks. Though many techniques exist, monitoring soil moisture may be the easiest irrigation scheduling technique. This technique can help you determine when to irrigate, whether irrigation periods are sufficiently spaced, and whether the proper amount of water is applied during each irrigation. See the resources for more information that the end of this article for a useful field test for estimating soil moisture. During the growing season, the soil should dry out to about 50% of the soil water hold capacity before it is irrigated back to its capacity. Water holding capacity is a determined by soil texture, organic matter content, and soil depth. The time between irrigations varies depending on the time of year. For instance, during spring in Central Oregon, the frequency of irrigation could be every two to three weeks; in the summer it could be every 5 days, depending upon the water holding capacity of the soil.
Moisture evaporates from the soil and plants are said to transpire, that is, they give off moisture through their leaves. Considered together, these two processes are referred to as evapotranspiration. Evapotranspiration or average daily water loss from the soil plant system varies by season. As you might guess, water losses are greater during the hot, dry, longer days of summer than at any other time of year.
If your goal only is to have a green pasture, irrigate whenever the weather is dry. If you irrigate for production, follow an irrigation management plan based on the infiltration rate, water-holding capacity of the soil, and amount of moisture lost to evapotranspiration. Use weather and soil information to ensure adequate but not excessive irrigation. This information is available for a variety of areas of Oregon through Agrimet (see for more information below). An irrigation specialist at the local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service office can provide help develop a water management plan.
Do not leave large livestock in the pasture while irrigating; they may damage equipment. To avoid plant damage and soil compaction, wait 3 or 4 days after irrigating before turning large livestock back onto pastures. As always, wait until the pasture is above 6 to 8 inches in height before grazing, and graze no shorter than 3 inches.
In this free introduction course, you will learn what exactly is "urban agriculture," along with essential definitions and concepts to help you get started on this exciting journey!
Throughout this intro course, you will explore some of the scholarly literature in the field of urban agriculture and investigate and record the basic requirements of your single chosen crop.
By the end, you will have a good understanding of urban agriculture and will know if you would like to continue in the series.
This course is part of ourOnline Urban Agriculture Program. Other courses in the series include:
You can take this course by ...Read full story.
This 3-video presentation revisits a live workshop by Susan Schoenian. Learn about SIPM-Sustainable Integrated Parasite Management in Goats and Sheep. Speaker: Susan Schoenian, Sheep and Goat Specialist at the University of Maryland's Western Maryland Research & Education Center. She represents the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control.
Gastrointestinal parasites of sheep and goats are becoming increasingly resistant to currently available commercial de-wormers. Parasite loads not only reduce performance, but can lead to animal death. When sold, infected animals may spread parasites to other pastures. Learn more sustainable methods at this presentation.
Access these three webinar presentations at the reduced price of $25. The links are listed on your registration confirmation. After you have watched the three presentations, contact Maud ...Read full story.
In this Urban Agriculture Systems online course you'll learn the foundational concepts needed to establish a productive growing space, especially within the confines of an urban environment. In this course, we will work through a number of aspects of site planning and management. You'll do a quick examination of your sites soil, practice fertility adjustment and balancing, and consider how your project fits within its social environment.
After completing this course, you'll be able to:
OSU Dry Farming Project
2020 Virtual Field Tour Series
Save the Dates
Mark your calendars! The 2020 Dry Farm Project field tours will be held on Wednesday mornings at 10:00AM in August and September. There will be nine field tours featuring different elements of the five core projects listed below. View more information and a final schedule once posted.
The Dry Farming Project began in 2013 with case studies of farms in Western Oregon and Northern California (coordinated by Community Alliance with Family Farmers) that dry farm a variety of fruit and vegetable crops. These case studies revealed a suite of management practices that support crop production without supplemental irrigation including: careful timing of tillage, early planting, cultivation or surface ...Read full story.
Enjoy an informative and entertaining look at historic and present-day techniques for extending your garden produce throughout the winter months. We will discuss plans for creating a root cellar, ideas for recycling spaces and containers, and specific conditions for various produce. Resource handouts will be provided, and there will be time for Q & A. Via ZOOM!
Presenter: Brief bio:
Tresa has lived in various climates and remote locations where the use of root cellars determined her quality of life after the autumn harvest and before the productivity of gardens in spring. From Glacier Bay, Alaska, a remote island on the Oregon coast to central Oregon high desert and 10,000-foot elevation in Colorado, she has practiced techniques gleaned from ...Read full story.
In 1980 Jack Gray and Mary Jo Wade started Winter Green Farm just 20 miles west of Eugene, five years later Wali and Jabrila Via joined them and in 2009 long-time employees Chris Overbaugh and Shannon Shipp-Overbaugh a...
Manure and bedding collects rapidly on most livestock farms, especially in the winter. Instead of pitching the waste out the back of the barn, consider turning the materials into a valuable, usable product. Compost. If an active compos...
As summer approaches and the soil dries, forage plants become dormant. Some years in drier areas of Oregon dormancy may begin in the late spring. If you have irrigation rights, your pastures can provide supplemental nutrition even duri...
Gophers are useful animals in the wild as they aerate the soil, eat insects and mix surface soil layers, but they are a nuisance on the farm when conflict surfaces between the farmer and the gopher over land use. Their economic impact...