WSU Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center

Organic & Integrated Tree Fruit Production

Thursday, October 18, 2018

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9952. Zahradnik, F.. 1983. He nets $60,000 a year without buying fertilizer.. The New Farm, March/Apr 1983, p.22-24..
Don Lambert of Cheney, Washington, has not had any synthetic fertilizers used on his 780-acre farm since his family began farming it three generations ago. Yet the farm consistently produces 65 to 70 bushels of winter and spring wheat per acre. His farm also has up to four times less rill erosion than neighboring fields. Lambert's independence from fertilizer and the reduced erosion are due the use of Austrian winter pea as a green manure every third year in his rotation. He plants this cover crop in April and lets it grow until late July or early August. If spring wheat is to follow, he plows just enough to leave a heavy surface residue to protect against winter erosion. A soil test following Austrian winter pea showed enough nitrogen for 84 bushels of wheat per acre. The cover crop builds organic matter content of the soil, helps control weeds, and researchers believe it somehow unlocks phosphorus from the soil, making it more available to following crops.

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