Variety Trial Report

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Dry Farming Collaborative Trial

Variety Trial Report, 2016-2018

Supported by USDA Northwest Climate Hub

By: Lucas Nebert and Amy Garrett


Materials and Methods

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Forty-five farms hosted variety trials in the maritime Pacific Northwest 2016 to 2018, ranging in latitude from Jacksonville in southern Oregon to Port Townsend on the upper Olympic Peninsula, WA. Of those 30 sites, 21 contributed data on varietal performance. The participatory nature and focus of project engaged growers in all aspects of these from planning through harvest. Guidelines were provided on soil prep and planting density, which growers then adapted to their site and equipment set up. Given the multiple people and sites involved over the 3 years these variety trials were conducted, there are a number of variables we could not control for across sites including soil types, fertility, wind, pests, etc. so a great deal of variability was expected.

Variety Selection

Three or more varieties of the following crops were selected tomato, winter squash, melon, zucchini, dry bean, flour corn. Varieties selected had a history of being dry farmed in northern California or the maritime Pacific Northwest, or were of interest to the Dry Farming Collaborative based on markets and qualities such as earliness and drought tolerance.

In addition to assessing what varieties do well dry farmed, having a diversity of sites and soil types dry farming the same crop varietals offers an opportunity for us also to start to assess over time which sites are more productive for dry farming.

Main/satellite trial design

An OSU research farm site served as a main trial each year with crop varietal replicated at least three times within that field. Grower participants chose which crop varietals and how many replicate(s) of each they wanted to try on their farm and shared data on their results which were compiled for this report.

Figure 1. Summary of yields per crop across 2017 and 2018.

Each dot represents the average yield of a 100 ft2 plot, scaled up to an acre. Each box encompasses the middle 50% of the data points, and the middle, horizontal line goes through the median (i.e., middle) data point.

Figure 2. Determinate Crops Raw Data Visualization

Each dot represents the average yield of a 100 ft2 plot, scaled up to an acre. Each box encompasses the middle 50% of the data points, and the middle, horizontal line goes through the median (i.e., middle) data point. Data is broken up to distinguish between OSU research sites and DFC participant sites.

A. Dry Beans


B. Field Corn


C. Winter Squash


Figure 3. Indeterminate Crops Raw Data Visualization

A. Melon


B. Tomato


C. Zucchini


Figure 4. Grower Feedback on Variety Performance

Figure 4. Based on the question, "Would You Dry Farm this Variety Again?", varieties were plotted based on the percentage of respondents who would dry farm the variety again (vertical axis), and the number of overall votes for each variety (horizontal axis).

Supplementary Material


Variety Details