What’s up with the mow job and flags at Beaverton Marsh Preserve off Roche Harbor Road? Well no, it’s not an airstrip, but yes, it IS an exciting, collaborative, agricultural research trial! Your Conservation Land Bank, along with WSU San Juan County Extension Office, and San Juan Islands Conservation District (SJICD), are partnering on several trials associated with pasture forage enhancement.
WSU has been conducting field trials in this location since 2017; however, the latest, very visible trial off Roche Harbor Road is unique in that it is utilizing the no-till seed drill provided by SJICD. The goal of the no-till seeder is to introduce more desirable species into pastures and hay fields with minimal soil disturbance. To give the new desired seedlings a leg up, the area is mowed, or grazed short, which temporarily suppress’ existing species. The Preserve was seeded in late September with a mix of grasses and legumes, such as perennial rye grass and New Zealand clover. In addition to the seeding, these trials are looking at the effects of a range of soil amendments on forage quality.
To learn more about improving forage quality, be sure to register for WSU’s “Hay Field Improvement Workshop” THIS FRIDAY, October 11. Click HERE for more details.