Monday, November 2, 2009: 11:00 AM
Convention Center, Room 323, Third Floor
Development of sustainable cropping systems relies heavily on understanding numerous and complex interactions among plant, soil, water, and pests. Effects of cropping systems on these interactions often become evident slowly and only well-designed long-term experiments (LTEs) provide the environment for identifying and understanding the underlying processes. Funding for LTEs is a major challenge and the survival of the six Pendleton LTEs is due to the close cooperation between Oregon State University and the USDA-ARS. The oldest of the LTEs date to 1930 while the most recent was established in 1998. Static funding in recent years has challenged our ability to maintain these LTEs and ongoing budget reductions will further impact these LTEs. The LTE treatments were originally designed to answer specific production questions in the 1930’s and have been maintained with few changes since then. The relevance of certain treatments has been questioned in light of new technologies and practices. There is an inherent conflict between consistent management across many years compared to optimum management each year. Routine management of the LTEs is determined by the authors but major decisions are made a broad-based committee which has tended to result in relatively consistent management. Nonetheless, these LTEs have proven invaluable sources of information on questions such as C sequestration, soil erosion, and N leaching. Other challenges include: integrating routine farming operations on the LTEs into overall station farm management, determining access to data and resulting authorship, and determining whether a management change is routine or a major change.