Research

Creating Climate Resilient Organic Systems by Enhancing Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Associations

While the majority of carrots are cultivated in California, recent droughts and water use restrictions may impact the success of future crops. Even in states such as Wisconsin, where water is more abundant, crops still must overcome oscillating soil moisture regimes due to differences in soil drainage, water-holding capacity, and microclimate conditions, as well as the anticipated drier summers which are predicted to increase with climate change.

A New Approach for Successful Organic Peach Production in the Southeast

The production of organic peaches is extremely difficult under the humid conditions of the Southeast due to high pest and disease pressures, and the lack of effective, organically approved pesticides. Consequently, only very few growers have taken the risk and transitioned into organic peach farming. This proposal aims to provide growers in the Southeast with a new tool to reduce the risk of transitioning to organic production of peaches. This strategy consists of the use of paper bags to physically protect the fruit from pests and diseases to reduce reliance on spray applications.

Developing integrated Irrigation Management Strategies to Improve Water and Nutrient Use Efficiency of Organic Processing Tomato Production

This project aims at developing integrated irrigation practices that capitalize on soil health to improve the efficiency of irrigation water and decrease pest pressure and potential N losses of California organic processing tomato production. The current drought has dramatically decreased irrigation water allocated to organic tomato growers and there is an urgent need to test new irrigation strategies that reduce water inputs while maintaining product quality, nutrient supply and high productivity levels.

Field Evaluation of Designed Compost Extracts for Organic Weed Suppression

Organic vegetable growers need practical and cost-effective technology to reduce weed pressure and yield losses. In 2013-2014, OFRF funded Dr. Gladis Zinati at the Rodale Institute to perform laboratory and greenhouse trials on the weed suppressing ability of chemically- and biologically-designed compost extracts (DCE). Dr. Zinati found that DCEs with lower nitrate levels and greater nematode-to-protozoa ratios significantly reduced lambsquarter weed seed germination by 32% without affecting crop seed percent germination.

Development of Corn Borer-Resistant Corn for Organic Farming Systems

Summary

Investigator: Dave Christensen, Seed We Need, Big Timber, Montana
Project locations: Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Wisconsin
Related links: Dave Christensen talks about his breeding work in 2009. Listen»

Beef cattle finishing in summer/fall in a strip cropping system

In this project, we finished Texas longhorn beef cattle on the Sunshine Farm by using polywire (temporary electric fence) to break-feed crop residues and forages in a narrow strip cropping system without supplemental feed. To close the nutrient cycle between cattle and crops, the project was recommended February 1995 by the seven-member Farmer Advisory Committee for the Sunshine Farm.

Controlling gastrointestinal parasites of livestock with organic materials

A one-year project grant to Practical Farmers of Iowa to research livestock gastrointestinal parasite management resulted in a five-year series of experiments during which attention shifted from commercial botanical mixtures to single-ingredient botanical materials. The end of this period sees renewed interest in the role of management, as results of natural anthelmintics have been variable at best and largely disappointing. Our research results have also pointed to difficulties of collecting reliable data from these on-farm trials.

Forage Brassicas as a Component of Organic Production Systems

Objectives Statement

A. To identify organic farming systems that will benefit from the introduction of brassicas. B. To gather farmer input on the practical concerns regarding incorporating forage brassicas into their grazing and cropping practices. C. To evaluate the effects of brassicas on soil nutrients and subsequent nutrient uptake by crops.

Feeding beef cattle to produce healthier and highly acceptable beef

Objectives

1. Determine the differences in CLA content of organic beef produced by cattle that are grass-finished with minimal grain to that from cattle that are conventionally grainfinished. 2. Determine the time required for cattle to grade at least low choice when finished by the two finishing systems. 3. Determine the economic differences between the two finishing systems. 4. Determine the profitability of marketing grass-finished cattle through Organic ValleyCROPP. 5. Determine eating quality of beef produced by the two finishing systems.

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