Research

Effects of organic alternatives for weed control and ground cover management on tree fruit growth, development and productivity

Organic fruit production in the US, especially the western regions, is expanding. The increase is occurring for both economic and ecological reasons. Current market conditions dictate that organic apple growers produce large, flavorful, high quality fruit. Large, high quality fruit receive price premiums and market acceptance whereas small fruit can be difficult to sell, even at lower prices. To grow large fruit, trees must be unstressed and provided with adequate water and nutrition. Weeds can compete with fruit trees for both water and nutrients.

Targeted Mowing to Increase Allelopathy of Rye Cover Crop in a Tomato Production System

This project examined whether targeted mowing of winter rye cover crop (Secale cereale L.) would increase its weed suppression ability by increasing levels of rye’s major allelochemicals, Hydroaxamic acids (Hx), and subsequently increase crop yield in an organic tomato production system. The project was conducted on organic farms in Upper Marlboro (2003), and Beltsville (2004), Maryland, using a rye cover crop that was grown as a monoculture and as a mixture with crimson clover, and black mulch. 

Evaluation of In-Row Weed Cultivators in Organic Soybeans and Corn

Objectives

1. To investigate the abilities of six in–row weeding implements to control in-row weeds in organic soybeans and corn. The initial selected six implements were reduced to five after preliminary trials showed that the Bezzerides Cultivator System with spyder set and spring hoe, was similar with the Bezzerides Cultivator System with spyder set and torsion weeders. This change was made with the agreement of the farmer. Also it was decided to use the Williams tool system as the tine weeder without the optional side knives offered.

Weed Suppression Using Brassicaceae Cover Crops in Organically Grown Peppers

The original objectives of this project as stated in the proposal were to: 1) Test the effectiveness of high glucosinolate-containing meals at controlling soilborne diseases (damping-off and white mold of lettuce) in an organic farming system. 2) Determine the influence of these materials on N cycling processes in organic systems. 

Using High-residue Cover Crop Mulch for Weed Management In Organic No-till Potato Production Systems

The overall goals of this project are to (1) optimize potato yield without using chemical herbicides or fertilizers, and (2) disseminate the knowledge and results generated from this study to farmers and agricultural professionals throughout the United States.

The effect of cover crop seeding rate, planting arrangement, and mixture composition on cover crop performance and weed management on organic vegetable farms on the central coast of California

OBJECTIVES

(1) To determine the effect of cover crop seeding rate and planting arrangement on cover crop biomass production, cover crop canopy development, and weed suppression. Seeding rates included a standard rate (1x) typical on farms in the area, and higher rates (2x, 3x). Plant arrangements included a one-way versus a grid drilling pattern. This was the objective of trials 1 to 3.

Eff ectiveness and economic impact of weed control systems in organic garlic production

Project objectives were:

a) To determine which weed reduction system is the most economically effective by:

1) Determining total labor and material cost for each weed control system.

2) Determining effectiveness of each weed control system by recording percent weed species emergence and percent weed cover throughout the year.

3) Determining total garlic yield for each weeding system.

4) Determining garlic quality, as measured by bulb size, for each weeding system.

Natural Products for Control of Parasitic Honey Bee Mites

Objective Statement:

Objectives were: 1. to provide beekeepers with safe, effective, reliable and affordable alternatives to Apistan and Coumaphos for control of parasitic mites. Currently, these chemicals must be applied twice each year to ensure colony survival, and that is often insufficient. I will investigate alternative strategies that either reduce the use of synthetic pesticides by ½ or that eliminate them all together.

Using Pediobius foveolatus as a biological control agent for Mexican bean beetle in snap beans

Objectives

1) Test two options for reducing damage from Mexican bean beetle in the first year of release: a) Raise the release rate of wasps, and b) Apply one spray of a botanical insecticide to reduce the initial density of adult beetles, then release the wasps at the usual rate after the spray residue is gone and when remaining beetles are in the appropriate larval stage. 

Bat Houses for Integrated Pest Management-- Benefits for Bats and Organic Farmers: Phase I

The first objective of this study (Phase I) was to establish four bat houses (two pairs each of a proven nursery design) at 10 organic farms in California and Utah. Larger, experimental designs were to be installed at five of these sites for testing purposes. Data from the North American Bat House Research Project shows that pairs or groups of houses are more successful than single houses.

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