Research

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.

Control of the western tarnished plant bug, Lygus hesperus (Knight) in an organic strawberry production system using trap crops, mass-released parasitoids, and tractor-mounted vacuums

Strawberry growers on the Central Coast of California have long observed that the principal cosmetic pest of their crop, the western tarnished plant bug (WTPB) or lygus bug, Lygus hesperus (Knight) establishes populations in strawberry fields in mid-season in relation to the proximity and flowering status of weedy, broadleaved hosts in adjacent areas. WTPB is known to be hosted in winter and early spring by numerous wild hosts which serve as a bridge to the infestation of strawberry fields when strawberry host flowers and small green fruit become abundant.

Insect management and fruit thinning in commercial organic apple production systems in New York

PROJECT OBJECTIVES

1. Develop an integrated, sustainable arthropod management system that will allow the production and marketing of certified organic apples.

2. Develop alternative chemical fruit thinning approaches for use in certified organic apple orchards that will result in annual cropping and large fruit size.

3. Develop alternative weed control approaches for use in certified organic apple orchards that will result in similar tree growth, yield, fruit size and leaf nutrient levels as conventional herbicides.

Investigations into the Ecology of Microtheca ochroloma and control methods for organic farmers

Objectives The original objectives of the project were as follows: 1. To determine if beetles remain active into summer if crucifers are present under field conditions. 2. To determine if initial infestation of M. ochroloma arise from within the field from the soil subsurface or whether beetle enter the field from field edges after oversummering. 3. To determine whether intercropping crucifers protects them from YMLB by hiding them among non-host plants. 4. To determine if cutting crucifers makes them easier for the beetles to find, therefore increasing infestation. 

Integrated caterpillar control in organic sweet corn Year 1, 2, 3

The purpose of this project is to work with a group of diversified vegetable farmers in the Northeast to evaluate an integrated non-chemical strategy for managing key caterpillar pests in sweet corn. In New England, corn earworm (Helicoverpa zea) migrates annually into the region and causes serious ear damage in late-season corn. European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis) is a resident pest of sweet corn which also contributes to ear damage, especially in the later part of the season.

Integrating conservation of generalist predators and specialist parasitoids in Pacific Northwest organic vegetables

As outlined in our initial proposal our project objectives were as follows: 1) Evaluate in-field refuges for predator conservation and the control of root maggots (Delia spp.) and aphids. 2) Evaluate efficacy of floral plantings for conservation of root maggot and aphid parasitoids. 3) Transmit our findings to growers. 

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