Research

Shade-covered high tunnels for summer production of lettuce and leafy greens

Most varieties of greens do not grow throughout the market season in the Midwest because of the 85-degree-plus weather, which persists for much of July, August and September. High temperatures (and resulting problems with dormancy and rapid drying of soil) result in poor crop establishment, and bitterness and bolting of lettuce. Other leafy greens are severely affected by high insect populations. The ability to extend the greens season through the summer heat would benefit local growers while meeting a consumer need at peak market times.

Developing open-pollinated corn varieties for organic farmers

The purpose of this project has been to develop and evaluate our open-pollinated corn varieties for organic farmers. Our major efforts have been to increase the qualitative value and future marketability of these populations and also to increase their genetic diversity and agronomic value. This year we continued to breed white, yellow, red, and blue field corn varieties towards fitting niche markets that would give farmers that used this corn economic benefits.

Phytoestrogen content of conventionally and organically grown soybeans

Soy-based foods have been the subject of recent research due to increasing evidence that soy phytoestrogens may modify the pathogenesis of some hormone-dependent and hormoneindependent diseases'. Studies have shown the isoflavones genistin and daidzin may have beneficial effects on menopausal symptoms', osteoporosis3 , and coronary heart disease 4-5. These findings have led to clinical recommendations of greater dietary intake of phytoestrogen-containing soy products.

Nutrient analysis of organic strawberries: effect of cultivars and mycorrhizal inoculations

Objectives 1. Demonstrate the relative nitrogen performance of standard California cultivars grown under organic management. 2. Determine if a commercial arbuscular mycorrhizae (AM) inoculant could provide mineral nutritional benefit, especially on phosphorus, to the cultivars being tested in the first objective. 3. Provide information that will aid organic strawberry producers in fertility management.

Statistical review of California's organic agriculture

The size and growth of organic farming has stimulated considerable discussion and speculation. Farmers, agribusinesses, policy-makers, public interest groups, educators, researchers and investors-all need reliable information on organic agriculture to make informed decisions about business strategies, teaching and research agendas, and institutional policies. Statistical analyses of organic farming contribute crucial information for these decisions.

Plant mobilization of trace organochlorine residues in vegetable cropping systems

Soil testing has long been a part of Organic Certification. As part of the certification process, each grower must submit soil tests for lab analysis. The soil is subjected to chromatography tests to determine the extent of contamination by organochlorine insecticides. These compounds classify a wide range of noxious agricultural pesticides, many with half lives exceeding twenty years. Unfortunately for conventional and organic growers, even at hardly detectable levels these contaminants are finding their way into agricultural products.

On-farm analysis of soils, crop performance and profitability of organic, integrated and conventional apple production systems

In April 1994, a high density commercial orchard of `Golden Delicious' apples on EMLA.9 rootstocks was planted on four acres of a 35-acre apple farm in the Yakima Valley of Washington State. The farm is managed by two brothers, Andy and Eric Dolph, who decided with our help to set aside a portion of their farm and examine the sustainability of three different apple production systems: organic, integrated (i.e., low-input), and conventional.

Organic apple production in Washington State: A 1994 survey of growers

Organic apple production in Washington State has been steadily increasing since 1991. Acreage took a dramatic jump in 1980 in response to the Alar crisis, but most of those farms only remained in organic production for one season. This was largely due to the difficulty of controlling codling moth (Cydia pomenella), the primary direct pest in the region, and also in response to the collapse of market prices for organic fruit due to the huge increase in supply.

Enhancing biological control in mating disruption and organic pear orchards by understory management

Habitat management to enhance biological control in cultivated crops is an increasingly common method of pest control in both annual and perennial cropping systems. Examples of this approach include use of windbreaks or hedge rows to prompt build-up of natural enemies around crop edges, planting of insectary seed mixes as cover crops in perennial crops, or management of natural ground cover (e.g., via mowing frequency, strip mowing, or selective herbicide use) to enhance build-up of natural enemies.

Evaluation of the Efficacy of Predatory Mites in Controlling Pests of Cultivated Mushrooms in Organic Mushroom Houses

The following species are the most common predatory mites in Polish mushroom houses, in which Agaricus bisporus is cultivated: Arctoseius semiscissus, A. cetratus, Dendrolaelaps fallax (Kropczyfiska-Linkiewicz 1984), and Parasitus sp. (Lewandowski, unpubl.). Species composition of mite predators of mushroom houses with oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) is not known yet. Predatory mites are obviously of the most interest in mushroom pest control in the organic mushroom houses.

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