Research

Maintaining agroecosystem health in an organic strawberry/vegetable rotation system

Continued growth of organic strawberry and vegetable production in California faces two challenges: soil-borne disease management without use of synthetic chemical fumigants, and fertility management to optimize fertility input use while ensuring protection of vulnerable habitats.
 
The goal of this project is to demonstrate effects of diverse organic strawberry/vegetable rotations and integrated ecological practices on agroecosystem health.
 

Nebraska organically grown grapes

Grape production in the Midwest is increasing at a rapid rate. Very little if any are being grown organically due to the fact that little is known about organic disease control on grape in the Midwest. Sulfur is a good material to use for control of most of the major diseases but sulfur treatments will injure some cultivars of grapes. Many cold hardy grape cultivars have never been tested for sulfur sensitivity. The object of the project is to determine which varieties of grapes are tolerant to sulfur applications.

Organic Apple Thinning Strategies

A proposal was funded in 2001 and renewed in 2002 by OFRF to study methods and begin the development of technologies for organic apple crop thinning. The work was coordinated by C. R. Rom at the University of Arkansas in conjunction with the Colorado Organic Crop Management Association (COCMA), organic fruit growers in Colorado, and research scientists at Colorado State University. Additional funding for the project were received from COCMA and Gerber Products.

Small grain cultivar selection for organic systems

Organic agriculturists expressed the need for adaptation studies to land grant scientists at North Dakota State University (NDSU), beginning in 2000. In response, a limited number of modern spring wheat and oat cultivars were compared in MN and ND in 2001. Funds provided by the Organic Farming Research Foundation and the Wheat Subcommittee of the North Dakota State Board of Agricultural Research and Education allowed expansion of this effort in 2002.

OBJECTIVES STATEMENT

The objectives of this project were to:

Long term vegetable rotation systems using organic production methods and conservation tillage

This experiment is a long term study comparing continuous tomatoes with vegetable rotation under five possible production systems to determine which system is most viable for each vegetable commodity produced. Some vegetables in the southeast can be grown easily with organic production methods (sweet corn, cabbage, broccoli, peppers, etc.) but others have numerous problems (foliar diseases in tomatoes) that will require changes in production strategies. By rotating vegetable crops we are able to see which crops also can be grown under conservation tillage.

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.

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