Improving the quality of organic herb production and marketing

Farmers interested in transitioning some or all of their land into organic production need information regarding the best management practices for these systems. Soil fertility and weed management strategies are imperative for optimum plant growth and yields. Current research in organic herb production at Iowa State University has included investigations into certified organic methods of fertilization and use of organic mulches for weed suppression.

The Florida organic citrus sector: results of a 2003-2004 survey

This report updates and builds on the information provided by the ten-year-old survey results and includes interviews with organic citrus handlers (packers and processors) and exiting growers. The purpose of this project is to collect, analyze, and disseminate economically relevant information on the organic citrus sector in Florida. In particular, the research objectives are:

i. Identify existing acreage, production volumes, and market channels for organic citrus varieties;

ii. Characterize organic citrus growers and their farm enterprises;

Sorghum-sudangrass as a cover crop for organic no-till vegetable production and as a hey crop for the organic market

The purpose of this project was to investigate the potential of sorghum sudangrass to serve as both summer cover crop and marketable hay crop preceding no-till production of organic fall cabbage. The original stated objectives of this project were to determine best management practices for a non-leguminous summer cover crop in a no-till fall vegetable production system and to evaluate the efficacy of cover crop mid-season cutting for sale as hay. Based on the results of a 2003 field trial, these objectives were narrowed to the following:

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.

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.

Increasing Organic Farmer Access to Relevant and Practical Research-Based Information

The principal objective of this project was to make a greater proportion of relevant and practical research-based information available to organic farmers. Experienced organic farmers were specifically targeted. In the original proposal, NCAT planned to create a quarterly publication featuring abstracts of relevant research gleaned from the literature. Emphasis was to be placed on recent, cutting-edge research on a broad range of topics pertinent to organic production and marketing.

Impact of Disease Suppressive Composts on Organic Vegetable Quality Composition and Yield

The goal of this research was to initiate studies on compost effects on severity of common soil borne diseases and to characterize changes plant growth due to improved nutrient availability and soil microbial activity with compost application in organic production systems. 

Project Objectives

-Analyze several animal manure-based, organic-approved compost products for suppression of important soil-borne pathogens of vegetable crops in the Northeast

-Determine applicability of a farmer-based test kit for assessment of compost maturity to predict suppressiveness

A comparison of antibiotic susceptibility patterns for Staphylococcus aureus in organic and conventional dairy herds

Mastitis is considered to be the most costly disease affecting the dairy industry with annual losses in the United States exceeding $2 billion (Philpot, 1984). Losses stem from milk discard, drug costs, veterinary care, increased labor, and premature- culling. Staphylococcus aureus is one of the most important pathogens causing intramammary infections in dairy cattle (Gonzalez et al.,1988) and continues to be one of the major causes of mastitis in dairy herds worldwide (Barkema et al. 1998, Gonzalez et al. 1988, Nickerson et al. 1999, Osteras et al. 1999, Sol et al.

New cover crops and cover crop management for organic vegetable producers in Maryland (yr. 1)

This project was designed to provide the organic farmers with information they are seeking and have requested,
specifically regarding the use of cover crops other than cereal rye and hairy vetch. This information will help
organic farmers increase their farm productivity while using natural, sustainable, on-farm methods to minimize
weeds, maintain soil quality, and provide nitrogen.
The project has 3 objectives:

Targeted mowing as a weed management method increasing allelopathy in rye (Secaule cereale L.)

Winter rye (Secale cereale L.) is an outstanding cover crop in its suppression of early season weeds. This suppression has been largely attributed to allelopathy; ryeís allelochemicals inhibit weed germination and growth. However, its lack of suppression of late season weeds and its inconsistent results between years and regions hinder the use of rye as a cover crop. This study, which is Part I of a 2-year project, explores a management method that may be used to increase weed suppression of rye by manipulating its allelopathic activity.


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