Grant Award

Evaluating the Effects of Seeding and Inoculant Rates on Weed Suppression, Nodulation, and Soil Health on Organic Lentil Production in the Northern Great Plains

Evaluating the Effects of Seeding and Inoculant Rates on Weed Suppression, Nodulation, and Soil Health on Organic Lentil Production in the Northern Great Plains

Photo of a field of flowering lentil plants

Jed Eberly, Assistant Professor, Montana State University

Lentils are important for diversifying wheat-based cropping systems and are also beneficial in enhancing soil health. These benefits have contributed to the exponential growth in pulse crop acreage in The Northern Great Plains (NGP). However, little is known about the optimum seeding and appropriate inoculation rates to improve crop growth, nutrient acquisition, weed management, and yield potential for lentils in organic systems. The goals of this project are to evaluate effects of seeding rates on lentil yields and weed competition. These goals will be achieved through a multi-site replicated trials on grower’s fields in three different lentil growing areas of Montana. Three lentil varieties would be selected based on seed sizes; large, medium, and small and will be seeded at four different rates.

Impact: Improved lentil yields, nutritional quality, and better returns on investments for organic lentil growers.

By |2020-01-08T18:12:21+00:00October 17th, 2019|Grant Award|

Development and Assessment of Bacterial Wilt and Downy Mildew Resistant Cucumber Seedstocks – Year Two

Development and Assessment of Bacterial Wilt and Downy Mildew Resistant Cucumber Seedstocks – Year Two

Edmund Frost, Farmer, Common Wealth Seed Growers LLC, Louisa, Virginia

Downy mildew (DM) is a central limiting factor for cucumber production in the eastern U.S, especially for midseason and late season crops. Frost will continue his assessment of DM resistant cucumber seedstocks, with increased focus on evaluating and advancing high-performing lines selected in 2018. Trials will take place at University of Massachusetts, North Carolina A&T University, University of Mount Olive, and four farms around the Southeast U.S. Trials will evaluate yields in high-DM conditions, rate the impact of DM on foliage, and provide feedback on fruit quality and marketability. Frost will conduct a BW-focused trial in early-planted, low-DM conditions on his own farm, as well as a late-season breeding trial of his selected slicing and pickling cucumber lines.

Impact: New cucumber varieties that are easier to grow, offer a longer harvest window, yield better under disease pressure, and help assure conventional farmers considering organic certification that transition is workable.

By |2020-01-08T18:12:49+00:00September 30th, 2019|Grant Award|

Plant-based Nutrient Management for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers

Plant-based Nutrient Management for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers

Aysha Peterson, Ph.D. Student, University of California, Santa Cruz

This research aims to promote successful utilization of best organic nutrient management practices by employing qualitative social science research. The researchers will examine barriers to implementation of plant-based nutrient management strategies among organic, socially disadvantaged farmers in California’s Salinas Valley. Findings will directly inform educational programming via ALBA’s Farmer Education Course and will be incorporated into economic and infrastructural assistance available through ALBA’s Organic Farm Incubator. Empirically based conclusions will provide for comparative analysis with other agricultural regions of the U.S.

Impact: Widespread improvement of organic farmer assistance services among socially disadvantaged organic farmers.

By |2020-01-08T18:12:49+00:00September 30th, 2019|Grant Award|

Assessment of Nitrogen Flows on Diversified Organic Farms: A Road Toward Enhancing Soil Health from the Ground Up

Assessment of Nitrogen Flows on Diversified Organic Farms: A Road Toward Enhancing Soil Health from the Ground Up

Photo of farmer tending the soil

Timothy Bowles, Assistant Professor of Agroecology, UC Berkeley

Soil health is a central part of organic farm management. This project seeks to determine how diversification practices such as crop rotations and cover crops that build soil health influence nitrogen availability from soil organic matter. This is particularly important to consider when determining the timing and choice of organic fertilizer application on diversified organic farms. The goal of this project is to provide farmers in Yolo County, California—an area with a high concentration of diversified farms—with both technical support and a community of practice that allows for more informed decision-making about nutrient management.

Impact: More precise information for making informed decisions about fertilizer application, ultimately reducing added costs and environmental impacts associated with nutrient losses from organic fertilizers.

 

By |2020-01-08T18:12:49+00:00September 30th, 2019|Grant Award|

Evaluating Benefits of Winter Annual Cover Crop Systems for Organic Sweet Potato in North Carolina

Evaluating Benefits of Winter Annual Cover Crop Systems for Organic Sweet Potato in North Carolina

Photo of sweet potato plant

Alex Woodley, Assistant Professor, North Carolina State University

Despite a steady demand for organic sweet potatoes in North Carolina, marketable yield often does not reach the yield potential for this region due to challenges in weed, insect, and soil fertility management. Weed proliferation and soil borne pests such as wireworm have been identified as two areas of concern. Using a roller-crimper modified to work on raised beds, this research will assess the viability of winter cover crops seeded onto autumn formed beds and terminated in the spring as effective tools for weed control. The researchers will also determine if there is a trade-off of including cover crops in rotation by potentially providing improved overwintering conditions for wireworms, and if this translates into increased root damage and marketable yield losses. Lastly, by embedding increasing rates of organic nitrogen fertilizer in each cover crop treatment, they will determine if this management practice requires modification to nutrient recommendations.

Impact: Innovative weed, insect, and soil fertility management options to help increase organic sweet potato yields.

By |2020-01-08T18:12:49+00:00September 30th, 2019|Grant Award|

On-farm Assessment of Melon and Cucumber Seedstocks for Downy Mildew and Bacterial Wilt

On-farm Assessment of Melon and Cucumber Seedstocks for Downy Mildew and Bacterial Wilt

Photo of bacterial wilt in a muskmelon plant

Edmund Frost, Common Wealth Seed Growers

Farmers throughout the Eastern U.S. cite Bacterial Wilt and Downy Mildew as key limiting disease issues for melon and cucumber production.

Impact: New resistant varieties that have the potential to make management easier, decrease losses, and extend the harvest period.

By |2020-01-08T18:14:16+00:00October 18th, 2018|Grant Award|

Effect of Biosolarization and Cover Crops on Weeds and Soil-borne Pathogens

Effect of Biosolarization and Cover Crops on Weeds and Soil-borne Pathogens

Ashraf Tubeileh, California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California

As the negative health and environmental effects of chemical soil fumigation become more apparent, there is a critical need for safe, alternative methods of soil fumigation to control weeds.

Impact: Proven organic method to control annual and perennial weeds, particularly in no-till systems.

By |2020-01-08T18:14:16+00:00October 18th, 2018|Grant Award|

Examination of Organic Grain Productivity to Support the Upper Peninsula Organic Livestock Industry

Examination of Organic Grain Productivity to Support the Upper Peninsula Organic Livestock Industry

Ashley McFarland, Colin Thompson, Monica Jean, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan

As consumers continue to drive preferences within the marketplace, the demand for natural or organically produced meat has greatly increased, but no such grain market exists within the region to support this expanding industry. Organic grain production is virtually non-existent in the U.P., and sourcing outside of the region is quite costly and limits the growth potential for these operations – especially those wanting to market as certified organic.

Impact: Increased knowledge of grain performance in an organic system, leading to the expansion of certified organic grain production in the Upper Peninsula.

 

Photo credit: Henrik Sendelbach [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

By |2020-01-08T18:14:35+00:00October 21st, 2017|Grant Award|

Corn Earworm Management: A Survey of Organic Sweet Corn Growers

Corn Earworm Management: A Survey of Organic Sweet Corn Growers

Photo of Helicoverpa zea (corn earworm) caterpillar

William Tracy, University of Wisconsin, Madison Wisconsin

The objectives of this project are to attain and share information about the corn earworm management strategies of organic sweet corn growers.

Impact: Information and recommendations for managing corn earworm, and more specific research and breeding objectives for corn earworm resistance breeding.

 

Photo credit: Jack Dykinga [Public domain]

By |2020-01-08T18:14:35+00:00October 21st, 2017|Grant Award|

Developing a Cover Crop-Based, No-Till System for Small-Scale Vegetable Producers: Effects on Soil Health, Weeds, Anthropod Communities, and Yield

Developing a Cover Crop-Based, No-Till System for Small-Scale Vegetable Producers: Effects on Soil Health, Weeds, Anthropod Communities, and Yield

Justin Keay, Jaime Pinero, Lincoln University, Jefferson City, Missouri

One limitation faced by small- and mid-scale organic producers is the expense of equipment such as roller crimpers to terminate cover crops for spring planting. This project is investigating an effective no-till system that doesn’t require the use of expensive equipment.

Impact: New knowledge on effective methods for cover crop termination that can be followed by small- and mid- scale producers

By |2020-01-08T18:14:35+00:00October 21st, 2017|Grant Award|
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