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

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By |2020-09-09T18:57:46+00:00October 21st, 2017|Grant Award|

Evaluating Soil Protein as a New Soil Health Indicator

Evaluating Soil Protein as a New Soil Health Indicator

Photo of vegetable sprout in soilSteve Culman, Tunsisa Harisso, Anthony Fulford, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

Predicting the capacity of soil to supply nitrogen is an ongoing challenge in organic farming. Organic farmers rely on the breakdown of organic matter through a microbially-driven process for crop nutrition instead of the application of synthetic fertilizers. One of the most frequent requests of organic farmers is to have access to better information about what is happening in their soil.

Impact: Availability of soil testing tools to account for nutrient mineralization from organic amendments.

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By |2020-09-09T20:24:07+00:00October 18th, 2017|Grant Award|

Evaluation of Organic Strawberry Transplants for Organic Strawberry Production

Evaluation of Organic Strawberry Transplants for Organic Strawberry Production

Photo of strawberries on the vine

Stefanie Boucier, Farm Fuel Inc. and Lisa Bunin, Organic Advocacy, Watsonville, California

While many organic strawberry growers have expressed dissatisfaction with having to use conventional transplants, organic transplants are not commercially available. In part, commercial availability of organic transplants has been limited due to a lack of tested varieties as well as a lack of supply during the traditional planting season.

Impact: Adoption of organically grown strawberry transplants and phasing out of conventional transplants.

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By |2020-09-09T20:21:21+00:00October 18th, 2017|Grant Award|

Nutrient Budgeting in Organic Grain Production

Nutrient Budgeting in Organic Grain Production

Iris Vaisman, University of Manitoba

Green manures play an essential role in organic grain-based systems on the Canadian prairies by contributing to soil health, cash crop yield, and grain quality. The goal of this project is to increase the use and proper management of green manures. The researchers want to help farmers better understand their whole-farm nutrient budget and increase the adoption of green manures to enhance soil health and farm resiliency.

Impact: Improved soil health, cash crop yield, and grain quality through the use and proper management of green manures.

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By |2020-09-09T19:12:19+00:00October 22nd, 2016|Grant Award|

Flowering Plants in Organic Strawberry Fields to Enhance Natural Enemies and Pollinators and Improve Pest Control and Fruit Quality

Flowering Plants in Organic Strawberry Fields to Enhance Natural Enemies and Pollinators and Improve Pest Control and Fruit Quality

Dr. Justin M. Renkema, University of Florida

The objective of this research project is to manage for both predators and pollinators in Florida organic strawberries through intentional use of flowering plants. Dr. Renkema will target conservation of minute pirate bug, Orius spp., in the hope of showing how flowering plants support high levels of Orius spp. and pollinators, resulting in lower thrips populations and crop damage and improved crop pollination and fruit quality.

Impact: Improved crop pollination and fruit quality in Florida organic strawberries.

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Photo credit: Photo of pirate bug feeding on white fly nimphs by Jack Dykinga [Public domain]

By |2020-09-09T19:10:40+00:00October 22nd, 2016|Grant Award|

Field Evaluation of Designed Compost Extracts for Organic Weed Suppression

Field Evaluation of Designed Compost Extracts for Organic Weed Suppression

Dr. Gladis Zinati, Rodale Institute

In 2013-2014, OFRF funded Dr. Zinati to perform laboratory and greenhouse trials on the weed suppressing ability of chemically- and biologically-designed compost extracts (DCE). This new project builds off of the laboratory and greenhouse work to test the DCEs in the field and evaluate them as an alternative tactic to reduce weed pressure, soil degradation, and yield losses of field-grown organic cabbage.

Impact: Reduced weed pressure, soil degradation, and yield loss.

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By |2020-09-09T19:14:35+00:00October 21st, 2016|Grant Award|

A New Approach for Successful Organic Peach Production in the Southeast

A New Approach for Successful Organic Peach Production in the Southeast

Dr. Juan Carlos Melgar Jimenez, Clemson University

The production of organic peaches is extremely difficult under the humid conditions of the Southeast due to high pest and disease pressures, and the lack of effective, organically approved pesticides. Dr. Melgar Jimenez will be evaluating the use of paper bags to physically protect the fruit from pests and diseases to reduce reliance on spray applications and increase yields.

Impact: Increased economic opportunity for fruit farmers in the southeast and reduced reliance on pesticides.

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By |2020-09-09T19:08:52+00:00October 21st, 2016|Grant Award|

Developing Integrated Irrigation Management Strategies to Improve Water and Nutrient Use Efficiency of Organic Processing Tomato Production

Developing Integrated Irrigation Management Strategies to Improve Water and Nutrient Use Efficiency of Organic Processing Tomato Production

Dr. Amelié CM Gaudin, University of California Davis

This project aims at developing integrated irrigation practices that capitalize on soil health to improve the efficiency of irrigation water and decrease pest pressure and potential N losses of California organic processing tomato production. Dr. Gaudin will compare the impact of three different water management scenarios that delay onset of irrigation and/or advance irrigation cutoff on tomato water-use efficiency, yield and fruit quality and monitor shifts in water acquisition dynamics, N leaching and pest pressure.

Impact: Trial results could help convert 259,000 acres of processing tomatoes to organic production and provide techniques to mitigate and adapt to shifts in resource availability.

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By |2020-09-09T19:05:20+00:00October 21st, 2016|Grant Award|

Creating Climate Resilient Organic Systems by Enhancing Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Associations

Creating Climate Resilient Organic Systems by Enhancing Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Associations

Dr. Erin M. Silva, University of Wisconsin

Symbiotic microbes such as arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) increase plants’ access to vital nutrients and water. Dr. Silva will be studying cultivar-AMF interaction on working organic farms, evaluating the contribution to carrot growth as well as the contribution of potential cultivar-symbiont selectivity on AMF populations in a variety of soil types across organic farms in Wisconsin.

Impact: Increased access to water and nutrients.

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By |2020-09-09T19:07:09+00:00October 21st, 2016|Grant Award|
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