Evaluation of Glandular-Haired, Potato Leafhopper Resistant Alfalfa for Organic Farming Systems


The primary objective of this proposal was to determine the ability to produce organically grown alfalfa in areas with significant potato leaf hopper pressure and then to share this capability with organic growers. Specific experimental objectives were:

1. Determine if glandular-haired, PLH resistant alfalfa can be produced organically,

2. Determine if organically grown glandular-haired, PLH resistant alfalfa can reduce PLH density,

Prioritizing research, education and regulatory pest management needs of organic potato farmers through participatory strategic planning

USDA funding of organic farming research and outreach is disproportionate compared to the amount of U.S. certified organic land. According to Organic Farming Research Foundation’s State of the States 2nd Edition, 0.3 – 2% of U.S. farmland is certified organic, but only 0.06% of land grant research acres is certified organic. This project addressed the disparity of organic research and Organic Farming Research Foundation’s goal of obtaining a fair share of research funding for organic foods and farming.

Fungi, Predatory Mites and Guardian Plants for Thrips IPM in Organic Greenhouse Ornamentals

This project addressed a serious pest of organic greenhouse production nationally. In Vermont, thrips are the most common reason for organic growers suspending organic practices in their greenhouse crops, fearing the loss of their entire crop to this persistent virus-transmitting pest. Even growers who rely on chemical control find the standard insecticides ineffective due to resistant pest populations. Biological control approaches for thrips will directly benefit organic producers, but will also meet the need of “traditional” growers who seek to produce plants more ecologically.

Enhancement of Biological Control with Insectary Plantings

Beneficial insectary planting is a form of conservation biological control that involves introducing flowering plants into agricultural and horticultural systems to increase nectar and pollen resources required by some natural enemies of insect pests (Landis et al. 2000). Many predatory and parasitic insects rely on pollen and nectar for their survival and reproductive success. Two examples of such insect groups are hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae) and several species of predatory and parasitic wasps (Hymenoptera).

Cucumber beetle mass trap development and field evaluation

On most farms, Diabrotica beetles are only severe in certain years, a pattern for which there is yet no analysis. Therefore, for most organic farms these beetles are tolerable in most years. However, in certain seasons some help in reducing numbers may mean the survival of many crops, particularly where beetle damage to seedlings essentially destroys the crop. Example crops are beans and early season cucumbers. Sweet corn is also such a crop, although the damage only interferes with the proportion of kernels which are fertilized.

Using living straw mulch to suppress Colorado potato beetle on potatoes

The use of straw mulch for the suppression of the Colorado potato beetle (CPB) on potatoes has been demonstrated (Zehnder and Hough-Goldstein, 1989). It was suggested that to eliminate the cost of purchasing and transporting commercial grain straw, growers could rotate potatoes with a cover crop suitable for mulch such as wheat, rye, vetch, etc.. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate the feasibility of using such a cover crop as a source of "living mulch." 

The integration of foliar applied seaweed and fish products into the fertility management of organically grown sweet peppers

Organic vegetable growers regularly use sea-based products, such as seaweed extracts and fish emulsions, as foliar fertilizers. The effective use and the economic value of these products in organic agriculture have yet to be verified by scientific research. In these studies, we examined the effects of foliar applied seaweed and fish products on sweet bell peppers grown at three different soil fertility levels

The Effects of Green Manure, Compost, and Feather Meal on Soil Nitrogen Dynamics, Beneficial Soil Microorganisms, and Bell Pepper Yield

Many organic growers utilize a preceding cover crop or diverse types of organic fertilizer materials for fertility management. Cover crops are one of the most economical sources of organic nitrogen and provide additional potential benefits for succeeding crops. Time or market constraints and the need to intensively farm high value land may limit the use of cover crops and increase the need to utilize organic fertilizer sources of plant nutrients.

Analysis of Compost Tea Under Different Stages of Production

In this paper we review some of the pertinent research concerning organic teas, and note that the results of studies on the effects of such teas, especially as a biocide, is quite mixed. We believe this is due to the variable nature of both the organic feed stock and the methods of extraction. We also make some suggestions concerning a protocol for on-site research into the production and use of organic teas with suggestions for controlling feedstock and extractor variables infield experiments.