West

Best Practices for Virtual Peer-to-Peer Farmer Learning

Peer learning helps farmers put knowledge into action. Studies repeatedly demonstrate that farmers consider other farmers their best sources of information and guidance. Farmers want to hear firsthand how other farmers make decisions and implement different strategies. They want to ask each other questions and get suggestions as they try new approaches. They want perspectives from those who have faced the same challenges and found viable solutions. They want to know what worked and didn’t and why.

20 to 20, in 2020

This project investigates 20 promising ancient and heritage grain varieties to measure performance for farm scale organic growing conditions and will increase available seed of these 20 unique varieties to a minimum of 20 pounds each in 2020. Data will be collected on weed suppression, lodging, disease, and pest pressure as well as yield and height and environmental conditions at two sites- Ketchum, Idaho and Paonia, Colorado.

Evaluating costs and benefits of organic-approved liquid injectable fertilizers to improve nutrient uptake and yields in tomato

While research on cover cropping and compost application have surged in the past decade, organic growers are still struggling to maintain sufficient levels of available nitrogen (N) in vegetable cropping systems. Especially in semiarid regions like California, relying on N mineralization from banked reserves in soil organic matter has not provided enough N to support high crop yields competitive with conventional systems; an additional source of labile N may be needed during the season.

Efficacy evaluation of biological control agents against wireworms in organic production

Wireworms, the larval stage of click beetles (Coleoptera: Elateridae), are generalist subterranean herbivores that cause significant damage in a variety of crops. Managing wireworms has been a challenge due to their long-life cycle, subterranean living habitat, and ability to survive wide range of host plants. Although there are a few insecticides available for conventional farming, there is no effective alternative control measure against wireworms in organic production.

Evaluating the Effects of Seeding Rates and Inoculant Performance on Nodulation, Weed Suppression, and Relative Yields of DifferentLentil Varieties Grown in the Northern Great Plains

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). There are several challenges facing organic lentil production. Lack of approved herbicide for use in organic pulse crop production provides a challenge to weed management.

Biosolarization: harnessing the sun and organic matter for weed control

Biosolarization is a new innovation in the realm of weed control. Different from the commonly known practice of solarization, which uses clear plastic sheeting on moist soil to thermally terminate a variety of pest species, biosolarization includes the use of organic matter in the form of compost, cover crops, manure or other materials such as pomace or nut hulls. The addition of organic matter can accelerate the process by encouraging anaerobic soil disinfestation. The carbon from organic material produces chemicals with bio-pesticidal activity.

Weed Management, Reduced-tillage, and Soil Health: Weed Ecology in Biodesign Farm's Organic, Minimum-till Vegetable Production System

Soil health and nutrient cycling, crop yield, and weed competition was evaluated in a perennial living mulch row middle system with different in-crop-row soil/weed management treatments: no-tillage, minimum-tillage, conventional tillage, tillage/sprayed with vinegar, and tillage/mulched with paper (Ecocover). None of the treatments received any fertilizer other than incorporated one-year-old red clover cover crop which was strip-tilled into crop rows in April. No-till red clover was maintained in row middles between strip-till experiment crop rows. 

Plant-based Nutrient Management for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers

Many of today's biggest agricultural challenges are social, as extensive research on best management practices is met with low rates of adoption. Bridging the gap between research and implementation requires moving past the quantitative, survey-based methods that are often used to answer questions about adoption and decision-making processes (Prokopy, 2011). Our study aims to promote successful utilization of best organic nutrient management practices by employing qualitative social science research.

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

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). There are several challenges facing organic lentil production. Lack of approved herbicide for use in organic pulse crop production provides a challenge to weed management.

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

Soil health is ideally a central part of organic farm management. One key question is how diversification practices (e.g., diversified crop rotations, cover crops, etc.) that build soil health influence how and when nitrogen is made available from soil organic matter. This question is particularly important to consider when determining the timing and choice of organic fertilizer application on diversified organic farms.