West

Evaluation of Organic Strawberry Transplants for Organic Strawberry Production

Conventional strawberry nurseries that fumigate soils with methyl bromide and other synthetic chemicals prior to propagation are currently the main source of transplants for both conventional and organic production systems. While many organic strawberry growers have expressed dissatisfaction with having to use conventional transplants, organic transplants simply 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.

Development of Wheat Varieties For Organic Farmers

From the mid-1950’s on, most wheat in the U.S. has been grown in and bred for high-input, traditional agricultural conditions.  These conditions include the common use of artificial fertilizers and chemical herbicides and fungicides, practices that are not allowed under current certified organic standards.  We believe that traits specifically adapted to and useful for organic wheat production have been lost from the gene pool of modern wheat varieties due to the intensive chemical management common in current wheat-breeding programs.

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

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. The current drought has dramatically decreased irrigation water allocated to organic tomato growers and there is an urgent need to test new irrigation strategies that reduce water inputs while maintaining product quality, nutrient supply and high productivity levels.

Public Breeding for Organic Agriculture – Screening for Horizontal Resistance to Late Blight in Tomato

Late blight of tomato and potato, caused by the fungal pathogen Phytophthera infestans, is currently the most destructive disease of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) in the Pacific Northwest. Geographically this includes regions stretching from the San Francisco Bay in California to the coastal islands of British Columbia.

Effects of organic alternatives for weed control and ground cover management on tree fruit growth, development and productivity

Organic fruit production in the US, especially the western regions, is expanding. The increase is occurring for both economic and ecological reasons. Current market conditions dictate that organic apple growers produce large, flavorful, high quality fruit. Large, high quality fruit receive price premiums and market acceptance whereas small fruit can be difficult to sell, even at lower prices. To grow large fruit, trees must be unstressed and provided with adequate water and nutrition. Weeds can compete with fruit trees for both water and nutrients.