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.
This project was designed to evaluate inputs of various rates of compost on the yield and nitrogen status of a crop of peppers. The grower-cooperator on this project makes his own compost and, for the last two years, he has applied from three to ten tons of compost (along with other nitrogen inputs such as cover crops, feather meal and sodium nitrate) to provide for the nitrogen need of his pepper crops.
A proposal was funded in 2001 and renewed in 2002 by OFRF to study methods and begin the development of technologies for organic apple crop thinning. The work was coordinated by C. R. Rom at the University of Arkansas in conjunction with the Colorado Organic Crop Management Association (COCMA), organic fruit growers in Colorado, and research scientists at Colorado State University. Additional funding for the project were received from COCMA and Gerber Products.
Soy-based foods have been the subject of recent research due to increasing evidence that soy phytoestrogens may modify the pathogenesis of some hormone-dependent and hormoneindependent diseases'. Studies have shown the isoflavones genistin and daidzin may have beneficial effects on menopausal symptoms', osteoporosis3 , and coronary heart disease 4-5. These findings have led to clinical recommendations of greater dietary intake of phytoestrogen-containing soy products.
The size and growth of organic farming has stimulated considerable discussion and speculation. Farmers, agribusinesses, policy-makers, public interest groups, educators, researchers and investors-all need reliable information on organic agriculture to make informed decisions about business strategies, teaching and research agendas, and institutional policies. Statistical analyses of organic farming contribute crucial information for these decisions.
Soil testing has long been a part of Organic Certification. As part of the certification process, each grower must submit soil tests for lab analysis. The soil is subjected to chromatography tests to determine the extent of contamination by organochlorine insecticides. These compounds classify a wide range of noxious agricultural pesticides, many with half lives exceeding twenty years. Unfortunately for conventional and organic growers, even at hardly detectable levels these contaminants are finding their way into agricultural products.
Organic apple production in Washington State has been steadily increasing since 1991. Acreage took a dramatic jump in 1980 in response to the Alar crisis, but most of those farms only remained in organic production for one season. This was largely due to the difficulty of controlling codling moth (Cydia pomenella), the primary direct pest in the region, and also in response to the collapse of market prices for organic fruit due to the huge increase in supply.
There are two obvious barriers organic producers face when they consider on-farm processing. The first is psychological. On-farm processing can appear intimidating and beyond reach, on one hand; on the other, it may seem unnecessary to someone who is already “adding value” by raising crops or livestock organically. The second barrier—a more pragmatic one—is the lack of good, producer-friendly information on small-scale organic processing and handling.