Outcome of Participatory Evaluation of Organic Production System in Southwestern Louisiana

Through a participatory approach, an organic production system demonstration project was established on a University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL Lafayette) research farm in southwestern Louisiana in 2002. In the first year, four weed suppression techniques were evaluated in an organic tomato production: mechanical treatment, hay mulch, red plastic mulch, and flaming, Hay mulch applied at 25 t ha-1 was the most effective weed control technique compared to red plastic mulch, mechanical treatment and flaming. Weed biomass at harvest in hay mulch plots was lowered by 45, 85, and 87%, compared to flaming, red plastic mulch, and mechanical treatment, respectively. In addition to weed control, appropriate disease and insect management strategies were determined to be critical for a successful organic tomato production in southwestern Louisiana. In 2003, four weed suppression techniques: hay mulch, mechanical cultivation, Three Sisters Cropping system , and living clover mulch were demonstrated in organic corn. One organic farming field day and two instate organic farming tours were organized. 

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