Fertility Management

Long term vegetable rotation systems using organic production methods and conservation tillage

This experiment is a long term study comparing continuous tomatoes with vegetable rotation under five possible production systems to determine which system is most viable for each vegetable commodity produced. Some vegetables in the southeast can be grown easily with organic production methods (sweet corn, cabbage, broccoli, peppers, etc.) but others have numerous problems (foliar diseases in tomatoes) that will require changes in production strategies. By rotating vegetable crops we are able to see which crops also can be grown under conservation tillage.

Nutrient analysis of organic strawberries: effect of cultivars and mycorrhizal inoculations

Objectives 1. Demonstrate the relative nitrogen performance of standard California cultivars grown under organic management. 2. Determine if a commercial arbuscular mycorrhizae (AM) inoculant could provide mineral nutritional benefit, especially on phosphorus, to the cultivars being tested in the first objective. 3. Provide information that will aid organic strawberry producers in fertility management.

Impact of Disease Suppressive Composts on Organic Vegetable Quality Composition and Yield

The goal of this research was to initiate studies on compost effects on severity of common soil borne diseases and to characterize changes plant growth due to improved nutrient availability and soil microbial activity with compost application in organic production systems. 

Project Objectives

-Analyze several animal manure-based, organic-approved compost products for suppression of important soil-borne pathogens of vegetable crops in the Northeast

-Determine applicability of a farmer-based test kit for assessment of compost maturity to predict suppressiveness

Developing testing protocols to assure the quality of fertilizer materials for organic agriculture

The organic industry is on track for a six-fold increase in the next five years, having grown from $6.1 billion in sales in 2000 to $29.2 billion in sales in 2011 (4.2% of total food sales in the U.S that year). Consumer demand continues to drive steady growth of this sector, which is indicated by average growth of 8% per year since 2002.

Measuring Active Carbon to Predict Seasonal Nitrate Mineralization on Organic Farms

Increasing organic matter in soils is one way to build soil heath. Cover cropping, compost, and manure additions increase soil organic matter and improve the soil’s ability to hold and supply nutrients, water, and air to plants and animals. Soil organic matter provides a bank of nutrients, including nitrogen, that are made available to plants through a process called mineralization.