Systems Studies

Fundamentals of Organic Farming and Gardening: An Instructor’s Guide

In 2006, Georgia Organics developed an organic farming curriculum guide that was extremely popular—almost 1,000 copies were distributed to instructors across the nation within a year. The curriculum was also added to the Georgia Department of Education’s Agricultural Education Curriculum CD, distributed annually to all high school agriculture and science educators in the state.

Bat Houses for Integrated Pest Management-- Benefits for Bats and Organic Farmers: Phase I

Bats are helpful to farmers, as they consume large quantities of insect pests, but many bat species are declining due to loss of roost sites. Farmers can help bats by providing new roosts in the form of bat houses while at the same time benefiting from batsí pest reduction services. However, as much of the evidence for batsí roles in insect biocontrol is anecdotal, further studies are needed to better document batsí contributions to agriculture.

Targeted mowing as a weed management method increasing allelopathy in rye (Secaule cereale L.)

Winter rye (Secale cereale L.) is an outstanding cover crop in its suppression of early season weeds. This suppression has been largely attributed to allelopathy; ryeís allelochemicals inhibit weed germination and growth. However, its lack of suppression of late season weeds and its inconsistent results between years and regions hinder the use of rye as a cover crop. This study, which is Part I of a 2-year project, explores a management method that may be used to increase weed suppression of rye by manipulating its allelopathic activity.

Conservation tillage and cover crop systems for organic processing tomato production (Year 2)

The production of organic processing tomatoes requires large inputs of organic sources of nitrogen. Besides the addition of compost, manure, and other organic amendments, leguminous cover crops, grown during the winter, are important sources of nitrogen for a subsequent tomato crop. Present management of cover crops for tomato production generally requires significant amounts of tillage that may retard the improvement of physical and chemical properties of the soil.

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.