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Identifying Bird Nests on Farm Structures

ven, 2018/06/01 - 01:10

eOrganic authors:

Olivia Smith, School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University

William Snyder, Department of Entomology, Washington State University

Introduction

Growers often find bird nests around structures where food is washed, packaged, stored, and shipped. However, identification of these nests can be challenging. This article provides guidance on identifying nests of bird species commonly found nesting in barns, sheds, or other farm buildings. Most bird species included in this article are known to carry bacteria that cause food safety problems, such as pathogenic E. coli and Salmonella. However, some of these birds are also known to eat pest insects or rodents, so promoting nesting in appropriate areas can provide valuable natural pest control. Our article also makes recommendations for discouraging nesting in undesirable locations, such as food processing areas, and for promoting it elsewhere where birds can be primarily beneficial. We have organized the article by bird species that have invaded North America from Europe and Asia, and by species that are native to North America. Native species are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and cannot be harassed or have their nests tampered with. 

Invasive Species European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

 

Figure 1. Group of European Starlings perched on a farm structure. Note the yellow bill and pinkish-orange legs that distinguish starlings from similar-looking native blackbirds. More identification information can be found online here. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

The European Starling (hereinafter starling; Fig. 1) was introduced to Central Park in 1890 and 1891 by Shakespeare enthusiasts who wanted all of the birds in Shakespeare's plays to be found in the park. If only they had never gone to the theater! After several unsuccessful releases, populations took off, and the starling has arguably become the most successful (and loathed) invasive bird species in North America. Though starlings are most numerous in human-dominated landscapes, they can be detrimental to native bird species due to competition for cavity nesting sites (Cabe, 1993). Although starlings do compete with more desirable native species for natural tree cavities, they have amazing flexibility in nest site selection and will also use cavities in structures (Fig. 2). Starlings construct nests inside of cavities with materials that can fall and dirty equipment or contaminate food with associated feces. Nests are easiest to locate by watching adults fly in and out of cavities. Starlings are known to vector pathogenic E. coli O157:H7 (Williams et al., 2011) and Salmonella enterica (Carlson et al., 2011; Kirk et al., 2002) and should be discouraged from nesting near food operations. Specific recommendations on starling nest management can be found here.

Figure 2. Lean-to style food wash station with open rafters that allow starling nesting. Circled is the cavity where starlings were observed nesting. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

Starlings will begin choosing nest sites as early as February (Cabe, 1993) and can begin laying eggs between mid-March and mid-June, depending on latitude (Kessel, 1957). Birds typically lay around 4-5 eggs per clutch (a group of eggs) and have 1-2 broods (a group of nestlings hatched at the same time). Eggs are bluish or greenish white and approximately 2.7–3.2 cm long by 1.9–2.3 cm wide. Incubation generally takes 12 days (Ricklefs and Smeraski, 1983). Nestlings fledge (depart from the nest) on day 21–23 after hatching and typically continue to rely on the parents to supplement their food for 10–12 days (Cabe, 1993). Starlings are omnivorous (Wilman et al., 2014) and eat pest insects, predatory arthropods, and crops (Cabe, 1993; Somers, 2002). As with most bird species, the number of insects in the diet increases during the breeding season while chicks are growing and insect abundance is high (Cabe, 1993). 

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

Figure 3. Invasive House Sparrow occupying native Cliff Swallow nest. Note the black bib on the throat, brown eye stripe, gray gap, and solid light gray belly that distinguish the male House Sparrow from native species. More identification information can be found online here. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

Similar to the story of the European Starling, the House Sparrow (Fig. 3) was introduced to North America in the 1850s and has now invaded all of North America. This species is highly associated with human-dominated landscapes. The House Sparrow has amazing nest site selection flexibility and can nest in nest boxes, inside and on buildings (Fig. 4), in stolen nests of other species (Fig. 3), or nest in and on trees. Intense competition for nesting cavities with native species can occur. Nests are constructed from a variety of materials such as dried plant material, feathers, or string. Like the European Starling, nests are most easily identified by watching birds fly to them (Lowther and Cink, 2006). Nest debris often accumulates under the nest location, causing food safety concerns when House Sparrows nest in food processing areas. This species is known to carry E. coli and Salmonella spp. (Morishita et al., 1999; Kirk et al., 2002) so should be discouraged from nesting near areas where food is present. Specific recommendations on House Sparrow nest management can be found here.

Figure 4. House Sparrow nests in barn rafters. Chicken wire was used to discourage nesting, but the sparrows were able to get under the netting. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

Nest building begins in February and March, and egg laying begins in March. House Sparrows have amazing fecundity, can have 4–8 broods per season, and can lay between 1–8 eggs per clutch (average about 5 eggs). Eggs are oval; about 2.1 cm long by 1.6 cm wide; and white, greenish-white, or blueish-white with gray or brown spots. Birds begin incubation after laying the final egg of a clutch. Incubation generally lasts 10–14 days. Chicks generally fledge after 14 days. Fledglings independently feed themselves after 7–10 days (Lowther and Cink, 2006). Insects, including alfalfa weevils and other pests, comprise about 68% of the diet of young birds (Lowther and Cink, 2006), while adults are primarily granivorous, often consuming livestock feed (Wilman et al., 2014). 

Rock Pigeon (Columba livia)

 

Figure 5. Rock Pigeons have beautiful iridescent green and purple napes. Their overall plumage is a dark blue-grey, setting them apart from invasive Eurasian Collared-Doves and native Mourning Doves. Rock Pigeons are most common in landscapes dominated by humans. Photo credit: Robin Horn, Tall Rock Pigeon, License.

Domesticated Rock Pigeons were introduced into North America by Europeans in the 1600s and readily went feral. Like the common name Rock Pigeon implies, this species historically nested on cliffs and in caves, so ledges of modern human structures are quite suitable as long as flat surfaces occur (Fig. 5; Lowther and Johnston, 2014). Nests are typically flimsy constructions made of straw, stems, sticks, or human objects. Rock Pigeons are known to carry pathogenic E. coli (Kobayashi et al., 2009) and Salmonella enterica (Kirk et al., 2002) and should be discouraged from nesting near food processing areas.

Figure 6. Rock Pigeon sitting on nest. Nests are typically simple with some sticks, stems, or straw placed on a flat ledge. Photo credit: Benny MazurRooftop pigeon, License.

Nesting begins mid-February. Birds lay two eggs, and incubation begins after laying the second. Eggs are white and average 3.8 cm in length by 2.9 cm in width. Eggs typically hatch after 18 days, and chicks fledge on day 25–32. In some areas, Rock Pigeons can nest year- round due to chicks feeding on seeds and crop milk (a secretion from the crop of pigeons regurgitated to feed chicks). Mean number of nesting attempts per year is 6.5 (Lowther and Johnston, 2014). Adults are primarily granivorous (Wilman et al., 2014). 

Native Species

Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, one cannot tamper with native bird nests or eggs. Therefore, with native species, prevention of nesting in undesirable areas and encouraging nesting in desirable areas is key (more details below).

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

Figure 7. Adult Barn Swallow in flight. Note the long tail streamers which set it apart from other adult swallows. Photo credit: Denise Coyle, Barn Swallow

The Barn Swallow is a species most growers love to see gliding effortlessly through the air eating pest insects (more information can be found here) but often causes disgruntlement due to its nesting habits. Historically a species that nested in caves, the Barn Swallow now primarily nests under the eaves of buildings or inside artificial structures (Fig. 7). Barn Swallows build open-cup nests from mud on the walls of structures. They often nest colonially (Brown and Brown, 1999). Pathogenic E. coli has been found in Barn Swallows (Nielsen et al., 2004), so nesting above food processing areas should be discouraged.

Figure 8. Barn Swallow nest. Unlike the similar Cliff Swallow, Barn Swallow nests are open cup. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

Barn Swallows have a vast global distribution, so there is considerable variation in life history attributes within the species. Birds typically begin nest-building within two weeks after returning to the breeding grounds (Brown and Brown, 1999). Females typically lay between 4–8 eggs (Shields and Crook, 1987). Eggs have an ovate to elliptical ovate shape and are creamy or pinkish white with brown, lavender, and gray spots. Egg size averages 1.9 cm long by 1.4 cm wide. Barn Swallows often have 2 broods per year but can have as many as 4. Incubation lasts about 12–17 days. Chicks fledge around day 18–27. For up to 2 weeks, fledglings rely on parents for feeding (Brown and Brown, 1999). Barn Swallows eat almost exclusively insects (Wilman et al., 2014; more information can be found here). 

Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)

Figure 9. Cliff Swallow adults in nest. Cliff Swallow nests are enclosed structures with the entrance hole at the top, unlike the open-cup Barn Swallow nest. Apparent is the telltale white forehead that distinguishes them from the Barn Swallow. Note the old Barn Swallow nest under the newer mud of the Cliff Swallow nest. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

Historically, the Cliff Swallow nested colonially under ledges of canyons in the West (Fig. 8). Human land usage allowed a range expansion because modern highway culverts, bridges, and buildings became manmade "cliffs" for Cliff Swallows to build nests on (Brown et al., 2017). Like the Barn Swallow, the Cliff Swallow builds nests from mud, but unlike the Barn Swallow, the Cliff Swallow's nest is enclosed and looks like a gourd (Fig. 8). Cliff Swallow colonies have been associated with increased environmental E. coli concentrations (Sejkora et al., 2011), so nesting should be discouraged above food packing areas.

Nest building typically begins within a few weeks of arrival to the breeding grounds. Arrival date and subsequent nest building varies by latitude and can start as early as March. The outside of nests are built entirely from mud, unlike Barn Swallow nests (Fig. 8), though birds do line the inside with grass. Clutch size varies from 1–6 eggs and averages about 3. Cliff Swallows usually have one brood but can have two if the first fails (Brown et al., 2017). Eggs are white, creamy, or pinkish with brown speckles or blotches. Cliff Swallow eggs average 2.0 cm in length by 1.4 cm in width. Incubation ranges from 11–16 days and averages around 13.6 (Grant and Quay, 1977). Chicks normally fledge between days 20–26, depending on the region. Fledglings rely on parents for food for the first 3–5 days (Brown et al., 2017). Like the Barn Swallow, Cliff Swallows eat almost exclusively insects (Wilman et al., 2014; more information can be found here).

Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans)

Figure 10. Black Phoebe perched on deer fence. Note the white belly contrasting against the otherwise black feathers and the slightly crested head feathers. Black Phoebes often bob their tails while perched, a characteristic of the phoebes. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

The Black Phoebe (Fig. 10) has a small distribution within the continental United States but is frequently found on California organic farms foraging for insects. Natural nest sites include sheltered rock faces, streamside boulders, and hollow tree cavities. Like many other species in this article, human-built structures have increased densities of Black Phoebes by providing artificial nest sites. Black Phoebe nests (Fig. 11) appear quite similar to Barn Swallow nests. Nests are open cup, plastered to vertical surfaces, and composed of mud and plant material such as stems and small roots (Wolf, 1997). No current evidence has demonstrated Black Phoebes carry human enteric pathogens. However, Black Phoebes are known to frequent cattle troughs (Wolf, 1997), which is a known transmission point of human enteric pathogens between livestock and wild birds (Carlson et al., 2010). Therefore, growers should use caution due to little data existing on Black Phoebe pathogen rates. 

Figure 11. Black Phoebe adult feeding chicks in open cup mud nest. Photo credit: Glorietta13, Black phoebes, CC BY-NC 2.0

Nest building typically begins in early March. Black Phoebes generally raise 1–2 broods per season with a clutch size of 1–6 eggs. Eggs are ovate to short ovate and white, sometimes with light spots around the large end. Eggs are typically 1.9 cm in length by 1.5 cm in width. Incubation averages 16–17 days. Chicks fledge between days 18–21. Fledglings are dependent on adults for the first 7–11 days (Wolf, 1997). Adults and chicks are almost exclusively insectivorous (Wilman et al., 2014).

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

Figure 12. American Robin perched on fence post holding invertebrate prey. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

The American Robin (Fig. 12) is, perhaps surprisingly, a thrush. To the disdain of many growers, its diet is largely comprised of beneficial invertebrates such as earthworms in the early breeding season, and switches to primarily fruits in fall and winter. It is adapted to live in many habitats and is common on farms and urban settings, as well as more forested settings like other thrushes (Vanderhoff et al., 2016). Like its habitat usage, its nest placement also has flexibility. Robins often place nests in shrubs, trees, or on structures, as long as the nest is on a firm support (Fig. 13). The nest is an open cup, constructed from mud, dead grass, and twigs on the outside, with a lining of fine dead grass pieces. One study found high prevalence of E. coli in American Robins (44.8%), though it did not distinguish pathogenic from non-pathogenic strains (Parker et al., 2016), so risk of American Robins carrying pathogenic E. coli is unclear. The USGS database Wildlife Health Information Sharing Partnership (WHISPers) reports several suspected cases of Salmonellosis in American Robins, suggesting they may vector Salmonella enterica to produce if allowed to nest near produce wash stations.



Figure 13. American Robin nest with three chicks about to fledge. Photo credit: alsteele, Young American Robins, CC BY-SA 2.0

The American Robin is one of the most widely distributed species in North America, so onset of breeding varies by location, and occurs between April and June (Vanderhoff et al., 2016). Robins typically lay 3–4 eggs per clutch and have 2 broods per year. Eggs are a beautiful sky blue or green-blue color and average 2.8–3.0 cm in length by 2.1 cm in width (Fig. 14). The incubation period is generally 11–14 days (Howell, 1942). Nestlings typically fledge around day 13 after hatching (range 9–16 days; Howell, 1942). Parents typically begin a second brood within days of the first fledging. For the second clutch, once incubation begins, males feed fledglings while females incubate (Weatherhead and Mcrae, 1990). 

Figure 14. American Robin egg. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)

Figure 15. House Finch female (left) and male (right) eating seeds. Males have a bright red throat, belly, cap, and nape. Intensity of red color indicates male health. Females are drab but can be distinguished from other species by the sturdy, seed cracking bill. House Finches also have streaking on the breast that distinguishes them from similar looking House Sparrows. Photo credit: John Flannery, The House Finches, CC BY-ND 2.0

The House Finch (Fig. 15) is native to the deserts and dry, open habitats of the southwestern United States. In 1939, several birds were released from a pet store in New York City, allowing a range expansion into the eastern United States. The western population has also expanded its range so that now the House Finch occurs across most of the United States and Mexico. Nests can be placed in a large variety of sites: pine, palm trees, cacti, rock ledges, ivy on buildings, street lamps, hanging planters, parking structures, lean-tos, window sills, in the cavities of various farm equipment, etc. Nests are open cup and built from grass, leaves, rootlets, small twigs, string, wool, and feathers (Fig. 16). In urban areas, birds will incorporate human items such twine, string, dog hair, cellophane, and even cigarette filters (Badyaev et al., 2012). House Finches are known to carry E. coli (Morishita et al., 1999) and Salmonella enterica (Kirk et al., 2002), so nesting near food processing areas should be discouraged.



Figure 16. House Finch female sitting on open cup nest placed on gutter. Photo credit: Robert Hruzek, House Finch – Detail, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Nest building begins in February in the southwest portion of the range and March in the northern portion. Birds can nest up to 6 times per year but have only been observed to have 3 successful broods a season. Eggs are pale blue to white with black and pale purple speckles. Egg shape is sub-elliptical to long sub-elliptical and ranges from 1.6–2.1 cm in length by 1.2–1.8 cm in width. Incubation can take between 12–17 days and averages 13–14. Fledglings typically take 2.5–3 weeks to feed themselves completely independently from parents (Badyaev et al., 2012). Young are thought to eat mostly weed seeds with very little insect matter in the diet (<2%; Beal, 1907). House Finch adults are granivorous (Wilman et al., 2014). 

Barn Owl (Tyto alba)

Figure 17. Barn Owl in flight. Photo credit: Robert Shea, Barn Owl, CC BY-NC 2.0

Like the Barn Swallow, the Barn Owl (Fig. 17) has a nearly global distribution. It is typically found in open habitats such as pastures and farm fields rather than closed, forested habitats. Barn Owls are nocturnal and most likely to be seen around dawn and dusk. The Barn Owl has a piercing shriek (example recording here) that can also give away its occupancy. Barn Owls nest in cavities including tree cavities, cliffs, church steeples, barn lofts, haystacks, and nest boxes (Fig. 18). Suitable nesting locations is a limiting factor for this beneficial raptor, so providing nest boxes is important (Marti et al., 2005; click here for more information on construction and placement). Barn owls are known to carry Salmonella spp. (Kirkpatrick and Colvin, 1986), antibiotic resistant E. coli (Alcalá et al., 2016), and Campylobacter spp. (Molina-Lopez et al., 2011), perhaps from feeding on mice carrying these bacteria.

Figure 18. Barn Owl nest box. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

The Barn Owl does not usually build nests, though some dig burrows in arroyo walls in Colorado and New Mexico. Because of its wide distribution, egg laying initiation date varies and can occur year-round. One brood is common for birds in temperate regions, but some pairs have 3 broods per year. Average clutch size ranges from 3.1 to 7.2, depending on location. Eggs are short sub-elliptical, are about 3.2–3.4 cm in length by 4.0–4.4 cm in width, and dull white. The female incubates eggs for 29–34 days. Fledging date varies based on location. In England, first flight is usually day 50–55, whereas in Utah, mean fledging date is day 64. Fledglings are dependent on adults for 3–5 weeks. Fledglings are clumsy until they gain enough strength and agility to fly (Fig. 18). Chicks and adults eat the same diet, which is mostly small mammals, including common rodent pests (Moore et al., 1998; Marti et al., 2005; Wilman et al., 2014). However, evidence that Barn Owls increase yield through pest control services is still sparse (Moore et al., 1998), though Motro (2011) did find an estimated alfalfa yield increase of 3.2% due to Barn Owls, equating to $30/ha per year.

Figure 19. Barn Owl day of fledging. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

Nest Location Management

It is illegal to tamper with nests or eggs of native species, so deterrence of nesting in unwanted locations before it begins is important. Avoid using poisons or methods that can harm or kill native species. Below are a few commonly recommended methods for deterring bird nesting on structures. More research is needed to test the efficacy of listed methods. Most methods are best initiated and maintained prior to the onset of the breeding season. 

  • Block cavity entrances using mesh, wood, or other barriers (see nest in Fig. 2 above for an example this method could help with). Place netting carefully to avoid birds getting trapped inside (but see Fig. 4).
  • Create slopes on ledges by placing boards at a 45 degree angle so that species like Rock Pigeon cannot build nests. If a board doesn't work, try a loose spring that creates an unstable surface for birds to build on. Spikes are also an option, but be aware spikes can kill birds. A quick internet search shows many examples of nests built on top of spikes, suggesting they are ineffective, and will also show photos of impaled birds.
  • Create a visual disturbance near nest sites by using flashing lights, placing mirrors on ledges, or hanging mylar tape. However, species like the European Starling are extremely smart and aren't fooled for long with these methods (Belant et al., 1998).
  • Place plastic predators near nests. These need to be moved frequently to continue to deter birds (Belant et al., 1998).
  • Use noise machines that project bird distress or predator calls. However, there is no current evidence to suggest this method works. 
  • Plant shrubs that provide good nesting habitat away from structures. Try planting near crops where birds will eat pest insects (like apples; Mols and Visser, 2002), but avoid placing next to crops birds will damage (cherries, blueberries, grapes; Somers et al., 2002). Prior research has demonstrated pest control services increase near natural habitat like hedges (Boesing et al., 2017).

Find ways to encourage nesting at The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Project NestWatch website, which has excellent information on how to promote nesting for many species, including many farmland birds not listed in this article.

Additional Resources

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology supports a great citizen scientist network with detailed information on nest box construction and placement (nestwatch.org), recommendations for attracting species of interest (content.yardmap.org), and range information (ebird.org). Project NestWatch also has great information on identifying many nests beyond the scope of this article (https://nestwatch.org/learn/focal-species/). The lab offers many opportunities for the public to get involved with scientific data collection through HabitatNetwork, Project FeederWatch, eBird, and NestWatch. Basic species information can be found at All About Birds, and the Merlin Bird ID app can aid in field identification.

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  • Ricklefs, R. E., and C. A. Smeraski. 1983. Variation in incubation period within a population of the European Starling. The Auk 100:926–931. Available online at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4086421 (verified 19 March 2018).
  • Sejkora, P., M. J. Kirisits, and M. Barrett. 2011. Colonies of Cliff Swallows on highway bridges: A source of Escherichia coli in surface waters. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 47:1275–1284. Available online at: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1752-1688.2011.00566.x (verified 21 March 2018).
  • Shields, W. M., and J. R. Crook. 1987. Barn Swallow coloniality: A net cost for group breeding in the Adirondacks? Ecology 68:1373–1386. Available online at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1939221 (verified 19 March 2018).
  • Somers, C. M., and R. D. Morris. 2002. Birds and wine grapes: Foraging activity causes small-scale damage patterns in single vineyards. Journal of Applied Ecology 39:511–523. Available online at: https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2664.2002.00725.x (verified 13 May 2018).
  • Vanderhoff, N. P. Pyle, M. A. Patten, R. Sallabanks, and F. C. James. 2016. American Robin (Turdus migratorious). In P. Rodewald (ed.) The Birds of North America. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY. Available online at: https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/amerob (verified 17 April 2018).
  • Weatherhead, P. J., and S. B. Mcrae. 1990. Brood care in American Robins: Implications for mixed reproductive strategies by females. Animal Behaviour 39:1179–1188. Available online at: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0003-3472(05)80790-0 (verified 17 April 2018).
  • Williams, M. L., D. L. Pearl, and J. T. LeJeune. 2011. Multiple‐locus variable‐nucleotide tandem repeat subtype analysis implicates European starlings as biological vectors for Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Ohio, USA. Journal of Applied Microbiology 111:982–988. Available online at: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2672.2011.05102.x (verified 19 March 2018).
  • Wilman, H., J. Belmaker, J. Simpson, C. de la Rosa, M. M. Rivadeneira, and W. Jetz. 2014. EltonTraits 1.0: Species-level foraging attributes of the world's birds and mammals. Ecology 95:2027–2027. Available online at: https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1890/13-1917.1 (verified 13 May 2018). 
  • Wolf, B. O. 1997. Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans). In P. Rodewald (ed.) The Birds of North America. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY. Available online at: https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/blkpho (verified 13 May 2018).

 

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 25296

Assessing Nitrogen Contribution and Rhizobia Diversity Associated with Winter Legume Cover Crops in Organic Systems Webinar

mar, 2018/05/22 - 21:07

Resources and notes from the webinar:

Clovers were planted at a density of 22.4 kg ha-1, vetches at 28 kg ha-1, winter peas at 67.2 kg ha-1, lupin at 134 kg ha-1. Bicultures MXE and MXM consisted of 28 and 56 kg ha-1 hairy vetch and rye respectively, and 50.4 and 56 kg ha-1 Austrian winter pea and rye respectively for MXP.

About the Webinar:
This webinar is designed to deepen your understanding of how legume cover crops, through a symbiotic relationship with beneficial soil rhizobia bacteria, can be used to provide new nitrogen to your organic crops through the process of nitrogen fixation. We will review the process of nitrogen fixation, and provide recent data from our lab describing the amount of nitrogen fixed by common and some novel cover crop legumes used in organic agriculture. We will also briefly discuss how the diversity of rhizobia present in the soil may impact this process.

Find all eOrganic upcoming and archived webinars »

About the Presenter:
Julie Grossman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Soil Science at North Carolina State University specializing in organic cropping systems. Most recently, Julie began leading a new project integrating community gardens in low-income Raleigh neighborhoods with undergraduate soil science and nutrition courses. She also serves on the Steering Council of the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association,  a new professional association championing innovative educational approaches for sustainable agriculture.

About eOrganic

eOrganic is the Organic Agriculture Community of Practice at eXtension.org. Our website  at http:www.extension.org/organic_production contains articles, videos, and webinars for farmers, ranchers, agricultural professionals, certifiers, researchers and educators seeking reliable information on organic agriculture, published research results, farmer experiences, and certification. The content is collaboratively authored and reviewed by our community of University researchers and Extension personnel, agricultural professionals, farmers, and certifiers with experience and expertise in organic agriculture.

 

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 5668

Assessing Nitrogen Contribution and Rhizobia Diversity Associated with Winter Legume Cover Crops in Organic Systems Webinar

mar, 2018/05/22 - 21:07

Resources and notes from the webinar:

Clovers were planted at a density of 22.4 kg ha-1, vetches at 28 kg ha-1, winter peas at 67.2 kg ha-1, lupin at 134 kg ha-1. Bicultures MXE and MXM consisted of 28 and 56 kg ha-1 hairy vetch and rye respectively, and 50.4 and 56 kg ha-1 Austrian winter pea and rye respectively for MXP.

About the Webinar:
This webinar is designed to deepen your understanding of how legume cover crops, through a symbiotic relationship with beneficial soil rhizobia bacteria, can be used to provide new nitrogen to your organic crops through the process of nitrogen fixation. We will review the process of nitrogen fixation, and provide recent data from our lab describing the amount of nitrogen fixed by common and some novel cover crop legumes used in organic agriculture. We will also briefly discuss how the diversity of rhizobia present in the soil may impact this process.

Find all eOrganic upcoming and archived webinars »

About the Presenter:
Julie Grossman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Soil Science at North Carolina State University specializing in organic cropping systems. Most recently, Julie began leading a new project integrating community gardens in low-income Raleigh neighborhoods with undergraduate soil science and nutrition courses. She also serves on the Steering Council of the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association,  a new professional association championing innovative educational approaches for sustainable agriculture.

About eOrganic

eOrganic is the Organic Agriculture Community of Practice at eXtension.org. Our website  at http:www.extension.org/organic_production contains articles, videos, and webinars for farmers, ranchers, agricultural professionals, certifiers, researchers and educators seeking reliable information on organic agriculture, published research results, farmer experiences, and certification. The content is collaboratively authored and reviewed by our community of University researchers and Extension personnel, agricultural professionals, farmers, and certifiers with experience and expertise in organic agriculture.

 

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 5668

Organic Poultry Production Systems

mar, 2018/05/15 - 18:00

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic T1206

Rodent Control on Organic Poultry Farms

mar, 2018/05/15 - 17:49

eOrganic author:

Dr. Jacquie Jacob Ph.D., University of Kentucky

NOTE: Before applying ANY pest control product, be sure to 1) read and understand the safety precautions and application restrictions, and 2) make sure that the brand name product is listed in your Organic System Plan and approved by your certifier. For more information see Can I Use this Product for Disease Management on my Organic Farm?

NOTE: Brand names appearing in this article are examples only. No endorsement is intended, nor is criticism implied of similar products not mentioned.

Introduction

Rodent control is important on organic poultry farms. Those with outdoor access are exposed to closer contact with rodents and pose increased veterinary risks. With a high reproduction rate and an omnivorous diet, a rat and/or mouse infestation can have significant economic impacts from consumption or fouling of feed, acting as disease vectors, or destroying infrastructure. A single rat can consume 20-40 pounds of feed a year (Watkins and Donald, 2002). Rodents can also carry and spread diseases both biologically and mechanically, and can cause serious damage to insulation and house wiring. Disease-carrying rodents can spread a disease from one to another even if the facilities are cleaned and disinfected. Controlling rodents is an essential part of any biosecurity plan.

A three-pronged approach should be taken in controlling rodents, including mice and rats.

  • Prevention
  • Monitoring
  • Control
Prevention

Habitat reduction is critical for preventing rodent populations on any poultry farm. Blocking access routes with physical barriers is one strategy to exclude rodents from a poultry house. It is important to be aware that mice are able to squeeze through a hole the size of a dime and rats through an opening the size of a quarter (Watkins and Donald, 2002).  Mice are able to enter buildings through unprotected ends of corrugated metal siding. Make sure to close openings around augers, pipes and wires, but also remember to look for and repair holes monthly. Any burrows with indications of recent digging should be dealt with immediately.

It is important to block access to stored feed and minimize feed spillage.

Clear the area around the poultry house of brush, trash, and weeds, maintaining a minimum of three-feet clear space around the house.

Monitoring

A monitoring program provides early warning of a possible rodent problem and improves the decision-making process in the prevention of rodent infestations. A variety of different monitoring methods can be used including trapping, ink pads, and tracking plates. The effectiveness of a monitoring system is strengthened if the farmer is able to identify which rodent species is/are causing the greatest impact. Each species has a distinct behavioral profile and habitat preference.

Control

Some organic farmers use cats for predator control. There is no sound evidence that cats regulate rodent populations, and cats present a health risk to the flock (Rimler and Glisson, 1997; Maier et al., 2000).

Though not recommended for poultry farms, another possible control method is the use of ultrasound or low-frequency devices. There is very little published evidence supporting their efficacy in open environments, and there is some evidence that ultrasound devices disturb livestock (OEFFA, 2010).

A number of commercial alternative products for rodent control are available. The effectiveness of these products has not been proven in a commercial setting.

  • Shake-Away (OMRI-listed) granules contain the scent of both fox and bobcat urine, which are thought to scare mice and rats. The granules should be placed strategically where the rodents are living or traveling through.
  • Weiser's Nature's Defense contains seven certified organic ingredients and is said to repel several different animals, including rats and mice. It is safe to use around people, plants and pets.
  • Animal-repelling scented stones also contain a predator scent that will keep rodents away. They need to be placed strategically throughout the poultry house.
  • Peppermint oil is thought to be a natural deterrent. Rodents don't like the intense smell and avoid it. Place peppermint oil in areas where rodents are likely to enter. Another alternative is to grow peppermint plants near the entryways.
  • There are a few traps (mechanical or electrical) and glue boards that can also be used to effectively control rodents. Make sure to place traps and/or glue boards along walls and corridors where rodents travel.

Return to Pest control page

References and Citations
  • Maier, R. M., I. L. Pepper, and C. P. Gerba. 2000. Environmental Microbiology. Academic Press, San Diego, CA.
  • OEFFA. 2010. OEFFA Organic Certification Factsheet—Rodent control [Online]. Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association. Columbus, OH. Available at: http://www.oeffa.org/certfiles/facts/Rodent%20Control%20-%20Fact%20Sheet%208.pdf (verified 19 Nov 2013)
  • Rimler, R. B., and J. R. Glisson. 1997. Fowl cholera. Pages 143–159 In: B. W. Calnek, H. J. Barnes, C. W. Beard, L. R. McDougald, and Y. M. Saif (ed.) Diseases of Poultry, 10th edition. Iowa State University Press, Ames, IA.
  • Watkins, S. E., and J. Donald. 2002. How to control rats, mice and darkling beetles [Online]. Auburn University Poultry Engineering, Economics and Management Newsletter. Issue 20, November 2002. Available at: http://www.aces.edu/poultryventilation/documents/Nwsltr-20-PestsSS.pdf (verified 21 Nov 2013)

 

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 7957

Rodent Control on Organic Poultry Farms

mar, 2018/05/15 - 17:49

eOrganic author:

Dr. Jacquie Jacob Ph.D., University of Kentucky

NOTE: Before applying ANY pest control product, be sure to 1) read and understand the safety precautions and application restrictions, and 2) make sure that the brand name product is listed in your Organic System Plan and approved by your certifier. For more information see Can I Use this Product for Disease Management on my Organic Farm?

NOTE: Brand names appearing in this article are examples only. No endorsement is intended, nor is criticism implied of similar products not mentioned.

Introduction

Rodent control is important on organic poultry farms. Those with outdoor access are exposed to closer contact with rodents and pose increased veterinary risks. With a high reproduction rate and an omnivorous diet, a rat and/or mouse infestation can have significant economic impacts from consumption or fouling of feed, acting as disease vectors, or destroying infrastructure. A single rat can consume 20-40 pounds of feed a year (Watkins and Donald, 2002). Rodents can also carry and spread diseases both biologically and mechanically, and can cause serious damage to insulation and house wiring. Disease-carrying rodents can spread a disease from one to another even if the facilities are cleaned and disinfected. Controlling rodents is an essential part of any biosecurity plan.

A three-pronged approach should be taken in controlling rodents, including mice and rats.

  • Prevention
  • Monitoring
  • Control
Prevention

Habitat reduction is critical for preventing rodent populations on any poultry farm. Blocking access routes with physical barriers is one strategy to exclude rodents from a poultry house. It is important to be aware that mice are able to squeeze through a hole the size of a dime and rats through an opening the size of a quarter (Watkins and Donald, 2002).  Mice are able to enter buildings through unprotected ends of corrugated metal siding. Make sure to close openings around augers, pipes and wires, but also remember to look for and repair holes monthly. Any burrows with indications of recent digging should be dealt with immediately.

It is important to block access to stored feed and minimize feed spillage.

Clear the area around the poultry house of brush, trash, and weeds, maintaining a minimum of three-feet clear space around the house.

Monitoring

A monitoring program provides early warning of a possible rodent problem and improves the decision-making process in the prevention of rodent infestations. A variety of different monitoring methods can be used including trapping, ink pads, and tracking plates. The effectiveness of a monitoring system is strengthened if the farmer is able to identify which rodent species is/are causing the greatest impact. Each species has a distinct behavioral profile and habitat preference.

Control

Some organic farmers use cats for predator control. There is no sound evidence that cats regulate rodent populations, and cats present a health risk to the flock (Rimler and Glisson, 1997; Maier et al., 2000).

Though not recommended for poultry farms, another possible control method is the use of ultrasound or low-frequency devices. There is very little published evidence supporting their efficacy in open environments, and there is some evidence that ultrasound devices disturb livestock (OEFFA, 2010).

A number of commercial alternative products for rodent control are available. The effectiveness of these products has not been proven in a commercial setting.

  • Shake-Away (OMRI-listed) granules contain the scent of both fox and bobcat urine, which are thought to scare mice and rats. The granules should be placed strategically where the rodents are living or traveling through.
  • Weiser's Nature's Defense contains seven certified organic ingredients and is said to repel several different animals, including rats and mice. It is safe to use around people, plants and pets.
  • Animal-repelling scented stones also contain a predator scent that will keep rodents away. They need to be placed strategically throughout the poultry house.
  • Peppermint oil is thought to be a natural deterrent. Rodents don't like the intense smell and avoid it. Place peppermint oil in areas where rodents are likely to enter. Another alternative is to grow peppermint plants near the entryways.
  • There are a few traps (mechanical or electrical) and glue boards that can also be used to effectively control rodents. Make sure to place traps and/or glue boards along walls and corridors where rodents travel.

Return to Pest control page

References and Citations
  • Maier, R. M., I. L. Pepper, and C. P. Gerba. 2000. Environmental Microbiology. Academic Press, San Diego, CA.
  • OEFFA. 2010. OEFFA Organic Certification Factsheet—Rodent control [Online]. Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association. Columbus, OH. Available at: http://www.oeffa.org/certfiles/facts/Rodent%20Control%20-%20Fact%20Sheet%208.pdf (verified 19 Nov 2013)
  • Rimler, R. B., and J. R. Glisson. 1997. Fowl cholera. Pages 143–159 In: B. W. Calnek, H. J. Barnes, C. W. Beard, L. R. McDougald, and Y. M. Saif (ed.) Diseases of Poultry, 10th edition. Iowa State University Press, Ames, IA.
  • Watkins, S. E., and J. Donald. 2002. How to control rats, mice and darkling beetles [Online]. Auburn University Poultry Engineering, Economics and Management Newsletter. Issue 20, November 2002. Available at: http://www.aces.edu/poultryventilation/documents/Nwsltr-20-PestsSS.pdf (verified 21 Nov 2013)

 

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 7957

Pest Control in Organic Poultry Production

mar, 2018/05/15 - 17:48

eOrganic author:

Dr. Jacquie Jacob Ph.D., University of Kentucky

Introduction

A variety of pest problems can occur on poultry farms. There are external parasites that can infest the birds, insects that develop in manure and harbor disease-causing organisms, and rodents that carry disease-causing organisms and cause damage to poultry facilities. Disease control on any poultry operation requires strict control of these pathogen-carrying pests. Organic poultry producers are not allowed to use the synthetic pesticides routinely used in conventional poultry production operations, thus making prevention critical in the management of these pests. This article summarizes prevention and control standards for pest control in organic poultry production provided in the USDA's National Organic Program Final Rule (United States Department of Agriculture [USDA], 2000).

§ 205.238 Livestock health care practice standard.

(a) The producer must establish and maintain preventive livestock health care practices, including:

(3) Establishment of appropriate housing, pasture conditions, and sanitation practices to minimize the occurrence and spread of diseases and parasites;

(c) The producer of an organic livestock operation must NOT:

(4) Administer synthetic parasiticides on a routine basis;
(5) Administer synthetic parasiticides to slaughter stock;

Prevention

The best method for controlling pests is to prevent their entry in the first place. The NOP regulations identify some control measures:

§ 205.271 Facility pest management practice standard.

(a) The producer or handler of an organic facility must use management practices to prevent pests, including but not limited to:

(1) Removal of pest habitat, food sources, and breeding areas;
(2) Prevention of access to handling facilities; and
(3) Management of environmental factors, such as temperature, light, humidity, atmosphere, and air circulation, to prevent pest reproduction.

(b) Pests may be controlled through:

(1) Mechanical or physical controls including but not limited to traps, light, or sound; or
(2) Lures and repellents using non-synthetic or synthetic substances consistent with the National List.

Examples of preventive measures related specifically to poultry include:

  • Proper manure management to prevent the development of manure-breeding flies and beetles
  • Proper storage of feed to reduce rodent problems
  • Frequent rotation of pastures to prevent intestinal parasites
Control

The outdoor access requirement for organic poultry production (§ 205.239 Livestock living conditions) makes prevention of pests difficult. As a result, control programs must be in place. In addition to harboring pest flies, beetles, and mites, manure also provides habitat to several beneficial insects and mites. Predaceous mites, hister beetles, and parasitoids are all important biological control agents for suppressing fly populations. Historically, pest control measures on many conventional farms relied primarily on pesticides. Extensive use of pesticides results in the destruction of biological control agents and can result in the development of pesticide resistance. On organic farms, an integrated pest management (IPM) system is used. To ensure the effectiveness of any management system, producers must first correctly identify the pest and understand the its basic life cycle and potential damage.

§ 205.271 Facility pest management practice standard.

(c) If the practices provided for in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section are not effective to prevent or control pests, a non-synthetic or synthetic substance consistent with the National List may be applied.

(d) If the practices provided for in paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of this section are not effective to prevent or control facility pests, a synthetic substance not on the National List may be applied: Provided, That, the handler and certifying agent agree on the substance, method of application, and measures to be taken to prevent contact of the organically produced products or ingredients with the substance used.

(e) The handler of an organic handling operation who applies a non-synthetic or synthetic substance to prevent or control pests must update the operation's organic handling plan to reflect the use of such substances and methods of application. The updated organic plan must include a list of all measures taken to prevent contact of the organically produced products or ingredients with the substance used.

(f) Notwithstanding the practices provided for in paragraphs (a), (b), (c), and (d) of this section, a handler may otherwise use substances to prevent or control pests as required by Federal, State, or local laws and regulations: Provided, That, measures are taken to prevent contact of the organically produced products or ingredients with the substance used.

For specific organic pest management information, visit:

Control of internal parasites

Control of external parasites

Darkling beetle control

Rodent control

References and Citations

United States Department of Agriculture. 2000. National organic program: Final rule. Codified at 7 C.F.R., part 205. (Available online at: http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=3f34f4c22f9aa8e6d9864cc2683cea02&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title07/7cfr205_main_02.tpl) (verified 28 July 2013)

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 7840

Pest Control in Organic Poultry Production

mar, 2018/05/15 - 17:48

eOrganic author:

Dr. Jacquie Jacob Ph.D., University of Kentucky

Introduction

A variety of pest problems can occur on poultry farms. There are external parasites that can infest the birds, insects that develop in manure and harbor disease-causing organisms, and rodents that carry disease-causing organisms and cause damage to poultry facilities. Disease control on any poultry operation requires strict control of these pathogen-carrying pests. Organic poultry producers are not allowed to use the synthetic pesticides routinely used in conventional poultry production operations, thus making prevention critical in the management of these pests. This article summarizes prevention and control standards for pest control in organic poultry production provided in the USDA's National Organic Program Final Rule (United States Department of Agriculture [USDA], 2000).

§ 205.238 Livestock health care practice standard.

(a) The producer must establish and maintain preventive livestock health care practices, including:

(3) Establishment of appropriate housing, pasture conditions, and sanitation practices to minimize the occurrence and spread of diseases and parasites;

(c) The producer of an organic livestock operation must NOT:

(4) Administer synthetic parasiticides on a routine basis;
(5) Administer synthetic parasiticides to slaughter stock;

Prevention

The best method for controlling pests is to prevent their entry in the first place. The NOP regulations identify some control measures:

§ 205.271 Facility pest management practice standard.

(a) The producer or handler of an organic facility must use management practices to prevent pests, including but not limited to:

(1) Removal of pest habitat, food sources, and breeding areas;
(2) Prevention of access to handling facilities; and
(3) Management of environmental factors, such as temperature, light, humidity, atmosphere, and air circulation, to prevent pest reproduction.

(b) Pests may be controlled through:

(1) Mechanical or physical controls including but not limited to traps, light, or sound; or
(2) Lures and repellents using non-synthetic or synthetic substances consistent with the National List.

Examples of preventive measures related specifically to poultry include:

  • Proper manure management to prevent the development of manure-breeding flies and beetles
  • Proper storage of feed to reduce rodent problems
  • Frequent rotation of pastures to prevent intestinal parasites
Control

The outdoor access requirement for organic poultry production (§ 205.239 Livestock living conditions) makes prevention of pests difficult. As a result, control programs must be in place. In addition to harboring pest flies, beetles, and mites, manure also provides habitat to several beneficial insects and mites. Predaceous mites, hister beetles, and parasitoids are all important biological control agents for suppressing fly populations. Historically, pest control measures on many conventional farms relied primarily on pesticides. Extensive use of pesticides results in the destruction of biological control agents and can result in the development of pesticide resistance. On organic farms, an integrated pest management (IPM) system is used. To ensure the effectiveness of any management system, producers must first correctly identify the pest and understand the its basic life cycle and potential damage.

§ 205.271 Facility pest management practice standard.

(c) If the practices provided for in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section are not effective to prevent or control pests, a non-synthetic or synthetic substance consistent with the National List may be applied.

(d) If the practices provided for in paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of this section are not effective to prevent or control facility pests, a synthetic substance not on the National List may be applied: Provided, That, the handler and certifying agent agree on the substance, method of application, and measures to be taken to prevent contact of the organically produced products or ingredients with the substance used.

(e) The handler of an organic handling operation who applies a non-synthetic or synthetic substance to prevent or control pests must update the operation's organic handling plan to reflect the use of such substances and methods of application. The updated organic plan must include a list of all measures taken to prevent contact of the organically produced products or ingredients with the substance used.

(f) Notwithstanding the practices provided for in paragraphs (a), (b), (c), and (d) of this section, a handler may otherwise use substances to prevent or control pests as required by Federal, State, or local laws and regulations: Provided, That, measures are taken to prevent contact of the organically produced products or ingredients with the substance used.

For specific organic pest management information, visit:

Control of internal parasites

Control of external parasites

Darkling beetle control

Rodent control

References and Citations

United States Department of Agriculture. 2000. National organic program: Final rule. Codified at 7 C.F.R., part 205. (Available online at: http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=3f34f4c22f9aa8e6d9864cc2683cea02&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title07/7cfr205_main_02.tpl) (verified 28 July 2013)

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 7840

Intestinal Worm Control in Organic Poultry Production

mar, 2018/05/15 - 17:48

eOrganic author:

Dr. Jacquie Jacob Ph.D., University of Kentucky

NOTE: Brand names appearing in this article are examples only. No endorsement is intended, nor is criticism implied of similar products not mentioned.

NOTE: Before applying any pest control product, be sure to read and understand the safety precautions and application restrictions, and make sure that the brand name product is listed in your Organic System Plan and approved by your certifier. For more information see Can I Use this Product for Disease Management on my Organic Farm?

Introduction

There are a number of intestinal worms that can infest poultry, including roundworms and tapeworms. A small number of worms do not usually cause health problems, but large numbers can affect growth, egg production, and health. Young birds are more commonly affected. Birds ingest the parasite eggs present in contaminated feed or water, or in intermediate hosts (e.g., insects, snails, earthworms or other small animals) that can naturally carry the eggs.

Some worms interfere with feed absorption, some transmit disease, and some can migrate into the blood and other organs.

Nematodes are roundworms that commonly affect chickens; examples include Ascaridia gali, Heterakis gallinarum, and Capillaria obsignata. Infective eggs are resistant to the environment and remain viable for years. Poultry with outdoor access are more vulnerable to parasites than conventional poultry raised indoors due to the intermediate hosts (e.g., grasshoppers, beetles, slugs, earthworms, and snails) that birds eat on range or pasture.

Monitoring

Routine monitoring programs are essential to worm control on the farm. There are two direct monitoring methods. One is to sacrifice a few birds in the flock and inspect their intestines for worms. Adult roundworms are usually found in the upper small intestine. Adult tapeworms can also be found in the upper small intestine just after the duodenal loop. Cecal worms can be found by snipping the end of the ceca and watching for small worms to wiggle out. Capillaria worms are harder to identify and require more effort. If a microscope is available, the surface contents from the first 10 inches of duodenum just past the duodenal loop may be examined. Scrape the mucosal surface with a knife and place portions of it onto a glass slide with a cover slip. The thin worms can be seen with the microscope.

An alternative method, which does not require sacrificing any birds, involves collecting 20-25 fresh fecal droppings from different areas in the house and pasture and placing them into a plastic bag. Fecal flotation is used to detect, identify, and count the different worm eggs. This is typically done at a veterinary diagnostic laboratory. Collected samples should be stored in the refrigerator when there is a delay in submitting the sample.

Control

Some helpful strategies to decrease parasites in the environment include moving the birds often to fresh pasture or paddocks, keeping the birds in dry areas, and keeping the litter in the house as dry as possible. Try to limit contact with wild birds as they may be infected. Ingestion of worms and insects from freshly plowed ground may result in infection.

There are a few products that can be added to conventional poultry feed to control internal parasites. These drugs can NOT be used in organic poultry production. There are no materials that can be used to treat a worm infestation, especially in egg layers, but food-grade diatomaceous earth can be added to the feed to control minor infestations of Capillaria and Heterakis worms (Bennett et al., 2011). Diatomaceous earth consists of fossilized remains of diatoms which are a type of hard-shelled algae. Food-grade diatomaceous earth is different from the pool-grade used for swimming pool filters. Only food-grade diatomaceous earth should be used for worm control.

Examples of diatomaceous earth products:

  • Barn Fresh® (OMRI-listed)
  • Perma-Guard (OMRI-listed)
  • Red Lake Earth® (OMRI-listed)

There is interest in garlic as a treatment against roundworms, but research using the active ingredient in garlic (allicin) failed to demonstrate any effect on intestinal worm populations (Velkers et al., 2011).

If worm loads are found to be high, there are some things that can be done to reduce their levels (Small, 1996). For inside the poultry house, 60 lb of salt for each 1,000 square feet of floor can be used and left for two days. For outside pastures, rotate pastures and leave vacant for at least eight months. Once a year the birds should be removed from the run, and the ground covered with quicklime at a rate of 100 lb per 1,000 square feet. After three weeks, the whole run should be dug over to ensure that the worm eggs are killed. Keep pastures cut close so that sunlight can kill parasite eggs on the surface. Keep pastures well-drained, as moist soil promotes the infectiveness of the worm eggs.

Current research programs include biological control measures (De and Sanyal, 2009). Worms have a portion of their life-cycle outside of the host. The free-living or pre-parasitic stages exist on pasture and are thus potential targets. Biological controls in the future could include fungi, bacteria, viruses and predacious nematodes.

References and Citations
  • Bennett, D. C., A. Yee, Y.-J. Rhee, and K. M. Cheng. 2011. Effect of diatomaceous earth on parasite load, egg production, and egg quality of free-range organic laying hens. Poultry Science 90:1416–1426. (Available online at: http://www.dx.doi.org/10.3382/ps.2010-01256) (verified 18 Nov 2013)
  • De., S., and P. K. Sanyal. 2009. Biological control of helminth parasites by predatory fungi [Online]. Vet Scan 4(1): article 31. Available at: http://www.vetscan.co.in/v4n1/biological_control_of_helminth_parasites_by_predatory_fungi.htm (verified 18 Nov 2013)
  • Permin, A., M. Bisgaard, F. Frandsen, M. Pearman, J. Kold, and P. Nansen. 1999. Prevalence of gastrointestinal helminths in different poultry production systems. British Poultry Science 40:439–443. (Available online at: http://www.dx.doi.org/10.1080/00071669987179) (verified 18 Nov 2013)
  • Small, L. 1996. Internal parasites (worms) of poultry [Online]. Publication of Northern Territory Government, Australia. Available at: http://www.nt.gov.au/d/Content/File/p/Anim_Dis/669.pdf (verified 18 Nov 2013)
  • Thamsborg, S. M., A. Roepstorff, and M. Larsen. 1999. Integrated and biological control of parasites in organic and conventional production systems. Veterinary Parasitology 84:169–186. (Available for purchase at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0304-4017(99)00035-7) (verified 18 Nov 2013)
  • Velkers, F. C., K. Dieho, F.W.M. Pecher, J.C.M. Vernooij, J.H.H. van Eck, and W.J.M. Landman. 2011. Efficacy of allicin from garlic against Ascaridia galli infection in chickens. Poultry Science 90:364–368. (Available online at: http://www.dx.doi.org/10.3382/ps.2010-01090) (verified 18 Nov 2013)

Return to Pest control page

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 7834

Intestinal Worm Control in Organic Poultry Production

mar, 2018/05/15 - 17:48

eOrganic author:

Dr. Jacquie Jacob Ph.D., University of Kentucky

NOTE: Brand names appearing in this article are examples only. No endorsement is intended, nor is criticism implied of similar products not mentioned.

NOTE: Before applying any pest control product, be sure to read and understand the safety precautions and application restrictions, and make sure that the brand name product is listed in your Organic System Plan and approved by your certifier. For more information see Can I Use this Product for Disease Management on my Organic Farm?

Introduction

There are a number of intestinal worms that can infest poultry, including roundworms and tapeworms. A small number of worms do not usually cause health problems, but large numbers can affect growth, egg production, and health. Young birds are more commonly affected. Birds ingest the parasite eggs present in contaminated feed or water, or in intermediate hosts (e.g., insects, snails, earthworms or other small animals) that can naturally carry the eggs.

Some worms interfere with feed absorption, some transmit disease, and some can migrate into the blood and other organs.

Nematodes are roundworms that commonly affect chickens; examples include Ascaridia gali, Heterakis gallinarum, and Capillaria obsignata. Infective eggs are resistant to the environment and remain viable for years. Poultry with outdoor access are more vulnerable to parasites than conventional poultry raised indoors due to the intermediate hosts (e.g., grasshoppers, beetles, slugs, earthworms, and snails) that birds eat on range or pasture.

Monitoring

Routine monitoring programs are essential to worm control on the farm. There are two direct monitoring methods. One is to sacrifice a few birds in the flock and inspect their intestines for worms. Adult roundworms are usually found in the upper small intestine. Adult tapeworms can also be found in the upper small intestine just after the duodenal loop. Cecal worms can be found by snipping the end of the ceca and watching for small worms to wiggle out. Capillaria worms are harder to identify and require more effort. If a microscope is available, the surface contents from the first 10 inches of duodenum just past the duodenal loop may be examined. Scrape the mucosal surface with a knife and place portions of it onto a glass slide with a cover slip. The thin worms can be seen with the microscope.

An alternative method, which does not require sacrificing any birds, involves collecting 20-25 fresh fecal droppings from different areas in the house and pasture and placing them into a plastic bag. Fecal flotation is used to detect, identify, and count the different worm eggs. This is typically done at a veterinary diagnostic laboratory. Collected samples should be stored in the refrigerator when there is a delay in submitting the sample.

Control

Some helpful strategies to decrease parasites in the environment include moving the birds often to fresh pasture or paddocks, keeping the birds in dry areas, and keeping the litter in the house as dry as possible. Try to limit contact with wild birds as they may be infected. Ingestion of worms and insects from freshly plowed ground may result in infection.

There are a few products that can be added to conventional poultry feed to control internal parasites. These drugs can NOT be used in organic poultry production. There are no materials that can be used to treat a worm infestation, especially in egg layers, but food-grade diatomaceous earth can be added to the feed to control minor infestations of Capillaria and Heterakis worms (Bennett et al., 2011). Diatomaceous earth consists of fossilized remains of diatoms which are a type of hard-shelled algae. Food-grade diatomaceous earth is different from the pool-grade used for swimming pool filters. Only food-grade diatomaceous earth should be used for worm control.

Examples of diatomaceous earth products:

  • Barn Fresh® (OMRI-listed)
  • Perma-Guard (OMRI-listed)
  • Red Lake Earth® (OMRI-listed)

There is interest in garlic as a treatment against roundworms, but research using the active ingredient in garlic (allicin) failed to demonstrate any effect on intestinal worm populations (Velkers et al., 2011).

If worm loads are found to be high, there are some things that can be done to reduce their levels (Small, 1996). For inside the poultry house, 60 lb of salt for each 1,000 square feet of floor can be used and left for two days. For outside pastures, rotate pastures and leave vacant for at least eight months. Once a year the birds should be removed from the run, and the ground covered with quicklime at a rate of 100 lb per 1,000 square feet. After three weeks, the whole run should be dug over to ensure that the worm eggs are killed. Keep pastures cut close so that sunlight can kill parasite eggs on the surface. Keep pastures well-drained, as moist soil promotes the infectiveness of the worm eggs.

Current research programs include biological control measures (De and Sanyal, 2009). Worms have a portion of their life-cycle outside of the host. The free-living or pre-parasitic stages exist on pasture and are thus potential targets. Biological controls in the future could include fungi, bacteria, viruses and predacious nematodes.

References and Citations
  • Bennett, D. C., A. Yee, Y.-J. Rhee, and K. M. Cheng. 2011. Effect of diatomaceous earth on parasite load, egg production, and egg quality of free-range organic laying hens. Poultry Science 90:1416–1426. (Available online at: http://www.dx.doi.org/10.3382/ps.2010-01256) (verified 18 Nov 2013)
  • De., S., and P. K. Sanyal. 2009. Biological control of helminth parasites by predatory fungi [Online]. Vet Scan 4(1): article 31. Available at: http://www.vetscan.co.in/v4n1/biological_control_of_helminth_parasites_by_predatory_fungi.htm (verified 18 Nov 2013)
  • Permin, A., M. Bisgaard, F. Frandsen, M. Pearman, J. Kold, and P. Nansen. 1999. Prevalence of gastrointestinal helminths in different poultry production systems. British Poultry Science 40:439–443. (Available online at: http://www.dx.doi.org/10.1080/00071669987179) (verified 18 Nov 2013)
  • Small, L. 1996. Internal parasites (worms) of poultry [Online]. Publication of Northern Territory Government, Australia. Available at: http://www.nt.gov.au/d/Content/File/p/Anim_Dis/669.pdf (verified 18 Nov 2013)
  • Thamsborg, S. M., A. Roepstorff, and M. Larsen. 1999. Integrated and biological control of parasites in organic and conventional production systems. Veterinary Parasitology 84:169–186. (Available for purchase at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0304-4017(99)00035-7) (verified 18 Nov 2013)
  • Velkers, F. C., K. Dieho, F.W.M. Pecher, J.C.M. Vernooij, J.H.H. van Eck, and W.J.M. Landman. 2011. Efficacy of allicin from garlic against Ascaridia galli infection in chickens. Poultry Science 90:364–368. (Available online at: http://www.dx.doi.org/10.3382/ps.2010-01090) (verified 18 Nov 2013)

Return to Pest control page

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 7834

Including Rye in Organic Poultry Diets

mar, 2018/05/15 - 17:44

eOrganic author:

Dr. Jacquie Jacob Ph.D., University of Kentucky

NOTE: Before using any feed ingredient make sure that the ingredient is listed in your Organic System Plan and approved by your certifier.

Introduction

Rye is a very versatile crop. It can be grown as a forage for cattle and other ruminant livestock or as a green manure in crop rotations in organic farming. It can also be grown for grain which can be used as a feed ingredient, feedstock for alcohol distilling and for human consumption. Fermentation of rye has ethanol yields comparable to those of wheat, which is a common feedstock used in ethanol production in Canada (Wang, 1997).

The number of rye cultivars is relatively low, especially when compared with wheat and barley. There has been considerably less effort put into the development and improvement of rye, partially because rye cross-pollinates while wheat and barley are self-pollinators. With cross-pollination it is difficult to maintain pure lines of breeding stock (Bushuk, 2001).

Rye cultivars are typically differentiated on the basis of growth habit, as either winter rye or spring rye. Rye has an amazing tolerance of cold weather and is still able to germinate at air temperatures in the 30s°F as long as the soil is warmed by the sun to slightly higher than the air temperature. Once established, rye will continue to grow in the fall until the temperature drops below 40°F. Growth resumes when the temperature rises above 40°F in the spring.  Spring rye is grown in areas where the winters are too severe for even the hardy winter rye. Typically the yields of spring rye are lower than of winter rye (Bushuk, 2001).

Rye is able to produce economical yields on poor, sandy soils not suitable for other crops. Rye has a deep and fibrous root system which makes it good at competing with weeds. This is another reason rye is often used in crop rotation in organic farming. Rye can be planted as pasture in both the fall and spring or can be grown as pasture in the fall and then raised as a grain crop in the spring (Bushuk, 2001).

There has been reluctance to use rye as a feedstuff. The primary concern is the presence of ergot alkaloids. Ergot is the most common disease of rye. The ergot fungus can be very toxic if present in sufficient concentration. Ergot is less of a problem these days as newer cultivars of rye are being developed that are resistant to ergot (Sosulski and Bernier, 1975). Controlling wild grasses around field borders will also reduce the chances of getting an ergot problem.

Composition

Rye (Secale cereale) has been studied as an alternative feed ingredient for poultry. The nutrient content of rye is very similar to wheat and corn but the nutritive value for poultry is very poor. The energy content in somewhere between that of wheat and barley. The protein content is similar to barley and oats. Unfortunately, rye contains the anti-nutritional factors of beta-glucans (ß-glucans) and arabinoxylans which limit their use in poultry diets. Both ß-glucans and arabinoxylans adversely affect nutrient availability by increasing the viscous nature of the intestinal contents. The gel-like material interferes with the activity of the digestive enzymes as well as the absorption of nutrients.

Canada's breeding program developed a low viscosity variety of rye (He et al., 2003).  They found, however, that genetic selection to reduce viscosity had only a minor increase in the nutritive value of rye for broilers. Regardless of the viscosity of the rye varieties used, enzyme supplementation improved performance through improved nutrient availability. The increase in nutrient availability, however, was greater for the broilers on the low-viscosity rye.

Feeding rye to poultry

When rye is included in poultry diets there is depressed growth performance and/or reduced egg production. The use of rye in turkey and broiler diets results in sticky droppings which add moisture to the litter and can cause problems with ammonia. The fecal material can also gather around the vent giving the birds 'pasty vents'. Rye may be fed to laying hens but should be introduced only after the hens have reached peak egg production (about 40 weeks of age). Rye should not be more than 40% of the diet. Birds may have sticky droppings which can increase the incidence of stained eggs.

Rye is not recommended for growing chickens (i.e., broilers and pullets) and turkeys. Including high levels of rye in poultry diets typically causes problems for growing chicks. The problem is the water-soluble, highly viscous non-starch polysaccharides referred to as pentosans or arabinoxylans. They are present in low amounts in rye (about 3.5%) and interfere with digestion of all nutrients in the diet, but especially the fats, fat-soluble vitamins, starch and protein. Chicks fed diets with rye produce wet and sticky excreta. There is also a higher moisture level in litter, increasing the problem of ammonia production. In addition, inclusion of rye in broiler diets has been shown to increase colonization by Salmonella Enteritidis, a common cause of foodborne disease in humans (Teirlynch et al., 2009) and Clostridium perfringens, a pathogenic organism that causes necrotic enteritis in poultry (Cravens, 2000).

There are commercial enzymes available that can counteract the negative effects of the rye. Part of the improved performance is due to an increase in nutrient availability (Silva et al., 2002) 

References

Bushuk, W. 2001. Rye Production and uses worldwide. Cereal Foods World 46:1-73.

Craven, S.E. 2000. Colonization of the intestinal tract by Clostridium perfringens and fecal shedding in diet-stressed and unstressed broiler chickens. Poultry Science 79:843-849.

He, T., P.A. Thacker, J.G. McLeod and G.L. Campbell. 2003. Performance of broiler chicks fed normal and low viscosity rye or barley with or without enzyme supplementation. Asian-Australian Journal of Animal Science 16:234-238.

Silva, S.S.P. and R.R. Smithard. 2002. Effect of enzyme supplementation of a rye-based diet on xylanase activity in the small intestine of broilers, on intestinal crypt cell proliferation and on nutrient digestibility and growth performance of the birds. British Poultry Science 43:274-282.

Sosulski, F. and C.C. Bernier. 1975. Ergot tolerance in spring rye. Canadian Plant Disease Survey 55:155-157.

Teirlynch, E., F. Haesebrouck, F. Pasmans, J. Dewulf, R. Ducatelle and F. Van Immerseel. 2009. The cereal type in feed influences Salmonella Enteritidis colonization in broilers. Poultry Science 88:2108-2112.

Wang, S., K.C. Thomas, W.M. Ingledew, K. Sosulski and F.W. Sosulski. 1997. Rye and triticale as feedstock for fuel ethanol production. Cereal Chemistry 74:621-625.

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 8108

Including Rye in Organic Poultry Diets

mar, 2018/05/15 - 17:44

eOrganic author:

Dr. Jacquie Jacob Ph.D., University of Kentucky

NOTE: Before using any feed ingredient make sure that the ingredient is listed in your Organic System Plan and approved by your certifier.

Introduction

Rye is a very versatile crop. It can be grown as a forage for cattle and other ruminant livestock or as a green manure in crop rotations in organic farming. It can also be grown for grain which can be used as a feed ingredient, feedstock for alcohol distilling and for human consumption. Fermentation of rye has ethanol yields comparable to those of wheat, which is a common feedstock used in ethanol production in Canada (Wang, 1997).

The number of rye cultivars is relatively low, especially when compared with wheat and barley. There has been considerably less effort put into the development and improvement of rye, partially because rye cross-pollinates while wheat and barley are self-pollinators. With cross-pollination it is difficult to maintain pure lines of breeding stock (Bushuk, 2001).

Rye cultivars are typically differentiated on the basis of growth habit, as either winter rye or spring rye. Rye has an amazing tolerance of cold weather and is still able to germinate at air temperatures in the 30s°F as long as the soil is warmed by the sun to slightly higher than the air temperature. Once established, rye will continue to grow in the fall until the temperature drops below 40°F. Growth resumes when the temperature rises above 40°F in the spring.  Spring rye is grown in areas where the winters are too severe for even the hardy winter rye. Typically the yields of spring rye are lower than of winter rye (Bushuk, 2001).

Rye is able to produce economical yields on poor, sandy soils not suitable for other crops. Rye has a deep and fibrous root system which makes it good at competing with weeds. This is another reason rye is often used in crop rotation in organic farming. Rye can be planted as pasture in both the fall and spring or can be grown as pasture in the fall and then raised as a grain crop in the spring (Bushuk, 2001).

There has been reluctance to use rye as a feedstuff. The primary concern is the presence of ergot alkaloids. Ergot is the most common disease of rye. The ergot fungus can be very toxic if present in sufficient concentration. Ergot is less of a problem these days as newer cultivars of rye are being developed that are resistant to ergot (Sosulski and Bernier, 1975). Controlling wild grasses around field borders will also reduce the chances of getting an ergot problem.

Composition

Rye (Secale cereale) has been studied as an alternative feed ingredient for poultry. The nutrient content of rye is very similar to wheat and corn but the nutritive value for poultry is very poor. The energy content in somewhere between that of wheat and barley. The protein content is similar to barley and oats. Unfortunately, rye contains the anti-nutritional factors of beta-glucans (ß-glucans) and arabinoxylans which limit their use in poultry diets. Both ß-glucans and arabinoxylans adversely affect nutrient availability by increasing the viscous nature of the intestinal contents. The gel-like material interferes with the activity of the digestive enzymes as well as the absorption of nutrients.

Canada's breeding program developed a low viscosity variety of rye (He et al., 2003).  They found, however, that genetic selection to reduce viscosity had only a minor increase in the nutritive value of rye for broilers. Regardless of the viscosity of the rye varieties used, enzyme supplementation improved performance through improved nutrient availability. The increase in nutrient availability, however, was greater for the broilers on the low-viscosity rye.

Feeding rye to poultry

When rye is included in poultry diets there is depressed growth performance and/or reduced egg production. The use of rye in turkey and broiler diets results in sticky droppings which add moisture to the litter and can cause problems with ammonia. The fecal material can also gather around the vent giving the birds 'pasty vents'. Rye may be fed to laying hens but should be introduced only after the hens have reached peak egg production (about 40 weeks of age). Rye should not be more than 40% of the diet. Birds may have sticky droppings which can increase the incidence of stained eggs.

Rye is not recommended for growing chickens (i.e., broilers and pullets) and turkeys. Including high levels of rye in poultry diets typically causes problems for growing chicks. The problem is the water-soluble, highly viscous non-starch polysaccharides referred to as pentosans or arabinoxylans. They are present in low amounts in rye (about 3.5%) and interfere with digestion of all nutrients in the diet, but especially the fats, fat-soluble vitamins, starch and protein. Chicks fed diets with rye produce wet and sticky excreta. There is also a higher moisture level in litter, increasing the problem of ammonia production. In addition, inclusion of rye in broiler diets has been shown to increase colonization by Salmonella Enteritidis, a common cause of foodborne disease in humans (Teirlynch et al., 2009) and Clostridium perfringens, a pathogenic organism that causes necrotic enteritis in poultry (Cravens, 2000).

There are commercial enzymes available that can counteract the negative effects of the rye. Part of the improved performance is due to an increase in nutrient availability (Silva et al., 2002) 

References

Bushuk, W. 2001. Rye Production and uses worldwide. Cereal Foods World 46:1-73.

Craven, S.E. 2000. Colonization of the intestinal tract by Clostridium perfringens and fecal shedding in diet-stressed and unstressed broiler chickens. Poultry Science 79:843-849.

He, T., P.A. Thacker, J.G. McLeod and G.L. Campbell. 2003. Performance of broiler chicks fed normal and low viscosity rye or barley with or without enzyme supplementation. Asian-Australian Journal of Animal Science 16:234-238.

Silva, S.S.P. and R.R. Smithard. 2002. Effect of enzyme supplementation of a rye-based diet on xylanase activity in the small intestine of broilers, on intestinal crypt cell proliferation and on nutrient digestibility and growth performance of the birds. British Poultry Science 43:274-282.

Sosulski, F. and C.C. Bernier. 1975. Ergot tolerance in spring rye. Canadian Plant Disease Survey 55:155-157.

Teirlynch, E., F. Haesebrouck, F. Pasmans, J. Dewulf, R. Ducatelle and F. Van Immerseel. 2009. The cereal type in feed influences Salmonella Enteritidis colonization in broilers. Poultry Science 88:2108-2112.

Wang, S., K.C. Thomas, W.M. Ingledew, K. Sosulski and F.W. Sosulski. 1997. Rye and triticale as feedstock for fuel ethanol production. Cereal Chemistry 74:621-625.

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 8108

Nutrient Requirements of Organic Poultry

mar, 2018/05/15 - 17:40

eOrganic author:

Dr. Jacquie Jacob Ph.D., University of Kentuckky

Introduction

As with all animals, poultry species have specific nutritional needs. The nutrient requirements of a flock are determined by several factors:

  • Genetics (species, breed, or strain). Different species (e.g., chickens, turkeys, ducks) have different average body sizes, growth rates, and production levels. They also differ in how efficient they are at digesting and absorbing different feed ingredients. Even within a species there can be differences among breeds (e.g., meat chickens versus egg-laying hens).
     
  • Age. Nutrient requirements are influenced by body weight and life stage (e.g., starter, growing, egg-laying).
     
  • Sex. The nutrient requirements of male and female birds are similar at hatch but differences develop as the flock gets older, when males consume more than females.
     
  • Reproductive state. The level of egg production in hens, and sexual activity in males, affects nutrient requirements of the flock.
     
  • Environmental temperature. Poultry have increased energy requirements in cold weather, as more energy is needed to maintain normal body temperature. Conversely, energy requirements decrease in hot weather.
     
  • Management system. Housing design influences the level of activity of the flock, and therefore its energy requirements.
     
  • Health status. Flocks dealing with disease may benefit from increased dietary vitamin levels.
     
  • Production aims. The nutrient composition of the poultry diet varies according to production aims, which can include optimal weight gain or carcass composition, as well as egg numbers or egg size. 

Commercially prepared organic feeds are available for the specific type and age of bird in production. It is important to provide the right type of feed. Feeding a layer ration, which is high in calcium and lower in protein, to young birds can cause serious health issues. Or, feeding a starter/grower feed to laying hens will drastically reduce egg production.

Flocks with access to pasture may supplement their diets with greens and insects, depending on the quality of the pasture. A flock will quickly devour the greens within an enclosed area, so pasture rotation is essential to maintain forage quality.

Energy

Poultry consume feed to meet their energy requirements, assuming that the diet is adequate in essential nutrients, so their daily feed intake will depend on the energy content of the diet. A high density feed has a high energy level. Since the flock will consume less feed, the nutrients must be more concentrated in the amount of feed they will consume in a day. Similarly, a low density diet has a low energy level, and the flock will consume more of the feed daily. The required levels of the different nutrients will depend on the energy level of the diet.

Energy is not a nutrient, but rather a property of energy-yielding nutrients such as carbohydrates or fats. Not all the energy in a feed ingredient is used completely. The energy value of a feed ingredient is typically expressed as metabolizable energy (ME). The ME is the gross energy content of the feed ingredient minus the gross energy lost in the feces and urine. Stated another way, ME is calculated as the energy coming in one end and the energy going out the other end. The energy levels are expressed as kilocalories of ME per kilogram or pound.

Protein

Dietary protein requirements are actually requirements for the amino acids that make up the protein. There are 22 amino acids in body proteins, all of which are physiologically required. Some of the amino acids can be produced from other amino acids and are considered non-essential. Essential amino acids are those that poultry cannot produce, or cannot produce in sufficient quantities. The two main essential amino acids that impact poultry fed a corn-soybean meal diet are methionine plus cystine (referred to as the sulfur amino acids) and lysine. The other essential amino acids may become deficient when other feed ingredients are used. When using alternative feed ingredients, therefore, it may be necessary to evaluate levels of arginine, glycine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, phenylalanine, serine, threonine, tryptophan, tyrosine, tryptophan or valine.

Specific Nutrient Requirements

A National Research Council (NRC) publication on the nutrient requirements of poultry was published in 1994. Although the information is over 20 years old, it is still referred to today. However, the fast growth rates and production levels of today's poultry stocks have warranted a modification of the nutrient requirement profiles. Furthermore, the criteria used for developing nutrient requirements have changed. The NRC requirements were developed with maximum production as the main assessment criterion. Today, additional criteria have become important, including maximum health and welfare and minimal environmental impact.

Nutrient requirements of growing meat-type chickens (broilers)

Nutrient requirements for growing replacement pullets

Nutrient requirements for egg laying chickens

Nutrient requirements for growing turkeys

Nutrient requirements for meat-type ducks

Nutrient requirements for egg laying ducks

Nutrient requirements for dual-purpose breeds such as Barred Plymouth Rock and Rhode Island Red have not yet been developed.

References and Citations

 

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 7888

Nutrient Requirements of Organic Poultry

mar, 2018/05/15 - 17:40

eOrganic author:

Dr. Jacquie Jacob Ph.D., University of Kentuckky

Introduction

As with all animals, poultry species have specific nutritional needs. The nutrient requirements of a flock are determined by several factors:

  • Genetics (species, breed, or strain). Different species (e.g., chickens, turkeys, ducks) have different average body sizes, growth rates, and production levels. They also differ in how efficient they are at digesting and absorbing different feed ingredients. Even within a species there can be differences among breeds (e.g., meat chickens versus egg-laying hens).
     
  • Age. Nutrient requirements are influenced by body weight and life stage (e.g., starter, growing, egg-laying).
     
  • Sex. The nutrient requirements of male and female birds are similar at hatch but differences develop as the flock gets older, when males consume more than females.
     
  • Reproductive state. The level of egg production in hens, and sexual activity in males, affects nutrient requirements of the flock.
     
  • Environmental temperature. Poultry have increased energy requirements in cold weather, as more energy is needed to maintain normal body temperature. Conversely, energy requirements decrease in hot weather.
     
  • Management system. Housing design influences the level of activity of the flock, and therefore its energy requirements.
     
  • Health status. Flocks dealing with disease may benefit from increased dietary vitamin levels.
     
  • Production aims. The nutrient composition of the poultry diet varies according to production aims, which can include optimal weight gain or carcass composition, as well as egg numbers or egg size. 

Commercially prepared organic feeds are available for the specific type and age of bird in production. It is important to provide the right type of feed. Feeding a layer ration, which is high in calcium and lower in protein, to young birds can cause serious health issues. Or, feeding a starter/grower feed to laying hens will drastically reduce egg production.

Flocks with access to pasture may supplement their diets with greens and insects, depending on the quality of the pasture. A flock will quickly devour the greens within an enclosed area, so pasture rotation is essential to maintain forage quality.

Energy

Poultry consume feed to meet their energy requirements, assuming that the diet is adequate in essential nutrients, so their daily feed intake will depend on the energy content of the diet. A high density feed has a high energy level. Since the flock will consume less feed, the nutrients must be more concentrated in the amount of feed they will consume in a day. Similarly, a low density diet has a low energy level, and the flock will consume more of the feed daily. The required levels of the different nutrients will depend on the energy level of the diet.

Energy is not a nutrient, but rather a property of energy-yielding nutrients such as carbohydrates or fats. Not all the energy in a feed ingredient is used completely. The energy value of a feed ingredient is typically expressed as metabolizable energy (ME). The ME is the gross energy content of the feed ingredient minus the gross energy lost in the feces and urine. Stated another way, ME is calculated as the energy coming in one end and the energy going out the other end. The energy levels are expressed as kilocalories of ME per kilogram or pound.

Protein

Dietary protein requirements are actually requirements for the amino acids that make up the protein. There are 22 amino acids in body proteins, all of which are physiologically required. Some of the amino acids can be produced from other amino acids and are considered non-essential. Essential amino acids are those that poultry cannot produce, or cannot produce in sufficient quantities. The two main essential amino acids that impact poultry fed a corn-soybean meal diet are methionine plus cystine (referred to as the sulfur amino acids) and lysine. The other essential amino acids may become deficient when other feed ingredients are used. When using alternative feed ingredients, therefore, it may be necessary to evaluate levels of arginine, glycine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, phenylalanine, serine, threonine, tryptophan, tyrosine, tryptophan or valine.

Specific Nutrient Requirements

A National Research Council (NRC) publication on the nutrient requirements of poultry was published in 1994. Although the information is over 20 years old, it is still referred to today. However, the fast growth rates and production levels of today's poultry stocks have warranted a modification of the nutrient requirement profiles. Furthermore, the criteria used for developing nutrient requirements have changed. The NRC requirements were developed with maximum production as the main assessment criterion. Today, additional criteria have become important, including maximum health and welfare and minimal environmental impact.

Nutrient requirements of growing meat-type chickens (broilers)

Nutrient requirements for growing replacement pullets

Nutrient requirements for egg laying chickens

Nutrient requirements for growing turkeys

Nutrient requirements for meat-type ducks

Nutrient requirements for egg laying ducks

Nutrient requirements for dual-purpose breeds such as Barred Plymouth Rock and Rhode Island Red have not yet been developed.

References and Citations

 

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 7888

Nutrient Requirements for Organic Meat-type Ducks

mar, 2018/05/15 - 17:39

eOrganic author:

Dr. Jacquie Jacob Ph.D., University of Kentucky

Introduction

Compared to chickens, very little research has been done on the nutritional requirement of ducks. The nutrient requirements of growing meat-type ducks are reported to be similar to growing chickens. However, when formulating duck diets it is not possible to use amino acid availability and metabolizable energy content determined with chickens. As with chickens, supplementing duck diets with feed enzymes improves nutrient utilization. Also, ducks are better able to digest fiber than chickens so the metabolizable energy values of feedstuffs are typically 5-6% greater than the values obtained using chickens. It is best to give the feed as pellets or crumbles. Pelleting is most economical. Pellets can make a savings of 15-20% in the feed required to raise a duck to market weight, primarily due to reduced feed wastage.

Ducks are one of the fastest growing and most efficient producers of animal protein. The commercial duck meat industry are typically growing White Pekin, White Muscovy or White Mule ducks. Mule ducks are a cross between muscovy and pekin ducks and their offsprings are sterile). White Pekins typically reach a market weight of 7-8 pounds (3.2 - 3.6 kg) in about 8 weeks. Muscovies are marketed at 10-17 weeks of age. Mule ducks are typically marketed at the same time as muscovies.

Ducks tend to produce fatty carcasses. When formulating diets for meat diets it is important to pay attention to the protein to energy balance. The higher protein diets relative to energy generally result in less carcass fat.

Typical growth curves for Pekin, Muscovy and Mule ducks, most commonly used meat ducks, are shown below. As shown in the graphs, the growth curves for the three type of males are very similar. The differences are more pronounced in the females.

  

Typical feed efficiencies for Pekin, Muscovy and Mule ducks are shown below. Feed efficiencies are calculated as weight of feed consumed divided by body weight gain for the same period. As such, the lower the number the better the feed conversion can be achieved.

Although the growth curves are similar for all three types of ducks, there are considerable differences in feed conversion. The more efficient mule ducks are commonly raised for duck meat production in Europe.

 

Young ducklings can have access to pasture around 3-4 weeks of age. Ducks are not as good foragers as geese but the use of range will save on some of the feed required. The use of pasture is not required and it can be economical to raise ducks without pasture access.

Muscovy and mule ducks

Based on 2012 research (Baéza et al., 2012), the recommended protein levels for starting (0-3 weeks), growing (4-7 weeks) and finishing (8-10 weeks) diets for mule ducks are 23.5, 15.4, and 13.8% crude protein, respectively. The diets contained 2895 kcal ME/kg (1315 kcal ME/lb). Similar diets can be fed to Muscovy ducks.

Pekin ducks

Research conducted at Purdue University has resulted in recommended the following nutrient levels for commercially-raised white pekin ducks gorwn to 42 days of age.

Nutrient requirements of Pekin ducks:

NUTRIENT

STARTER (0-2 wks)

GROWER-FINISHER (2-6 wks) 23% CP 20.5% CP 17.5% CP 15.0% CP ME, Kcal/kg 2825 2875 3050 3075 ME, Kcal/lb 1280 1300 1385 1400 Methionine, % 0.60 0.55 0.45 0.30 Methionine + cysteine, % 0.95 0.85 0.75 0.60 Lysine, % 1.20 0.96 0.86 0.78 Calcium, % 1.20 1.00 0.90 0.80 Available phosphorus, % 0.60 0.55 0.45 0.30

Based on results from various research reports (Leeson and Summers, 2005)

References

Baéza, E., M.D. Bernadet and M. Lessire. 2012. Protein requirements for growth, feed efficiency, and meat production in growing mule ducks. Journal of Applied Poultry Research 21(1):21-32

Leeson, S. and J.D. Summers. 2005. Commercial poultry nutrition, third edition. University Books, Guelph, Ontario.

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 7895

Nutrient Requirements for Organic Meat-type Ducks

mar, 2018/05/15 - 17:39

eOrganic author:

Dr. Jacquie Jacob Ph.D., University of Kentucky

Introduction

Compared to chickens, very little research has been done on the nutritional requirement of ducks. The nutrient requirements of growing meat-type ducks are reported to be similar to growing chickens. However, when formulating duck diets it is not possible to use amino acid availability and metabolizable energy content determined with chickens. As with chickens, supplementing duck diets with feed enzymes improves nutrient utilization. Also, ducks are better able to digest fiber than chickens so the metabolizable energy values of feedstuffs are typically 5-6% greater than the values obtained using chickens. It is best to give the feed as pellets or crumbles. Pelleting is most economical. Pellets can make a savings of 15-20% in the feed required to raise a duck to market weight, primarily due to reduced feed wastage.

Ducks are one of the fastest growing and most efficient producers of animal protein. The commercial duck meat industry are typically growing White Pekin, White Muscovy or White Mule ducks. Mule ducks are a cross between muscovy and pekin ducks and their offsprings are sterile). White Pekins typically reach a market weight of 7-8 pounds (3.2 - 3.6 kg) in about 8 weeks. Muscovies are marketed at 10-17 weeks of age. Mule ducks are typically marketed at the same time as muscovies.

Ducks tend to produce fatty carcasses. When formulating diets for meat diets it is important to pay attention to the protein to energy balance. The higher protein diets relative to energy generally result in less carcass fat.

Typical growth curves for Pekin, Muscovy and Mule ducks, most commonly used meat ducks, are shown below. As shown in the graphs, the growth curves for the three type of males are very similar. The differences are more pronounced in the females.

  

Typical feed efficiencies for Pekin, Muscovy and Mule ducks are shown below. Feed efficiencies are calculated as weight of feed consumed divided by body weight gain for the same period. As such, the lower the number the better the feed conversion can be achieved.

Although the growth curves are similar for all three types of ducks, there are considerable differences in feed conversion. The more efficient mule ducks are commonly raised for duck meat production in Europe.

 

Young ducklings can have access to pasture around 3-4 weeks of age. Ducks are not as good foragers as geese but the use of range will save on some of the feed required. The use of pasture is not required and it can be economical to raise ducks without pasture access.

Muscovy and mule ducks

Based on 2012 research (Baéza et al., 2012), the recommended protein levels for starting (0-3 weeks), growing (4-7 weeks) and finishing (8-10 weeks) diets for mule ducks are 23.5, 15.4, and 13.8% crude protein, respectively. The diets contained 2895 kcal ME/kg (1315 kcal ME/lb). Similar diets can be fed to Muscovy ducks.

Pekin ducks

Research conducted at Purdue University has resulted in recommended the following nutrient levels for commercially-raised white pekin ducks gorwn to 42 days of age.

Nutrient requirements of Pekin ducks:

NUTRIENT

STARTER (0-2 wks)

GROWER-FINISHER (2-6 wks) 23% CP 20.5% CP 17.5% CP 15.0% CP ME, Kcal/kg 2825 2875 3050 3075 ME, Kcal/lb 1280 1300 1385 1400 Methionine, % 0.60 0.55 0.45 0.30 Methionine + cysteine, % 0.95 0.85 0.75 0.60 Lysine, % 1.20 0.96 0.86 0.78 Calcium, % 1.20 1.00 0.90 0.80 Available phosphorus, % 0.60 0.55 0.45 0.30

Based on results from various research reports (Leeson and Summers, 2005)

References

Baéza, E., M.D. Bernadet and M. Lessire. 2012. Protein requirements for growth, feed efficiency, and meat production in growing mule ducks. Journal of Applied Poultry Research 21(1):21-32

Leeson, S. and J.D. Summers. 2005. Commercial poultry nutrition, third edition. University Books, Guelph, Ontario.

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 7895

May 2018

ven, 2018/05/11 - 15:58
Soil Health and Organic Farming Webinars

The first webinar in the Soil Health and Organic Farming Webinar Series with Mark Schonbeck and Diana Jerkins of the Organic Farming Research Foundation took place on Wednesday but you can still register for the 8 remaining webinars in the series here. The next one, on Weed Management: An Ecological Approach, takes place on June 13th. By request, we've also created a new help guide for attendees who have trouble getting connected or listening in! You can find it here. The recording of the first presentation should be up on the eOrganic YouTube channel by next Thursday.

CCOF Webinar on Crop Insurance

Organic and diversified farms now have a crop insurance option through USDA’s new the Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) program, as well as disaster assistance options through the Farm Service Agency. Join the CCOF Foundation and California FarmLink for a webinar on June 19, 2018 to find out how WFRP and other risk management programs address the needs of organic and diversified farms. Register at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/247841306511023362

Oregon Tilth Farmer Mentorship Program

If you are farming in Oregon, Idaho or Washington, you can still sign up for the year-long Oregon Tilth farmer-to-farmer mentorship program to support peer-led, experience-based learning for new and transitioning organic practitioners. Participants in the program are paired based on several criteria — organic expertise, farm size, production type, and location — to match complimentary learning goals and skills. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and there are still slots available for the 2018 season.Find out more about this program, which offers benefits for both mentors and mentees, and fill out your application at https://tilth.org/education/farmer-mentorship-program/

Utah State University Pasture Field Day on June 7

On Thursday, June 7, 2018, Utah State University Extension is hosting a pasture field day at the Lewiston pasture research facility. Come get an update on research being conducted in the areas of plant identification and selection for pastures, measuring available forage, nutrient leaching, and estimating animal intake. If you are interested in going, please pre-register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/usu-pasture-field-day-heifer-development-and-pasture-management-in-grazing-systems-tickets-45490990778?utm_term=eventname_text

Seed Economics Toolkit: Economic Risk Management for Organic Seed Growers

The lack of adequate quantities of organic seed is recognized as a weak link in organic production and has resulted in ongoing exemptions to the National Organic Program’s (NOP) organic seed requirement. While organic seed production is a developing industry and a viable economic opportunity for organic growers, there is uncertainty and risk. In particular, seed growers may desire mentorship in enterprise budgeting, record keeping, and marketing strategy. This online toolkit aims to help the industry scale up organic seed production, increase profits for growers, and build the supply of organic seed nationally through increasing growers' knowledge by making tools and examples available for enterprise budgeting, inventory management, foundation and stock seed planning, and contracting. Find links to the tools and watch the presentations from the 2018 Seed Economics Intensive at the Organic Seed Growers Conference at http://articles.extension.org/pages/74676

Organic Farmers Association

The Organic Farmers Association was formed in 2016 to be a voice for organic farmers at the national level. Their membership is made up of domestic, certified organic producers as well as supporting individuals and organizations. The organization is supported by the Rodale Institute, and has recruited many experienced organic farming leaders. Farming members vote on pressing policy issues, and each farm receives one vote no matter its size, and policy positions are presented to elected officials in Washington, D.C. A recent article in the MOSES Organic Broadcaster by Jim Riddle describes the organization  in more detail and you can also find out more information and learn how to join at OrganicFarmersAssociation.org.

Our Farms, Our Future Podcast

SARE has a new podcast: Our Farms, Our Future, which brings together the sustainable agriculture community for thought-provoking conversations about the state of agriculture, how we got here, and where we're headed. With each episode they hope to share different perspectives within the sustainable agriculture community while tackling such topics as building resilient farming systems, farm profitability, and fostering community through local food systems. The latest podcast features Amy Garrett and Ron Rosmann discussing water challenges and dry farming. Find the podcast here.

Farming with Walk-behind Tractors: Kerr Center Report

A new report from retired Horticulture Manager George Kuepper covers his and the Kerr Center’s decade of experience using walk-behind tractors. The report serves as a resource for people trying to decide whether two-wheel tractors are a fit for their own operations. It also works as a basic how-to manual, offering tips on the use of several implements: rototillers, crimper/rollers, hay rakes, and three types each of plows and mowers. The report is extensively illustrated, with diagrams showing plowing patterns and suggested approaches to hitching and unhitching different implements. The report is available as a downloadable PDF for $5.00. More details and information are available at http://kerrcenter.com/publication/farming-walk-behind-tractors/

eOrganic Mission and Resources

eOrganic is a web community where organic agriculture farmers, researchers, and educators network; exchange objective, research- and experience-based information; learn together; and communicate regionally, nationally, and internationally. If you have expertise in organic agriculture and would like to develop U.S. certified organic agriculture information, join us at http://eorganic.info

Find all eOrganic articles, videos and webinars at http://extension.org/organic_production

Connect with eOrganic on;Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Have a question about organic farming? Use the eXtension Ask an Expert service to connect with the eOrganic community to get an answer!

eOrganic logo

 

 

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 25354

May 2018

ven, 2018/05/11 - 15:58
Soil Health and Organic Farming Webinars

The first webinar in the Soil Health and Organic Farming Webinar Series with Mark Schonbeck and Diana Jerkins of the Organic Farming Research Foundation took place on Wednesday but you can still register for the 8 remaining webinars in the series here. The next one, on Weed Management: An Ecological Approach, takes place on June 13th. By request, we've also created a new help guide for attendees who have trouble getting connected or listening in! You can find it here. The recording of the first presentation should be up on the eOrganic YouTube channel by next Thursday.

CCOF Webinar on Crop Insurance

Organic and diversified farms now have a crop insurance option through USDA’s new the Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) program, as well as disaster assistance options through the Farm Service Agency. Join the CCOF Foundation and California FarmLink for a webinar on June 19, 2018 to find out how WFRP and other risk management programs address the needs of organic and diversified farms. Register at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/247841306511023362

Oregon Tilth Farmer Mentorship Program

If you are farming in Oregon, Idaho or Washington, you can still sign up for the year-long Oregon Tilth farmer-to-farmer mentorship program to support peer-led, experience-based learning for new and transitioning organic practitioners. Participants in the program are paired based on several criteria — organic expertise, farm size, production type, and location — to match complimentary learning goals and skills. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and there are still slots available for the 2018 season.Find out more about this program, which offers benefits for both mentors and mentees, and fill out your application at https://tilth.org/education/farmer-mentorship-program/

Utah State University Pasture Field Day on June 7

On Thursday, June 7, 2018, Utah State University Extension is hosting a pasture field day at the Lewiston pasture research facility. Come get an update on research being conducted in the areas of plant identification and selection for pastures, measuring available forage, nutrient leaching, and estimating animal intake. If you are interested in going, please pre-register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/usu-pasture-field-day-heifer-development-and-pasture-management-in-grazing-systems-tickets-45490990778?utm_term=eventname_text

Seed Economics Toolkit: Economic Risk Management for Organic Seed Growers

The lack of adequate quantities of organic seed is recognized as a weak link in organic production and has resulted in ongoing exemptions to the National Organic Program’s (NOP) organic seed requirement. While organic seed production is a developing industry and a viable economic opportunity for organic growers, there is uncertainty and risk. In particular, seed growers may desire mentorship in enterprise budgeting, record keeping, and marketing strategy. This online toolkit aims to help the industry scale up organic seed production, increase profits for growers, and build the supply of organic seed nationally through increasing growers' knowledge by making tools and examples available for enterprise budgeting, inventory management, foundation and stock seed planning, and contracting. Find links to the tools and watch the presentations from the 2018 Seed Economics Intensive at the Organic Seed Growers Conference at http://articles.extension.org/pages/74676

Organic Farmers Association

The Organic Farmers Association was formed in 2016 to be a voice for organic farmers at the national level. Their membership is made up of domestic, certified organic producers as well as supporting individuals and organizations. The organization is supported by the Rodale Institute, and has recruited many experienced organic farming leaders. Farming members vote on pressing policy issues, and each farm receives one vote no matter its size, and policy positions are presented to elected officials in Washington, D.C. A recent article in the MOSES Organic Broadcaster by Jim Riddle describes the organization  in more detail and you can also find out more information and learn how to join at OrganicFarmersAssociation.org.

Our Farms, Our Future Podcast

SARE has a new podcast: Our Farms, Our Future, which brings together the sustainable agriculture community for thought-provoking conversations about the state of agriculture, how we got here, and where we're headed. With each episode they hope to share different perspectives within the sustainable agriculture community while tackling such topics as building resilient farming systems, farm profitability, and fostering community through local food systems. The latest podcast features Amy Garrett and Ron Rosmann discussing water challenges and dry farming. Find the podcast here.

Farming with Walk-behind Tractors: Kerr Center Report

A new report from retired Horticulture Manager George Kuepper covers his and the Kerr Center’s decade of experience using walk-behind tractors. The report serves as a resource for people trying to decide whether two-wheel tractors are a fit for their own operations. It also works as a basic how-to manual, offering tips on the use of several implements: rototillers, crimper/rollers, hay rakes, and three types each of plows and mowers. The report is extensively illustrated, with diagrams showing plowing patterns and suggested approaches to hitching and unhitching different implements. The report is available as a downloadable PDF for $5.00. More details and information are available at http://kerrcenter.com/publication/farming-walk-behind-tractors/

eOrganic Mission and Resources

eOrganic is a web community where organic agriculture farmers, researchers, and educators network; exchange objective, research- and experience-based information; learn together; and communicate regionally, nationally, and internationally. If you have expertise in organic agriculture and would like to develop U.S. certified organic agriculture information, join us at http://eorganic.info

Find all eOrganic articles, videos and webinars at http://extension.org/organic_production

Connect with eOrganic on;Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Have a question about organic farming? Use the eXtension Ask an Expert service to connect with the eOrganic community to get an answer!

eOrganic logo

 

 

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 25354

Conducting On-Farm Variety Trials to Manage Risk for Organic and Specialty Crop Producers

ven, 2018/05/11 - 14:00
About the Webinars

Identifying optimum genetics through variety trials is an important risk management tool for organic producers. Well-suited varieties provide farmers with crops that perform optimally in particular climatic and management conditions, withstand pest and pathogen pressure, and meet market demands. These webinars are offered through a collaboration between Organic Seed Alliance, University of Wisconsin- Madison, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES), and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency. This series of webinars is part of an on-line variety trial toolkit available at the link below

Click here for all the webinar recordings and related resources in the on-farm variety trial toolkit!

Webinar 1: Trial planning, planting, and management. March 20, 2018

This webinar will introduce farmers to the practice of variety trialing, detailing the reasons one might choose to conduct trials and how to plan a trial with a scope, scale, and focus appropriate to the growers’ needs. This session will also cover seed sourcing, and important considerations for trial planting and management. Find the recording at the On Farm Variety Trials Toolkit page here.

Webinar 2: Trial evaluation, analysis, and interpreting results. April 11, 2018

This webinar will focus on record-keeping and trial evaluation, as well as analysis and interpretation of final results. This session will introduce participants to some intuitive techniques for keeping data organized, and user-friendly online tools to aidin analyzing information collected and drawing conclusions from trial results.Find the recording at the On Farm Variety Trials Toolkit page here.

About the Presenters

Kitt Healy is the Organic Seed Alliance Research and Education Associate for the Midwest region. Her masters research focused on conducting tomato variety trials for short-season organic production, and engaging chefs and local farmers in participatory breeding and evaluation projects.

Dr. Julie Dawson,Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin- Madison. She is Assistant Professor for Urban and Regional Food Systems in the Department of Horticulture at UW-Madison. Her research focuses on variety trialling and breeding for organic systems in the upper Midwest.

Jared Zystro, Research and Education Assistance Director, Organic Seed Alliance. Jared manages regional organic seed system development in California, conducts participatory breeding projects and variety trials, and teaches farmers about seed production and plant breeding at workshops, conference, and field days, and collaborates on other projects throughout the country.

The Grower's Guide to Conducting On-Farm Variety Trials 

Download this guide to conducting on-farm variety trials for organic producers at https://seedalliance.org/publications/growers-guide-conducting-farm-vari.... This guide provides farmers fundamental skills to conduct on-farm variety trials that reflect their particular goals and farming operations. Readers will find scientific principles presented in an accessible way, and will be walked though the process of planning, implementing, evaluating, and interpreting a variety trial. This tool is useful for farmers, as well as for research, extension, and non-profit programs looking to train farmers as co-researchers when conducting on-farm trials.

This material is funded in partnership by USDA, Risk Management Agency, under award number RM17RMEPP522C027/4500075447.

       

 

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 24153

Organic Vegetable Production Systems, Seed and Seed Production in Organic Farming Systems

mer, 2018/05/09 - 18:16

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic T879,905

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