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Modifier eXtension Articles,News,Faqs,Events- organic production (anglais)

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Case Studies on Organic Weed Management

mar, 2016/06/14 - 19:00

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 T1046

Planning for Ecological Weed Management in Organic Vegetable Production

mar, 2016/06/14 - 19:00

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 T1047

Seed and Seed Production in Organic Farming Systems

mer, 2016/06/01 - 14:00

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 T905

Organic Seed Production Webinar Series

mer, 2016/06/01 - 13:40

A new six-webinar series on organic seed production will provide training for seed growers and seed production interns throughout the 2016 growing season (June - November). This series, offered by Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) and the Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA), will cover a range of topics, from planting to harvest to the economics of seed production. The series is delivered as part of a new seed internship program offered by OSA and MESA with support from the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. The webinars are open to the public and appropriate for farmers, interns, students, and other agricultural professionals. They will take place on the third Tuesday of each month, and the first one is on June 21st! You can just register once at the link below and attend any or all of the webinars listed below!

Register now at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1033801889354662914

1. June 21st: Introduction to the Organic Seed Webinar Series
  • Which crops should I grow?
  • Field planning
  • Recordkeeping
  • Speakers: Micaela Colley, Organic Seed Alliance; Organic Seed Grower TBD
2. July 18th: Trials and Selection 3. August 15th: Diseases and Pests, Case Study 4. September 19th: Seed Quality, Harvesting Techniques and Equipment 5. October 17th: Cleaning and Recordkeeping, Case Study 6. November 21st: Seed Contracting, Economics and Policy

 

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 18970

May 2016

mer, 2016/05/25 - 13:17
In this issue:  Webinars in late May and early June

We're taking a break from our own webinar series, but you may be interested in attending some of these organic farming webinars presented by other organizations within the next month! Please consult the links below for additonal information and instructions on how to register or join.

May 26, 2016: Introducing the NRCS National Organic Handbook Webinar
Presenters Lindsey Hains and Ben Bowell will discuss the handbook, and include a description of organic farming principles and relevant USDA organic regulations. The presentation will describe considerations and resources for planning conservation practices on organic operations such as cover crops, nutrient management, crop rotations, and livestock management. This webinar is organized by NRCS and Oregon Tilth. Find more information here

June 1, 2016: Organic Integrity Database Webinar
The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service  is delivering a webinar on June 1 about their Organic Integrity Database. In the webinar, the presenters will discuss the development of the database and feature demos of search and reporting capabilities. They will also review tips on using data from the system and capabilities scheduled for release this year. Find more information here.

June 2, 2016: Organic Recordkeeping for Growers Webinar
This event is a co-production of the Farmer Veteran Coalition and CCOF with support from the USDA Risk Management Agency’s Risk Management Education Program. Presenters Thea Rittenhouse and Aaron Magill will discuss processes to make on-farm organic recordkeeping easier, as well as a framework to assist you in developing a recordkeeping system for your operation that maintains the records needed for organic certification. This webinar is ideal for growers looking to improve their recordkeeping infrastructure, growers new to organic certification, or growers interested becoming certified organic. Find out more here. The registration link is at the bottom of that page!

June 7, 2016: Organic Weed Management Webinar
This webinar will discuss the primary weed control strategies for organic systems: the role of prevention, cultural and mechanical control, crop rotation, crop competition, and cultivation. Experts from Penn State will also introduce the Organic Crop Production guide that includes weed management as well as many other organic topics and case studies of successful organic crop farmers. Organized by the NRCS and Oregon Tilth, this webinar will be presented by Bill Curran and Dave Mortensen of Penn State University. CEUs are available. Find more information here

June 16, 2016: Organic Produce Labeling Webinar
CCOF and the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) are presenting a webinar on labeling your organic produce with twist ties, clamshells and more! Attend this webinar to learn about different organic labeling techniques for growers. This online training will provide a step-by-step process for developing labels that comply with the USDA National Organic Program standards for produce packaging. They will also explore labeling requirements for wholesale organic agricultural products and organic direct-to-consumer sales. Presenters are Krista Wanser, Patti Bursten-Deutsch and Matt Smiley. Find out more here. The registration link is at the bottom of that page!

Organic Certification Cost Share Funds Available

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Organic Certification Cost Share Programs Fiscal Year 2016 Request for Applications (pdf) is now available. Two organic certification cost share programs are offered in 2016, which assist certified organic operations in defraying the costs associated with organic certification. Organic operations may receive up to 75 percent of their certification costs paid during October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016; not to exceed $750 per certification scope. Applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on July 5, 2016, through grants.gov. Find out more information about this program at https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/occsp

Risk Management Education Funding Available

The Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced $8.7 million in cooperative agreements for risk management education and training programs. The funding would give universities, county cooperative extension offices, nonprofit organizations, and other partners needed resources to develop training and education tools to help farmers and ranchers, especially those traditionally underserved or with limited resources, learn how to effectively managing long-term risks and challenges. Find out more information about the grant here, and you can also find out how to attend the next webinar about the grant here, which takes place on June 3rd.

New Know Your Farmer Website

For additional USDA funding opportunities and marketing information related to local food initiatives such as farmers markets, farm to school programs, and urban agriculture, you may want to check out the redesigned Know Your Farmer Know Your Food website, which was rolled out in late April. Find the home page here, and find funding opportunities and toolkits for starting local food initiatives here.

New Cucumber, Melon and Summer Squash Trial Reports from ESOCuc

The Eastern Sustainable Organic Cucurbit project just shared the results of their cucumber, melon and summer squash trial reports from 2014 and 2015 on the Organic Variety Trial Database. Trials were conducted on research farms at Cornell University (NY), Auburn University (AL), Clemson University (SC) and North Carolina State University (NC) as well as on commercial farms in New York, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Members of this research project, funded by NIFA OREI, are seeking solutions for some of the many production challenges organic growers face in growing these crops, and they are also breeding downy mildew resistant varieties! Find out more about their project  and new varieties on their website at http://eorganic.info/cucurbits.

If you conduct organic seed trials and would like to share your reports in the Organic Variety Trial Database, you can upload them here.

Sustainable Agriculture Education Conference

If you are involved in agricultural education for adults, registration is still open for the 7th national conference on sustainable agriculture education, organized by the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association, which takes place at the University of California Santa Cruz, CA on July 29-31, 2016. This conference invites participants from across the agriculture and food system who are engaged in adult education: students, teachers, farmers, cooks, community organizers, from a wide range of educational, professional and nonprofit organizations.  Find out more information and read the preliminary schedule at http://sustainableaged.org/conferences/2016-santa-cruz-ca/ 

Farmer Surveys

If you are a farmer, your opinion and experience is in great demand, and organizers of the following surveys are requesting your input!

NSAC Use of manure survey (until June 3rd)
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) and its members are surveying produce farmers to better understand how they use and apply untreated or raw manure on their farms. Between now and June 3, 2016, they are collecting anonymous information to develop comments for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to aid in their development of a risk assessment model. This model will be used to pursue an appropriate standard for the application of raw manure as part of the Produce Safety Rule. Find out more here.

Survey of needs of small-scale and urban livestock and poultry farms in the western US
Cooperative Extension specialists are trying to identify the needs of small-scale farms and urban animal agriculture in the western United States.  Alda Pires, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis, requests your help in reaching livestock and poultry owners to complete a survey. “This survey aims to identify the needs of livestock and poultry owners related to animal health, animal husbandry and food safety; and the role that veterinarians play on small farms,” Pires said. “This study will serve as a benchmark for designing effective educational programs to train farmers, backyard producers and veterinarians working within this sector.” Find out more and access the survey here.

eOrganic Mission

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.

eOrganic Resources

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!

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 18489

A Novel Nutritional Approach to Rearing Organic Pastured Broiler Chickens

ven, 2016/05/06 - 14:27

 

About the webinar

Presenter: Michael Lilburn, of the Ohio State University, OARDC. This webinar took place on November 5, 2013. On small scale organic farms, novel grains and pastured organic broiler chickens could be valuable additions to a multi-year organic rotation program. The chickens would contribute to soil fertility and novel cereal grains produced on the farm could help reduce the cost of organic poultry feed in subsequent years. One such novel grain is naked oats which have been studied extensively in Europe. Naked oats are higher in crude protein, methionine, and lysine when compared with corn and thus would contribute higher levels of methionine to the complete diet. This webinar will discuss naked oats as an ingredient and the results from experiments in which pastured organic broilers (commercial, RedBros) have been fed diets containing 75% naked oats.

Slides from the webinar as a pdf handout

For an update on this project, see Part 2 of this webinar which was added in 2016! Find it here.

For more information about this research project, contact Michael Lilburn at lilburn.1@osu.edu or John Anderson at anderson.37@osu.edu

Find all eOrganic upcoming and recorded webinars at http://www.extension.org/pages/25242

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 10010

Break-even Analysis of Small Scale Production of Pastured Organic Poultry: A Spreadsheet Cost Calculator

jeu, 2016/05/05 - 20:00

eOrganic authors:

Kathleen Painter, University of Idaho

Elizabeth Myhre, Washington State University

Andy Bary, Washington State University

Craig Cogger, Washington State University

Whitney Jemmett, University of Idaho

This spreadsheet calculates break-even prices necessary to cover all costs of organic broiler production. It is based on several years of an organic vegetable system trial that relied on chicken tractors for manure. In the trials, both the standard, fast-maturing Cornish Cross strain and a slower maturing version better adapted to pastured production were produced. Using the spreadsheet and data from the trials, the break-even price for standard Cornish Cross broilers was $5.20 per lb, with an average carcass weight of 4.71 lb. The break-even price for the slower Cornish Cross strain broilers was $7.87 per lb, with an average carcass weight of 3.50 lb. While these cost estimates may seem high, they include all factors of production, including land and labor. Individuals can enter their own costs and determine the price they need to charge to cover their production costs.

While the Cornish Cross broilers are quite efficient at converting feed to meat and producing a carcass with a great deal of breast meat, they are not well suited to pastured production due to weak legs, poor foraging ability, weak hearts, and poor heat tolerance. Alternative meat breeds, however, typically lack the feed efficiency and fast-finishing qualities of the Cornish Cross. Of the alternatives that were tested in these trials, a slower maturing strain of Cornish Cross broilers was the most successful in terms of reducing mortality rates and producing pastured organic broilers fairly economically. The slow Cornish Cross strain took about 11 weeks to reach an average carcass weight of 3.5 lb, with an average mortality rate of 6.67%. The standard Cornish Cross strain took approximately 8 weeks to reach an average carcass weight of 4.71 lb, but the mortality rate was nearly double at 12%.

Find the spreadsheet on the University of Idaho Extension website, IdahoAgBiz. The direct link to the spreadsheet is http://web.cals.uidaho.edu/idahoagbiz/files/2015/01/BreakevenAnalysisSmallScaleProductionPasturedOrganicPoultry.xlsx

The following Extension bulletin uses the spreadsheet cost calculator to determine average break-even prices needed to cover production costs using the data from five years of trials. It also describes how to produce organic broilers and how to build an inexpensive chicken tractor. It is a Pacific Northwest Extension Publication and is in the University of Idaho catalog:

Break-even Analysis of Small-Scale Production of Pastured Organic Poultry, PNW 665


 

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 12936

Making the Most of Mixtures: Considerations for Winter Cover Crops in Temperate Climates

jeu, 2016/05/05 - 19:49

eOrganic authors:

Charles White, Penn State University

Mary Barbercheck, Penn State University

Tianna DuPont, Penn State University

Denise Finney, Penn State University

Abbe Hamilton, Penn State University

Dave Hartman, Penn State University

Mena Hautau, Penn State University

Jermaine Hinds, Penn State University

Mitch Hunter, Penn State University

Jason Kaye, Penn State University

Jim La Chance, Penn State University

Contents Introduction

Cover crops can provide multiple benefits. For example, they can improve soil health, supply nutrients to cash crops, suppress weeds, help manage insect pests, produce forage, support pollinators and beneficial insects, and reduce water and air pollution. However, not all cover crop species provide the same benefits. How can you best reap the multiple benefits of cover cropping with so many species to choose from? To multiply and diversify your cover crop benefits, plant mixtures.

This article will describe some of the basic concepts to consider when planning a cover crop mixture. Selecting complementary species to meet different farm management objectives, timing planting and management correctly, and using effective establishment and termination methods are all important for successful cover crop mixtures. Information in this article is based on the research and experiences of a multidisciplinary team of researchers, educators, and farmers who have been evaluating cover crop mixtures in the northeastern United States. Most of our experience with cover crop mixtures is in organic feed crop rotations in temperate humid climates where cover crops are used during overwinter fallow periods. Despite the regional and cropping system specificity of our experience, many of the principles described in this article can be applied to a variety of farming systems and climates. We invite you to learn more about our USDA OREI-funded research and education project, Multifunctional Cover Crop Cocktails for Organic Systems.

Tailoring a Cover Crop Mixture to Farm Management Objectives

Every farm is different. Even within one farm, management objectives for a given field and crop will vary based on weather, site location and history, crop rotations, and many other factors. The design of a cover crop mixture must, therefore, take into account the current and future management objectives for each field. Whether the goal is breaking up a plow pan, overcoming low fertility, knocking out a pernicious weed, or a combination of services, different cover crop mixtures and specific management approaches will be needed. The starting point for developing mixtures is understanding the strengths and weaknesses of individual cover crop species.

Cover crop strengths and weaknesses. Individual species of cover crops often excel at providing one or two functions, while also having specific drawbacks. For example, forage radish (Raphanus sativus var. longipinnatus) can suppress weeds and reduce compaction in the fall, but because it winter-kills, it does not provide a living root system or residue cover in the spring. Red clover (Trifolium pratense) captures nitrogen from the atmosphere, but may not suppress weeds when seeded in the heat of summer without a companion species. Cereal rye (Secale cereale) can stop nitrogen from leaching, but may deprive the following cash crop of nitrogen. Meeting multiple objectives while avoiding basic pitfalls may require combining several species. Tables 1 and 2 list many of the common cover crop species used in the northeastern United States, their relative ability to provide different services, known drawbacks, and recommended planting date windows.

Top 7 Reasons Farmers Use a Cover Crop Mixture
  1. Reduces erosion
  2. Increases soil organic matter
  3. Increases yields for the following cash crop
  4. Controls weeds
  5. Reduces compaction
  6. Scavenges nitrogen
  7. Provides nitrogen for the upcoming cash crop

Results from interviews with 47 farmers about why they planted cover crops on a total of 110 fields.

How to Make a Cover Crop Mixture

The following steps can help build a mixture that meets farmer objectives, avoids pitfalls, and takes advantage of the power of cover crop diversity. (Refer to Tables 1 and 2 as needed.) The finer points in this process, such as choosing complementary species and seeding rates, are discussed below.

  1. Identify the top three desired cover crop services for a specific field or farm.
  2. Identify the cover crop planting date and termination date that will define the cover crop growth window available in your rotation.
  3. Pick a core set of cover crops that excel at providing the desired services (2-3 species) and that are adapted to the growth window available.
  4. If possible, select species with complementary growth periods, growth forms, and nutrient acquisition strategies.
  5. Identify the drawbacks from these cover crops, or “missing services” that they don't provide. If any have severe drawbacks, drop that species from the mix.
  6. Make a list of cover crops that could account for the drawbacks or provide the missing services. Choose one or two that fit with your planting window and, ideally, are complementary with the core cover crop species identified above.
  7. According to National Organic Program regulations, organic growers should use certified organic seed except “…non-organically produced, untreated seeds and planting stock may be used to produce an organic crop when an equivalent organically produced variety is not commercially available…” (§ 205.204). For more information see the eOrganic article Sourcing Certified Organic Seed and the National Organic Program Regulations.
  8. Determine the appropriate seeding mix and planting method, being sure to keep extremely competitive species at a low seeding rate.
  9. Get planting!
  10. Watch the cover crop growth and be sure to terminate at the right time. Pay special attention to cereal grasses that are about to become lignified or plants going to seed that could become weedy.
  11. Observe the results and make adjustments in the species mix and seeding rates to achieve even biomass representation from all the species.
Building a Complementary Mix

The success of a cover crop mixture depends upon each species in the mix providing the desired services in the appropriate balance with other species in the mix. Achieving this balance can be difficult because certain species are highly competitive, causing the desired services of the less competitive species to go unrealized. Often, these services are tied to a cover crop's biomass production or the density of certain plant parts, such as taproots or flowers. For instance, legume cover crops with greater biomass and nitrogen content will supply more nitrogen, and a greater flower density in a cover crop stand will attract more pollinators. However, more is not always better. In some cases, excessive biomass production by species in a mixture may cause challenges for cover crop termination and incorporation, planting of the following crop, and may also reduce the efficacy of other species in the mix. Balancing the services provided by a mixture requires selecting species that are complementary in their growth periods, growth forms, nitrogen acquisition strategies, and resources for pollinators and beneficial insects.

Complementary growth periods

Different cover crop species can have a variety of temporal growth periods. Some species have narrow or restricted seeding windows in the fall to achieve successful establishment. While some species will winter-kill due to cold temperatures, others will require termination early in the spring to avoid excessive growth, and yet others will require delaying termination later into spring to allow for sufficient growth. Navigating the maze of complementary growth periods is a sure way to hone down the list of cover crop species that will perform well together in a mix.

Begin by considering the date in the summer or fall when the cover crop can be planted. Generally, earlier planting dates will allow you to choose from more potential species. Then consider when you will terminate the cover crop, such as early, mid, or late spring, and select species that have similar optimum termination times. Tables 1 and 2 list recommended planting dates and optimum termination dates for each species.

Many temperate climate cash crop rotations—especially the common corn-soy rotation—greatly limit cover crop options, because the grain is harvested too late for many cover crops to be established. However, farmers with a strong desire to use cover crop mixtures can adjust their cash crop rotation to allow for more cover crop options. For example, including a small grain crop in the rotation allows late summer cover crop seeding after small grain harvest. Spring cover crop growth can be prolonged by pushing back cash crop planting dates and using crop varieties from shorter maturity groups. In addition, innovative methods such as inter-seeding, high-boy seeding, and aerial seeding can allow cover crops to establish during the cash crop window, and then grow rapidly when the cash crop is removed.

When the cover crop planting date is early enough to successfully establish winter-killed cover crop species, consider a mixture that includes both winter-killed and winter-hardy species. Rapid growth of the winter-killed species in the fall will increase nitrogen uptake, weed suppression, and erosion control in the fall. However, after winter-killing, some services provided by the cover crop begin to diminish. Without a living cover crop growing through the winter and into the spring, nitrogen scavenging and nitrogen fixation cease, and the opportunity to grow more cover crop biomass to build organic matter is lost. Having winter-hardy species in the mixture will help to maintain cover crop benefits throughout the winter and into the spring.

One example of a successful mixture with complementary growth periods is oats (Avena sativa), crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum), and annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum). Oats grow quickly in the fall, suppressing weeds and scavenging residual nitrogen, but will winterkill with prolonged freezing temperatures. With an appropriate planting date and management, oats can even produce enough fall biomass to be harvested or grazed for forage. The crimson clover and annual ryegrass are moderately winter-hardy and will continue to grow in the spring in some climates, providing nitrogen scavenging, nitrogen fixation, and erosion control until termination in the spring. Annual ryegrass and crimson clover also have similar optimum termination times in spring. Variations on this mixture can be made by replacing oats with different winter-killed species, such as sorghum-sudangrass (Sorghum bicolor X S. bicolor var. sudanese) or forage radish based on farm management goals and planting date considerations. When mixing winter-killed and winter-hardy species, be careful that the seeding rates of the winter-killed species are kept low enough that the winter-hardy species are not smothered out in the fall (seeding rate suggestions are discussed in a later section).

A cover crop mixture of annual ryegrass, forage radish, and orchardgrass interseeded into standing corn using a modified high clearance drill. Photo credit: John Wallace.

Complementary growth forms

Different species in a cover crop mixture can compete with each other for space and light, reducing the services provided by the less competitive species. Selecting species with complementary growth forms helps to alleviate competition between species. Cover crop growth forms can be divided into several categories, including tall open canopies, short dense canopies, and vining (See Tables 1 and 2). Species with similar growth forms are likely to compete with each other, while species with differing growth forms are more likely to be complementary. Tall, open-canopied species are especially compatible with vining species as the tall canopied species creates a ladder on which the vining species can grow. It is important that species with tall, open canopies are not planted too densely, or they will shade out the understory species. It should also be noted that some cover crop species, such as cereal grains, will shift their growth form from a short dense canopy to a tall open canopy when maturing from vegetative to reproductive stages. One way to manage species that will compete with each other for space is to plant them in an alternating row configuration. This practice is described in more detail in the Methods to Establish Cover Crop Mixtures section of this article.

As an example, cereal rye and crimson clover both have short dense canopies in the fall, so they are in competition for the same space. Replacing crimson clover with a vining species, such as Austrian winter pea (Pisum sativum subsp. arvense), would create a more complementary mixture. In a pea-rye mixture, the rye will shift from a short dense canopy in the fall to a tall open canopy in the spring, providing support for the vining pea.

This four-species mixture consists of species with complementary growth forms: cereal rye and canola transition from short dense canopies to tall open canopies in the late spring, Austrian winter pea is vining, and red clover remains short and dense. Photo credit: Mac Burgess.

Complementary nitrogen acquisition strategies

Legume cover crops can obtain nitrogen from both the soil and the atmosphere, while non-legume cover crops, such as grasses and brassicas, can only obtain nitrogen from the soil. Although legumes can take up soil nitrogen, they do so less aggressively than grasses and brassicas. Because low soil nitrogen levels can limit cover crop and cash crop growth, and excessive soil nitrogen levels can stimulate weed growth and contribute to nitrate leaching, the level of soil nitrogen availability should be taken into account when planning the cover crop mixture. Sometimes it is beneficial to pair species with different nitrogen acquisition strategies, while at other times only a single cover crop type may be necessary.

For soil with low nitrogen levels, legume cover crops that can satisfy their nitrogen demand from the atmosphere will be most effective. For soils with excessive nitrogen levels, non-legumes that are aggressive at scavenging soil nitrogen should be used. A legume cover crop planted in a soil with high nitrogen levels will grow well, but will be less competitive against nitrogen-hungry weeds and will not prevent nitrogen leaching as well as a non-legume would. Conversely, planting a non-legume into a soil with low nitrogen levels will result in sub-optimal biomass production due to nitrogen deficiency. In soils with moderate nitrogen levels, a mixture of a legume and non-legume can work well, as the non-legume will take up the soil nitrogen, protecting it against leaching, while the legume fixes nitrogen from the atmosphere, adding nitrogen to the plant-soil ecosystem. If the nitrogen level of a soil is not known, planting a cover crop mixture can be a useful strategy, as the performance of the mixture will adapt to the existing soil conditions. When large amounts of soil nitrogen are available, non-legumes will be favored and legumes may not flourish. With low soil nitrogen availability, legumes will be favored. This dynamic tradeoff between grasses and legumes allows the cover crop to adapt to the nitrogen management service needed most.

Complementary resources for beneficial insects and pollinators

Many beneficial insects—for example predators, parasitic wasps, and bees—can benefit from nectar and pollen provided by flowering cover crops. If providing resources for conserving pollinators and other beneficial insects is desired, differences in flower morphology such as shape, size, and color will influence the types of beneficial insects that are attracted to a particular cover crop. For example, cover crops with flat, open flowers allow pollen and nectar resources to be available to all shapes and sizes of bees as well as insect natural enemies. However, the narrow, closed flower morphology of legumes is typically difficult for small bees and beneficial insects, e.g., parasitic wasps, to enter to obtain pollen and nectar. Therefore, to provide resources to a diversity of beneficial insects, cover crop mixtures containing a variety of flower morphologies may be required.

Flower density has a significant influence on the number of bees and other beneficial insects that are attracted to a planting, with greatest beneficial insect visitation to plantings with the highest number of open blooms per area. Therefore, a monoculture of a flowering cover crop will be more attractive at peak flowering than a cover crop mixture that contains a lower density of open flowers. However, cover crop mixtures may contain species that flower at different times, extending the potential time that floral resources are available. Most importantly, to provide floral resources to beneficial insects, flowers must be open and available. Cover crop planting and termination windows may not allow for flowering species to bloom before the cover crop is terminated. If a crop rotation window does not allow the cover crop to flower before it must be terminated, then it may be feasible to leave strips of cover crops in the field for a few extra weeks to further support beneficial insects. However, management of the cover crop before seed set or a plan to manage volunteer cover crops resulting from those that set seed should be in place before allowing cover crops to flower. For other considerations when providing resources to promote natural enemies, such as optimal distances between insectary strips and crop fields, see the eXtension article Farmscaping: Making Use of Nature's Services.

Non-flowering cover crops can also provide resources for beneficial insects, such as extrafloral nectar, refuge and overwintering habitat, and alternate prey. These resources are all vital in supporting predatory and parasitic insects and spiders. The presence of these resources is important in facilitating early season colonization of fields by beneficial insects that can more easily respond to establishing pest populations. It is important to remember that cover crops can host crop pests, serving as a “green bridge” between cash crops. Therefore, it is critical to maintain a good crop rotation that takes into consideration the potential insect pest and disease-causing organisms that may be shared by the cover crops in a mixture and the subsequent cash crop in your rotation.

Weed Suppression with Cover Crop Mixtures

One of the main ways that cover crops suppress weeds is by shading the soil, which reduces weed germination and growth. In our research in Pennsylvania, we have observed that cover crops that emerge quickly after planting and grow rapidly in the early fall will have low weed biomass in the spring. In our experience, rye, oats, radish, and canola can effectively out-compete weeds when planted in mid-August after wheat harvest. Red clover and Austrian winter pea are slower growing, however, and are often invaded by weeds, even though pea stands can eventually produce a large amount of fall biomass. It is also worth noting that nitrogen-deficient brassicas and gaps between drill passes can allow weeds to establish. To create a weed-suppressive cover crop mixture, start with one or two species that will cover the soil rapidly, then add more species according to your other goals.

The figure below illustrates some of the important points about achieving good weed suppression with cover crop mixtures. The legumes red clover and Austrian winter pea are slower to establish in the fall and can allow weeds to get a foothold (A, B). Under nitrogen-deficient conditions, canola growth is limited (C), reducing its weed suppression compared to canola with sufficient nitrogen available (G). A mixture of slow-growing legumes (D) will be no better at suppressing weeds than a slow-growing legume monoculture. Grasses like oats and rye are excellent weed suppressors (E, F) but even a small gap between drill passes can create a spot for weeds to take root (F). A diverse mixture that includes a few fast-growing species will provide weed suppression while allowing for benefits such as nitrogen fixation and floral resources from the other species (H).

Photo credit: Charlie White

Cover Crop Mixtures Adjust to Climate and Nitrogen Availability

At each site, total biomass and species composition was quite different based on the climate and nitrogen availability at the site. At warmer sites, canola was the dominant species in the mix while cereal rye dominated at the cooler sites. As nitrogen availability decreased, the presence of Austrian winter pea in the mixture increased. Red clover did not contribute substantial biomass to the mixture at any of the locations. Because you may not always know how many growing degree days will be left in the fall after you plant your cover crop, nor will you always know the nitrogen availability in every field at cover crop planting time, a species mixture can be one way to insure that something in the mix will be well adapted to the growing conditions that present themselves.

Photo credits: Mac Burgess (Centre County photo), Charlie White

Too Many? Too Few? How Many Species Are Just Right?

A central and yet unresolved question in the design of cover crop mixtures is “How many species should be in the mix?” In natural grasslands, it has frequently been observed that increasing the number of species in an area does enhance important ecosystem functions, but after a certain point, adding additional species no longer provides additional benefits. Applying this idea to cover crop mixtures, we expect that selecting a small number (3 to 5) of complementary species and managing them to achieve even biomass production in the mixture will provide multiple cover crop functions. Beyond a certain number of species the return on our investment is likely to diminish. In other words, a carefully planned mixture of a few complementary species may provide the same or more cover crop services than a mixture with many species.

A major challenge in pinpointing the optimum number of species is the fact that cover crops, like other crops, have good years and bad years due to weather or management decisions necessary to meet other production goals. This leads to year-to-year differences not only in overall biomass production, but also in the contribution of each species to a cover crop mixture. Such differences can impact the extent to which a mixture provides the desired cover crop services. One way to buffer against the loss of a desired service is to increase redundancy in the mix with additional species that perform the same functions or exhibit similar growth characteristics. The redundancy present in higher diversity mixtures increases the likelihood that at least one species selected to fill a certain role can thrive—a type of insurance policy to assure that the mix will provide the services for which it was designed.

Methods to Establish Cover Crop Mixtures

The common methods of cover crop establishment, such as drilling and broadcasting, can be adapted for the successful establishment of cover crop mixtures. Some of the challenges and opportunities associated with establishing cover crop mixtures include achieving the correct seeding depth, preventing seed separation and settling in the drill box, selecting different row configurations, and determining the right seeding rate of each species in the mixture.

Seeding depth

Cover crop species vary in their optimum seeding depth from 0.25 to 1.5 inches. When species with different seeding depths are mixed together, there are several strategies that can be used to aid in successful establishment of each species.

Many drills have a large and a small seed box. The large box, sometimes called the grain box, is optimized for large-seeded crops and the drop tubes from the large box direct seeds to the deepest point in the furrow created by the disc openers. The small box, sometimes called the legume or grass-seed box, is optimized for small-seeded crops. The drop tubes from the small-seeded box can be directed to drop seed at the rear of the disc openers, resulting in a shallower seed placement. The drop tubes from the small box can also be left hanging straight down to dribble seed on the soil surface. Dribbling seed on the soil surface can be a useful strategy in tilled soil where a cultipacker will be used to firm the soil after seeding. Planting mixtures in one pass by splitting the species according to seed size and planting depth has been the most effective strategy at obtaining optimum seeding depths for various species in a mixture.

An alternative approach to managing depth of seed placement that has been proposed is to mix the seed of all species in the mix in one drill box and to set the seeding depth to approximately 0.75 to 1 inch. The suggestion has been made that in a mixture, the larger-seeded species planted to such a depth will break open the seed furrow as they germinate and allow the smaller-seeded species to then emerge. This approach sometimes works, and may be the only solution for drills with a single seed box. However, in our experience, this approach has occasionally led to sub-optimal stands of smaller-seeded species, particularly when the depth of the furrow is likely to change across a field due to variations in soil type and soil moisture.

A final approach that has been used, which is more time and equipment intensive than other approaches, is to seed the large-seeded species to depth with a drill and then to make a second pass with a broadcast seeder, broadcasting the small-seeded species onto the soil surface and then firming in the seedbed with a cultipacker. These two passes can also be combined into one using a custom-rigged tractor with a broadcast spreader on the front.

On the disc opener of this grain drill, the tube from the small seed box (smooth tube) deposits seed behind the disc opener for shallow seed placement. The tube from the large seed box (corrugated tube) deposits seed at the front of the disc opener for placement at the bottom of the furrow. Photo credit: Jim LaChance

Preventing seed separation and settling

Many people new to using cover crop mixtures are concerned that seeds of different sizes, mixed together in a drill box, will separate and settle as the drill travels across a field. Seed separation and settling has rarely been a significant issue in practice, however. The seed sizes that are most likely to separate from each other when mixed together are small round seeds and large round seeds. When a variety of different seed shapes and sizes are used in a mix, especially including oblong grass seeds, the packing arrangement becomes stabilized and seed separation is greatly reduced. Another approach to minimize seed settling would be to separate seeds into the small and large boxes of a drill, as previously discussed in the seeding depth section.

Selecting different row configurations

One of the opportunities that emerges when using cover crop mixtures is to plant different component species of the mixture in specific row configurations. This strategy can be used to minimize competition between species in a mixture. One common example is to plant forage radishes in alternating rows with a companion species. On a drill with 7.5” spacing between rows, a good row configuration might be one row of radish alternating with three rows of the companion, or two rows of radish alternating with two rows of the companion. Because forage radish has the tendency to outcompete other species in a mix, segregating the radishes and companion species into different rows allows the companion species to establish.

Alternating row configurations can easily be sown in one pass using a drill with two seed boxes. Simply place duct tape over openers inside each seed box to create the desired pattern and then place the set of seeds for each row type in the appropriate box. In a drill with one seed box, vertical baffles between openers, spanning front to back of the drill box, can be created with cardboard and duct tape. Fill each compartment created by the baffles with the appropriate seed to create the desired row configuration.

Alternating row configuration is one strategy to manage competition between species in a mixture. Here forage radish alternates with Austrian winter pea. Photo credit: Charlie White

To create an alternating row configuration, duct tape is used to seal off openers in the large and small seed boxes of a grain drill. The resulting pattern will plant two rows of the varieties in the large box alternating with two rows of the varieties in the small box. Photo credit: Charlie White

Determining seeding rates in the mixture

Determining appropriate seeding rates of each species in a mixture can be difficult. Start with the suggestions below, plant a small acreage, observe the results, and then make adjustments as necessary. Be aware that results will vary across fields, years, and climate zones.

Certain species are highly competitive against other species in a mix, including forage radish, canola (Brassica rapa), oats, sorghum-sudangrass, and cereal rye. Seeding rates of these species must be dramatically reduced from monoculture seeding rates to prevent them from dominating the mixture. Seeding rates for these species in mixtures should be no more than 2 to 3 lb/A for forage radish, 3 to 4 lb/A for canola, 15 to 20 lb/A for sorghum-sudangrass, and 20 to 30 lb/A for oats or cereal rye.

Seeding rates for other grasses in a mixture can safely be reduced to between half and one-quarter of monoculture seeding rates to achieve a balanced stand with legumes and other broadleaf species. Legume components of a mixture, which tend to be weak competitors, are more safely kept near their monoculture rates to ensure establishment in the stand.

When two or more species that are functionally redundant are included in a mix with other types of cover crops, seeding rates of the redundant cover crop types should be reduced even further. For example, to determine seeding rates of the winter-hardy grasses such as annual ryegrass, cereal rye, and triticale (x Triticosecale) in a mixture with crimson clover and oats, first consider that the seeding rate for winter-hardy grasses should be reduced at least in half compared with a monoculture rate. Then, because the three similar species of grasses are functionally redundant, divide the half rate for each species by the number of redundant species, in this case 3, to obtain a final seeding rate in the mix. In this case, monoculture rates of 20 lb/A for annual ryegrass, and 120 lb/A for cereal rye and triticale would first be cut in half and then divided by 3, such that final rates of approximately 3.3 lb/A annual ryegrass, and 20 lb/A each of cereal rye and triticale would be used.

Example Seeding Rate Calculation

Species in the mix: Annual ryegrass, cereal rye, triticale, oats, crimson clover

Consider:

  • Seeding rate for a winter-hardy grass should be reduced by one-quarter to one-half the monoculture rate
  • Annual ryegrass, cereal rye, and triticale are three functionally redundant species of winter-hardy grasses.
  • Seeding rate for functionally redundant species should be reduced again by the number of redundant species
  • Legumes should be kept close to monoculture rate
  • Oats and cereal rye are highly competitive species and should be kept below a threshold rate

Calculated seeding rates:

Annual ryegrass
20 lb/A in monoculture ÷ 2 for half-rate of winter-hardy grass ÷ 3 for functional redundancy = 3.3 lb/A in the mixture

Cereal rye
120 lb/A in monoculture ÷ 2 for half-rate of winter-hardy grass ÷ 3 for functional redundancy = 20 lb/A in the mixture
(Note: because this is a highly competitive species, double check that the calculated rate is below the recommended threshold)

Triticale
120 lb/A in monoculture ÷ 2 for half-rate of winter-hardy grass ÷ 3 for functional redundancy = 20 lb/A in the mixture

Crimson clover
12 lb/A in monoculture should be reduced only slightly to ≈ 10 lb/A in the mixture

Oats
Because oats is a highly competitive species, the seeding rate should be less than 20-30 lb/A in a mix

Considerations when Terminating Cover Crop Mixtures

Just as a cover crop mixture must meet the specific needs of a cropping system, the appropriate timing and method of termination is often cropping-system specific. Generally, cover crops in organic systems can be terminated with various combinations of a moldboard plow, flail mower, disk, and/or cultimulcher. In organic reduced-tillage systems, a roller-crimper is typically used. Important management considerations regarding termination of cover crops include terminating at an optimum maturity stage, synchronizing maturation rates or planning for asynchrony, and managing soil moisture.

Determining the optimum maturity stage to terminate cover crops can be challenging because it often involves tradeoffs among the different benefits provided by cover crops. For instance, as grasses mature, the biomass increases dramatically, nitrogen concentration of the tissue declines and lignin levels increase. A grass that is allowed to grow to the pollen shedding stage can be challenging to incorporate into the soil, cause poor seed-to-soil contact when planting the following crop, and cause nitrogen immobilization as the cover crop decomposes. Incorporating large amounts of biomass can also stimulate some crop pests, such as seed corn maggot. On the other hand, allowing the grass to reach the pollen shedding stage can provide resources for beneficial insects and maximize organic matter inputs to the soil. Allowing legumes to grow to the flowering stage generally maximizes nitrogen accumulation of the cover crop, but allowing a legume to flower for too long can cause a decline in nitrogen content as nitrogen is transferred to maturing seeds. Allowing species such as hairy vetch (Vicia villosa) or canola to flower for too long may also result in viable seed set, possibly creating an undesirable seed bank in the soil. For example, in Northeastern organic reduced-tillage systems, studies found that cereal rye/hairy vetch mixtures often required multiple roller-crimper passes to prevent seed production because of differences in the maturity timing of each cover crop. However, under a different management approach, maintaining a longer flowering period before terminating the cover crop may be desired to provide resources to beneficial insects. Thus, the optimum maturity stage to terminate a cover crop will depend on specific objectives for the cover crop and constraints of the crop rotation and management, and may require balancing of any tradeoffs that arise.

The above examples illustrate why it is important to consider synchrony and/or asynchrony of certain species in a mix with regard to termination timing. The selection of complementary growth periods and forms in the species of a mixture will allow for uniform termination of all species; however, several strategies exist to manage asynchrony when it arises. For example, if a mixture of cereal rye and red clover is allowed to mature for too long, then the cereal rye can become excessively lignified, potentially leading to nitrogen immobilization in the following cash crop. One alternative termination strategy in this scenario is to flail mow at a height that primarily destroys tall rye biomass, while the understory of red clover continues growing until final termination. Alternatively, another example could be to switch the grass in your mixture from cereal rye to a later-maturing grass – like triticale (x Triticosecale), wheat (Triticum aestivum), or spelt (Triticum spelta) – thus increasing the likelihood of synchrony between the cover crops in the mixture, and reducing nitrogen immobilization that could occur from the incorporation of highly-lignified stems.

In addition to maturity considerations, cover crop termination decisions must also account for soil moisture. For example, the longer a cover crop grows, the greater the potential loss of soil water from cover crop transpiration, which may reduce cash crop yields in a dry year. In wet years, on the other hand, cover crops can help use up excessive soil moisture and help farmers get in the fields sooner. Similarly, cover crop residue left on the soil surface as a mulch can either keep soils cool and moist, delaying planting, or, depending on the weather conditions, can retain needed moisture. Adaptive management based on rainfall patterns and cover crop growth is crucial to optimize cover crop water use and retention.

Each species in a cover crop mixture can present unique complications regarding termination and, as mixtures often vary significantly across different geographies, soil types, and climates, it is likely that site-specific management of cover crop mixtures in any location will take several years of fine-tuning.

Conclusions

The benefits of cover crops have been long recognized, and in some cases using a cover crop mixture can enhance these benefits. By tailoring the selection of cover crop species to meet farm management objectives, understanding complementarity between species, and following some basic management guidelines, an endless array of cover crop mixtures can be designed and implemented in any farming system. As with any new endeavor, observing the results and making adjustments based on previous experiences are important keys to long-term success when using cover crop mixtures. Together, the collaboration of researchers and farmers can continue to unlock the potential of cover crop mixtures as a key tool for enhancing the multi-functionality, resiliency, and sustainability of cropping systems.

Click for an enlarged version of Table 1 for viewing or printing: Characteristics, ability to provide various services, and recommended planting date windows for non-legume winter cover crops commonly used in temperate cropping systems.

Click for an enlarged version of Table 2 for viewing or printing: Characteristics, ability to provide various services, and recommended planting date windows for legume winter cover crops commonly used in temperate cropping systems.

Additional Resources

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 12858

Managing Bad Stink Bugs Using Good Stink Bugs Webinar

jeu, 2016/05/05 - 18:50

This webinar by Dr. Yong-Lak Park of West Virginia University was recorded on January 22, 2015

About the Webinar

Brown marmorated stink bugs (BMSB) have caused considerable economic damage in the Mid-Atlantic states, and biological control agents against BMSB are not readily available for growers yet. In this webinar, the efficacy and utilization of the spined soldier bug as a native biological control agent will be presented and discussed. This webinar is for a mixed audience including researchers, extension specialists and agents, and growers seeking information on biological control of stink bugs.

Slides from the webinar as a pdf handout

About the Presenter

Dr. Park is an associate professor in the entomology program at West Virginia University. His research team has been working on a state-wide brown marmorated stink bug and natural enemy survey, organic stink bug management, and mass rearing of the spined soldier bug.

System Requirements

PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server
Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.6 or newer
Mobile attendees
Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet

Java needs to be installed and working on your computer to join the webinar. If you have concerns, please test your Java at http://java.com/en/download/testjava.jsp prior to joining the webinar. If you are running Mac OS X 10.6 with Safari, please be sure to test your Java. If it isn't working, please try Firefox (http://www.mozilla.com) or Chrome (http://www.google.com/chrome). The webinar program will require you to download software before connecting you to the webinar, so if you don't have administrative rights on your computer, you may not be able to do this, although you can listen in by phone. If you'd like to test your connection to gotowebinar in advance, go here.


 

 

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 12839

Diversity by Design: Using Trap Crops to Control the Crucifer Flea Beetle Webinar

jeu, 2016/05/05 - 17:49

This webinar by Joyce Parker and William Snyder was recorded on November 11, 2014.

About the Webinar

Diverse plantings bring many benefits for agroecosystems. This webinar explores the use of diverse trap crops, stands of plants grown to attract pest insects away from your target crop, as an approach to manage flea beetles in broccoli. The audience targeted are small farms, home gardeners and anyone interested in learning more about trap cropping.

Find the slides for the presentation as a pdf here

About the Presenter

Joyce is an entomologist with a background in agroecology and sustainable agriculture. She received her MS in Ag biology from New Mexico State University and her PhD in Entomology from Washington State University. Her doctoral research broadly explored organic pest management strategies (e.g., trap cropping and companion planting) that enhanced pest control and improved crop yields. Currently Joyce is an AAAS Science Policy Fellow at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the Design for the Environment Branch.

Find all upcoming and archived eOrganic webinars on organic farming and research topics at http://www.extension.org/pages/25242

 

 


 

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 12833

Incorporating Pasture-Raised Organic Poultry and Naked Oats into an Organic Rotation

ven, 2016/04/22 - 13:58

eOrganic authors:

John Anderson, Ohio State University

Kathy Bielek, Ohio State University

This video was created by John Anderson and Kathy Bielek of the Ohio State University, who are participants in the NIFA OREI funded project: A Whole Farm Approach to Incorporating Pasture Raised Organic Poultry and a Novel Cereal Grain (Naked Oats) into a Multi-year Organic Rotation. In the video, John speaks with Cara and Jason Tipton of Tea Hills Poultry.

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm John Anderson from the Department of Animal Sciences at The Ohio State University. As part of our project on incorporating pasture-raised organic poultry and naked oats into an organic rotation, we had three producer-cooperators assess our naked oats diet in their production system for two years using both commercial broilers and red broilers. We spoke with cooperators Cara and Jason Tipton of Tea Hills Poultry.

Cara: We are a sixth-generation family farm in Loudonville, Ohio. We have a grain farm as well as meat birds and an on-farm processing facility. The poultry end is done on about 15 acres.

Jason: We do about 10,000 market birds a year. We have about 400 layers right now, we raise about 1,000 turkeys a year for Thanksgiving, and we do about 500 ducks a year.

John: The main goal of this project is to assess the feasibility of incorporating naked oats, also called hulless oats, into a multi-year crop rotation, with the naked oats then used as a major part of the poultry feed.

When compared to conventional oats, the hulless varieties have less crude fiber and a significant increase in both protein and lipid content. Hulless oats can replace all of the corn and some of the soy in a poultry diet and still produce acceptable growth rates for most pastured-poultry producers.

Another objective for this project was to have organic poultry producers assess the suitability of our naked oats and soy diet. We asked the Tiptons, how does the naked oat/soy diet compare with your usual broiler ration?

Cara: They performed pretty equally against each other. I think their rate of gain looks pretty comparable to what we feed already.

John: An additional goal was for the producer-cooperators to evaluate the relative merits of two different types of broilers—commercial broilers and a slower growing type often used on pasture called Red Rangers, red broilers, or just red bros. The Tiptons typically raise both white and red broilers, and we asked how the red birds compared to the commercial broilers as far as their behavior on pasture.

Jason: With the red bros they just seem more aware of their surroundings and they get up, they move. As soon as you move those shelters, they just go at it. So every one of the birds have green in their mouth, it seems like, as soon as you move them.

John: The red birds are slower growing, taking about two weeks longer to finish, and have a different carcass shape.

John: So marketing organic birds is relatively new for you, or have you marketed organic birds in the past?

Cara: We do have people ask occasionally if they're certified organic and when we tell them how we raise them, I think the more important thing to them is that they're raised on pasture and they're allowed to be outside and are fed an all natural feed. But, when we sell a product to a store, the organic label speaks volumes since we're not there to tell how we raise the birds. You know, it has an identity and a description on how it's raised just from the label, so it's definitely been a popular item in stores.

John: But you've been satisfied with the birds you ate? The oats fed ration?

Cara: Absolutely.

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 13011

Weed Profiles

mer, 2016/04/13 - 17:40

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 T936

Organic Dairy Videos

mer, 2016/04/13 - 17:40

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 T1205

Current and Past Issues of eOrganic Updates Newsletter

mer, 2016/04/13 - 15:11

Subscribe to the eOrganic Updates Newsletter

Issues

April 2016

Annual Report 2015

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October 2014

July 2014

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February 2014

November 2013

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Annual report 2011

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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 6127

April 2016

mer, 2016/04/13 - 15:04

In this issue:

Archived Conference Recordings

In addition to our ongoing webinars, we provided live broadcasts from the Organic Agriculture Research Symposium and the Organic Seed Growers Conference this winter. We recorded several presentations from these conferences that are now available in our archive and as playlists on the eOrganic YouTube channel. The seed conference recordings include sessions from a day-long seed production intensive class, as well as a presentation on the State of Organic Seed by Kristina Hubbard and Jared Zystro of the Organic Seed Alliance. The Organic Agriculture Research Symposium recordings include sessions on biosolarization, the importance of organic research, organic dairy forages, organic education, and many more. Find the recordings here:

All the webinars from this past winter and spring are also available in our archive. Since we have so many recordings, it may be easier for you to find the ones that interest you by topic here. In the coming months, we'll be offering additional monthly webinars, mainly focused on dairy and seed production, and we'll start doing weekly webinars again in the fall.

May 12th: Supplementing the Organic Dairy Herd Diet with Flaxseed

Join us on May 12 for a webinar with Andre Brito of the University of New Hampshire and Heather Darby of the University of Vermont. The webinar takes place at 2 PM Eastern Time (1 Central, 12 Mountain, 11 Pacific). It's free and open to the public, and registration is required. Dr. Darby will start the webinar by sharing results of field trials she’s conducted in northern Vermont looking at the performance of flax varieties, planting dates, and weed management. Dr. Brito will then describe his work on feeding flaxseed to organic dairy cows. Find out more and register here.

Spotted Wing Drosophila Survey for Organic Growers

Attention organic berry growers! If soft-fruited berries (cherries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc.) are part of your farm operation, organizers of a NIFA OREI project would like some information on your knowledge of and experience with this invasive small fruit pest that primarily attacks raspberries, blackberries and blueberries but may also infest strawberries, grapes, and stone fruit. The survey will take 10 minutes to complete and will be open through June, 2016. Here is the link to the survey (after the introductory text, click on the arrows below it to get to the survey): https://umn.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cDeLcgAST6GsQo5

The project is Development and Implementation of Systems-based Organic Management Strategies for Spotted Wing Drosophila. For questions about this survey, contact Ash Sial of the University of Georgia or Mary Rogers of the University of Minnesota.

Organic Confluences Summit: May 23rd, 2016

On May 23, the Organic Center is holding its first Organic Confluences Summit, which aims to turn research-based environmental benefits of organic agriculture into policy practice. This conference will bring together scientific experts, farmers, policy makers, and organic stakeholders to review the most up-to-date research on the environmental benefits of organic farming practices and assess the availability and efficacy of existing public sector programs designed to incentivize the adoption of environmentally friendly organic farming techniques. The conference takes place in conjunction with the Organic Trade Association's Organic Week DC, and there is a registration discount for those who are attending both events. Find out more information and register here: https://www.organic-center.org/programs/organic-confluences/

New eOrganic Videos and Articles National Organic Program and USDA News

New Organic Livestock and Poultry Proposed Rules: The USDA is proposing rules to amend livestock and poultry practices for organic farms, which include sections on:

  • Clarifying how producers and handlers must treat livestock and poultry to ensure their health and wellbeing throughout life, including transport and slaughter.  
  • Specifying which physical alterations are allowed and prohibited in organic livestock and poultry production.  
  • Establishing minimum indoor and outdoor space requirements for poultry.  

You can view the proposed rule here, and then once it is published in the federal register, you will be able to submit comments.The link above provides instructions.

NOSB Seeking Nominations: The National Organic Standards Board is accepting nominations to fill five vacancies on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) as well as nominations for a pool of candidates to fill future unexpected vacancies in any of the position categories, should that occur. Appointees will serve a 5-year term starting on January 24, 2017. The deadline is June 3, 2016, and you can find more information on the vacancies and how to apply here.

Organic Integrity Database: In February, the USDA launched the new Organic Integrity Database. This new searchable database is a user-friendly tool that can help you findup-to-date information on certified organic operations. Using the database, you can find things like the certified organic operations in your state and what they provide, check on the certification status of a particular farm, or learn how many certified organic farms there are in the US. Learn more about the database here.

Organic Conservation Resources The USDA NRCS has a webpage with information on organic production and conservation, which includes success stories from producers who have implemented conservation practices. You can also find fact sheets on cover crops and conservation buffers and practices produced by Oregon Tilth, and a link about a series of webinars in 2016 on weed management and reduced tillage. Additionally, you can find out about the EQIP program and how you can take advantage of EQIP funding. Find the NRCS organic agriculture page here.

New Spanish Resources: The Agricultural Marketing Service has translated many resources on organic farming into Spanish, for example the USDA Organic Regulations and the Program Handbook. Newly available for Spanish speakers are the Sound and Sensible initiative resources, including videos and a checklist on transitioning to organic production produced by CCOF, organic farming videos from WSDA and tip sheets on organic standards from NCAT. Find all these resources here, on the USDA blog:

eOrganic Mission

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.

eOrganic Resources

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

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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 17925

Supplementing the Organic Dairy Herd Diet with Flaxseed

mar, 2016/04/05 - 18:26

Join eOrganic for a webinar focused on research that is evaluating flaxseed as a feed supplement to the organic dairy herd diet. The webinar will take place on May 12, 2016 at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, 1 p.m. Central, 12 p.m. Mountain and 11 a.m. Pacific Time. The webinar is free and open to the public; advance registration is required.

Register now at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5566135052837511681

About the Webinar

Flaxseed is an oilseed rich in fat, making it an excellent energy source for livestock. Flaxseed can fed as a supplement to pasture to boost omega-3 fatty acid in milk. This also affects the dairy cow’s health, reproductive fertility, and methane (a potent greenhouse gas) emissions.

Funded by a grant from the USDA Organic Research and Extension Initiative, a multi-state project has been exploring how organic dairy farmers in the Northeast can enhance farm profitability by extending the grazing season and adding value to milk through feed supplementation. In this webinar, Drs. Andre Brito and Heather Darby, describe some results of the study.

Dr. Darby will start the webinar by sharing results of field trials she’s conducted in northern Vermont looking at the performance of flax varieties, planting dates, and weed management. Dr. Brito will then describe his work on feeding flaxseed to organic dairy cows.

About the Presenters

Dr. Andre Brito is an associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of New Hampshire, focusing on dairy organic management. He currently leads the USDA OREI project, "Assisting Organic Dairy Producers to Meet the Demands of New and Emerging Milk Markets" which is funding the projects he will discuss.

Dr. Heather Darby is an associate professor of agronomy at the University of Vermont Extension, where she conducts applied research and farmer outreach programs on farm-based fuel, cover crops and soil health, nutrient management, organic livestock forages, and grain production systems in the Northeast.

System Requirements

Please connect to the webinar 10 minutes in advance, as the webinar program will require you to download software. To test your connection in advance, go here. You can either listen via your computer speakers or call in by phone (toll call). Java needs to be installed and working on your computer to join the webinar.  If you are running Mac OSU with Safari, please test your Java at http://java.com/en/download/testjava.jsp prior to joining the webinar, and if it isn't working, try Firefox or Chrome. Find more detailed system requirements here.

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.

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