USDA research finds conservation tillage works better after first year

In Southeast Farm Press

An onslaught of the weed Palmer amaranth in the southeastern United States has left many farmers wondering if they should continue using environmentally friendly cover crops and conservation tillage or switch to conventional tillage.

Palmer amaranth is aggressive, drought tolerant, a prolific seed producer, and capable of developing resistance to glyphosate, known as Roundup. Because of that, thousands of acres in Alabama and elsewhere are at risk of being converted to conventional tillage, which may better control the weed, but increases soil erosion and threatens long-term soil productivity.  Continue reading

Study investigates impact of strip tillage on a high-value crop

by Paul Schattenberg, Texas A&M AgriLife

A study done by researchers at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Uvalde may help producers in the Texas Winter Garden region and other areas decide whether conservation tillage methods might benefit them in the production of high-value crops.

Conducted by Dr. Daniel Leskovar, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research vegetable physiologist and center director, in collaboration with Drs. Yahia Othman and Xuejun Dong, the study also includes research results on how strip tillage affects soil biological activity. Continue reading

GMO crops are better for environment, farmers say

In Southwest Farm Press

Most U.S. farmers and ranchers believe biotechnology and genetically-modified crops increase crop production efficiency and agricultural sustainability, according to survey results from a poll conducted by the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) and the National Corn Growers Association.

The survey of 280-plus U.S. farmers gleaned their thoughts on the value of GMO crops. They weighed in on the impact of GMO technology on the environment, yields, pesticide use, and other issues. Continue reading

Farmer is using cover crops to beat pigweed – and winning

In Southeast Farm Press

by Wade Parker, University of Georgia Extension

Lamar Black can be considered one of the “conservation tillage pioneers” in the Southeast.

Black manages Tilmanstone Farm located in Jenkins and Burke counties in east central Georgia. The farm is 415 acres and traditionally uses a cotton, corn and peanut rotation. This year, all acres will be in cotton or peanut, partly due to current farm bill policy, Black said.

In 1993, Black implemented conservation tillage but had been experimenting with it since the 1970s. A key point to his successful conservation tillage program is his intensive management of cover crops. His conservation program started with planting into winter weeds, wheat and then ultimately rye. Continue reading

New IPM webinars by eOrganic

eOrganic is hosting four new webinars in January 2015 on organic farming and research for your learning and professional development. Topics include cabbageworms, rotational no-till, stink bugs and ancient grains. These free presentations are open to the public and take place at 2PM Eastern Time, 1PM Central, 12PM Mountain, 11AM Pacific Time. Find out more about the presentations and register in advance at the links below. Continue reading