New Cover Crops and Water Quality Fact Sheets, Infographics and Slide Set Now Available

Barges carrying agricultural products aren’t the only traffic on the Mississippi River. Nutrients and sediment from across the Mississippi River Basin travel down the river until reaching the Gulf, where they linger and create low oxygen “dead zones” in which many fish cannot survive.

Monitoring of the Gulf hypoxic zone has shed some light on the important connections between agricultural practices and water quality. Although some practices contribute to the problem, other practices – like cover crops – provide a much needed solution. Continue reading

Cover crops help with weeds in high tunnels

by Candice Pollock-Moore, Southern SARE

Barley and hairy vetch growing vigorously in a high tunnel at Lola’s Organic Farm in southeast Georgia were going to seed. It was mid-April. Time to mow and prepare the soil for the summer’s cash crops: ginger and turmeric.

Since last year, couple Jennifer Taylor and Ron Gilmore – USDA certified organic farmers – have been playing around with growing cover crops in high tunnels, following the positive results of a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE)-funded Producer Grant project that showed cover crops grown in the field ahead of a cash crop can suppress weeds and build soil health. Continue reading

Southern SARE awards over $2.4M in grants

The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) program has awarded over $2.4 million in Research & Education Grants to further sustainable agriculture research across the Southern region for FY2018.

Systems research-based funded projects include cover crops in woody ornamental production, managing plant-parasitic nematodes through sod-based crop rotation, tea production in Florida, and expanding marketing opportunities for small-scale ruminant farmers. Continue reading

Now Available: 2017 National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health Presentations

Videos and presentations from the 2017 National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health sessions are now available. Held December 7-8, 2017 in Indianapolis, the conference highlighted insights from some of the nation’s most innovative producers, conservation leaders and scientists on using cover crops to improve soil health. Continue reading

Arkansas farmer finds cover crops successfully keep out pigweed

In Delta Farm Press

The dominant soil type on Adam Chappell’s Cotton Plant, Ark., farm is a sandy loam. Chappell is persistent and insistent in trying to make that soil better.

He’s found the main way to do that is the use of cover crops. Continue reading

Pros and Cons of Cover Cropping for No-till Vegetable Production: Making sense of current research and past experiences

No-till vegetable production offers a more sustainable approach to weed management than the frequent use of herbicides and tillage, and also promotes soil health. Because cover crop based no-till vegetable production involves a different approach to management, growers may be reluctant to transition from conventional tillage without seeing the system in action and knowing its costs and benefits compared with conventional tillage. In this workshop Clemson University specialists will discuss the pros and cons of cover cropping and no-till with recommendations based on current research and our experiences in the field over the past decade.

May 17TH, 2018, 8:45 AM – 3:30 PM Continue reading

UK researchers to study pollinator food availability on farmland

by Katie Pratt, University of Kentucky

Pollinators are extremely important to agriculture, accounting for one in every three bites of food, but their populations have been declining worldwide for a number of years. In a new study, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment researchers are evaluating how food availability on farmland impacts bee communities in early spring.

“Managing corn and soybean fields in a way that provides food for pollinators early in the spring could be beneficial to bee communities,” said Clare Rittschof, UK assistant professor in the Department of Entomology and leader of the project. “The goal of this project is to help producers improve pollinator populations on their land by providing an attractive and nutritious food source for them.” Continue reading

IPM Enhancement Grant projects examine agricultural, urban issues

The Southern IPM Center will spend $309,653 to address agricultural and urban issues during the next year with its IPM Enhancement Grant. Out of 32 proposals submitted to the program, a review panel outside of the region selected 11 for funding.

IPM Enhancement Grants are relatively small grants (up to $30,000 for most) to address an integrated pest management issue. Most publicly funded organizations are eligible to apply as long as they reside in one of the 13 states or territories covered by the Southern IPM Center. Continue reading

UTIA research finds cover crops benefit no-till cotton systems

by Doug Edlund, University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture

It isn’t often that researchers have the luxury to examine data from a long-term research project. While most research projects last from three to five years, scientists with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture recently published a study that covered a 29-year period to find the benefits of cover crops on no-till cotton fields.

After harvesting cotton there is very little residual biomass. Without a crop covering the ground, there is an increased amount of soil exposure that can lead to erosion from winter rains and runoff. Continue reading

IPM is good but gets a bad rap

I love it when another writer does my job for me–defining integrated pest management in the broad scheme of agriculture and analyzing why the general public still has trouble with the concept. In her essay in The New Food Economy, writer Sophia Mendelson discusses what IPM is, suggests that it should be called integrated crop management and muses about why the general public suddenly jumped on the organic bandwagon in 1990.

Read the article.