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

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

NIFA announces partners for SARE

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced partners to serve as the National Reporting, Coordination and Communications Office (NRCCO) and as the four regional Host Institutions for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program (SARE). NIFA’s SARE program supports farmer-focused solutions that boost production, increase profitability, promote environmental stewardship, and enhance quality of life in rural communities.

The NRCCO for the SARE program and the four regional SARE host institutions will serve for five years from Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 through 2022. The NRCCO works with NIFA and the national SARE Operations Committee to administer national reporting, coordination, and communications. Each regional host institution collaborates with NIFA to implement regional competitive grant and outreach programs as guided by the Regional Administrative Council (AC). Continue reading

Webinar: Organic Management of spotted wing drosophila

Spotted wing drosophila (SWD) has emerged as a devastating pest of small and stone fruits worldwide. We have organized a webinar to provide you with the most updated information on everything you need to know for organic management of SWD. Continue reading

What gardeners should know about organic insecticides!

by Ayanava Majumdar, Alabama Cooperative Extension Service

Organic insecticides are critical tools to insect control, especially in the hot and humid south where insect pests never seem to rest. Even in the dead of winter, insect pests such as the yellowmargined leaf beetles can be active in the soil on a warm winter day (just look under some turnip plants and other host plants for deep brown larvae that may be in the ground). In most cases, vegetable plants have should be protected early in the season with a variety of integrated pest management tactics. Insecticides are the last resort for pest management in a sustainable system. With latest advances in IPM technologies, there are several types of organic insecticides to choose from, namely, physical desiccants, contact and stomach poisons, and products with volatile action. Below is a brief description of modes of action and usage tips. Continue reading

University of Florida doctoral student wins award for work with spotted wing drosophila

Although it is no longer a new pest, spotted wing drosophila continues to be a bane for small fruit—especially organic—growers. To help both organic and conventional growers fight the pest, a University of Florida doctoral student examined several pest management options and has won a regional award for her research.

Lindsy Iglesias

Lindsy Iglesias, who will graduate from the University of Florida in May with her Ph.D., discovered some novel and more efficient ways to scout and control spotted wing drosophila, or SWD, that will work for both organic and conventional growers. She won a Friends of Southern IPM Graduate Student Award from the Southern IPM Center for her work. Continue reading

NIFA Announces Support for Organic Agriculture Research, Extension, and Education

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced the availability of $17.6 million in grants focused on organic agriculture research, education, and extension activities. These grants are funded through a competitive process by NIFA’s Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“America’s organic industry continues to be one of the fastest growing segments of U.S. agriculture,” said NIFA Director Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy. “NIFA strives to support the development and deployment of science-based best knowledge and practices to organic producers to help them grow their businesses while solving critical organic agriculture issues, priorities, or problems.” Continue reading