Cover Crops and Biodegradable Mulches for Weed Control
AUBURN, Alabama – High biomass cover crops are effective in controlling weeds in vegetable production, while contributing to higher produce yields, Auburn University researchers have found. In addition, pre-emergence herbicide applications can be eliminated from weed management programs in the presence of heavy residues from cover crop mixtures. Through a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and […]
Researchers Recommend New Strategies to Suppress Southern Potato Blight
PAINTER, Virginia – Earlier planting dates coupled with disease-tolerant cultivars of potatoes are recommended strategies to suppress southern potato blight, according to Virginia Tech researchers. The fungal disease, caused by the soil born pathogen Sclerotium rolfsii, affects the stems of the plants and produces lesions on the tubers, impacting quality and yields. In a Southern […]
Agroforestry an Alternative for Farmers Transitioning Away from Tobacco Production
BEREA, Kentucky – A Kentucky farmer, exploring alternatives for tobacco production, has found that elements of an agroforestry system may prove viable to increasing farm profitability and providing environmental benefits. Through a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) Producer Grant, Matthew Wilson of Rindlewood Farm studied the feasibility of incorporating sweet sorghum and pasture […]
Exploring Alternative Methods for Controlling A Major Pest in Sweet Sorghum
LEXINGTON, Kentucky – University of Kentucky researchers are exploring alternative methods for controlling sugarcane aphid in sweet sorghum, a major crop for farmers in the state. Through a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) On-Farm Research Grant, entomologist Nathan Mercer and his colleagues are studying a combination of parasitoids and insecticidal soaps as a […]
Low-external-input Sustainable Agriculture Provides Environmental Benefits and Economic Gains in Rice Production
STARKVILLE, Mississippi – Rice, for all of its importance as a global food staple, can have a number of environmental tradeoffs. Intensively managed, the crop can put a strain on natural resources, particularly soil and water. But a more sustainable production system may enhance environmental quality at an economic gain for the farmer, based on […]
The Performance of Cover Crops in Minimally Tilled Forage-based Grazing Systems
In a Southern SARE-funded Graduate Student Grant (GS15-152), “Evaluation of Winter Annual Cover Crops Under Multiple Residue Management: Impacts on land management, soil water depletion, and cash crop productivity,” Texas Tech University researchers investigated five cover crops species as potential complements to a warm-season beef-stocker grazing system. The impact of the project was two-fold: Stabilize the soil surface from excessive wind erosion and desiccation; and strengthen rural communities by ensuring the persistence of profitable agriculture in the region.
Using Multispectral Imaging Technologies to Maximize Yields in Sugarcane
HOUMA, Louisiana – When it comes to profitable sugarcane, the goal of every grower is to achieve the highest possible sucrose yield at the lowest production cost possible. Sugarcane yields correlate with nitrogen application, and as producers continue to get squeezed between decreasing acreage and higher input costs, such as fertilization, they are looking for […]
In Drought-stricken Texas, Researchers are Finding Water Conservation Solutions in Cover Crops
LUBBOCK, Texas – In the Texas High Plains, a region where the water-depleting Ogallala Aquifer endangers productive agriculture, and hot, arid winds erode soils and rob them of nutrients, cover crops offer a useful option to livestock producers. In a two-year graduate student study at Texas Tech University, funded through the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research […]
Cover Crops Have Benefits in High Tunnels
GLENWOOD, Georgia – 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 […]
NCSU Explores Regionally Adapted Legumes as Forage and Cover Crops
RALEIGH, North Carolina – North Carolina State University researchers are working to expand the portfolio of crops farmers can use in grain, forage and cover crop production. Through a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) Graduate Student grant, student Rachel Atwell Vann and organic cropping specialist Chris Reberg-Horton field tested 19 winter pea (Pisum […]
Get the Most Out of Forage Systems for Goats with Sunn Hemp
TUSKEGEE, Alabama – Small ruminant producers in the Southeast can potentially graze their goats year-round on a forage-based production system by incorporating a summer legume, such as sunn hemp, into the traditional bermudagrass pasture. Tuskegee University animal scientist Byeng-ryel Min found that a summer sunn hemp/bermudagrass forage mixture, or sunn hemp alone, followed by winter […]
Cover Crops Acting as Trap Crops Protect Vegetables from Pests
LIVE OAK, Florida – For farmers in central Florida, planting cover crops in strips as a trap crop alongside cash crops is proving to be a highly effective method for attracting beneficial insects and controlling pests. Farmers have been so pleased with the results that they have fully adopted the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy […]
Cover Crops Reduce Pest Numbers and Improve Cash Crop Yields
GAINESVILLE, Florida – Preliminary research from University of Florida has found that incorporating root-knot nematode-resistant cover crops in a perennial peanut rotation reduces pest numbers in the cash crop and improves yields. The results may be helpful for producers who choose top-yielding, yet susceptible, peanut cultivars, as well as resistant cultivars that historically carry a […]
Perennial Peanuts Shine as N Fertilizer Alternatives in Forage Production
MARIANNA, Florida – Perennial peanuts incorporated in forage grass production, such as bermudagrass and bahiagrass, continue to shine as nitrogen fertilizer alternatives to commercial inputs, according to University of Florida research. Based on the results of a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) Graduate Student Grant, warm-season perennial legumes, in some cases, reduced nitrogen […]
Breeding Organic Corn Varieties to Resist GMO Contamination
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee – Breeders with the University of Tennessee are developing organic corn varieties that cannot be contaminated by GMO corn (genetically modified organisms) via cross-pollination. A corn ear from a Ga1s line pollinated with pollen from a GMO corn hybrid (upper ear with no seeds) and the same line pollinated with pollen from a […]
Cover Crops for Weed Management in Row Crops
The use of cover crops for weed control can help conventional producers combat herbicide-resistant weeds and organic producers reduce dependency on cultivation as their primary weed control mechanism.
Integrating Perennial Peanut into Grass Pastures
GAINESVILLE, Florida — Rhizoma peanut (commonly known as perennial peanut) is a warm-season perennial legume well adapted to Florida. It has high digestibility (65-75%) and crude protein concentrations (15-20%), that can really boost livestock performance. Integrating rhizoma peanut into bahiagrass pastures can almost double livestock performance, compared to bahiagrass alone (Figure 1). Rhizoma peanut also […]
Diversifying in the Texas High Plains: Examples of agroecosystems models
The following system configurations are examples of the diversified crop/livestock production practices that have been studied across the Texas High Plains since 1997. These systems have been tested against cotton monoculture –a subsurface drip-irrigated system farmed with conventional cultural practices recommended for the High Plains region.
Agroecosystems Economics in the Texas High Plains: A 10-year analysis, 1999-2008
Based on 10 years of Texas Tech University research, integrated cotton-forage-beef cattle systems are just as profitable as cotton monoculture systems. But there’s more. Integrated crop-livestock systems use less irrigation water, are more energy efficient, preserve soils by reducing wind erosion, and have a lower economic risk related to specific-loss events, such as a drought.
Soil Quality of Integrated Crop/Livestock Systems: Enhancing soil carbon sequestration and microbial diversity
In the Southern SARE-funded study (LS10-229), “Integrated Crop and Livestock Systems for Enhanced Soil Carbon Sequestration and Microbial Diversity in the Semi-arid Texas High Plains,” Texas Tech University researchers evaluated integrated crop/livestock systems for long-term soil quality by assessing microbial activity and soil carbon storage.