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Organic Farming

Organic Farming Research

The following is a sampling of research projects relevant to non-dairy livestock producers. Click on a title below to navigate to the specific project.
ENHANCING ORGANIC AGRICULTURE RESEARCH AND EXTENSION | LEARNING FROM FARMER INNOVATION IN NITROGEN FIXATION  | CORNELL ORGANIC CROPPING SYSTEMS PROJECT | Extension Resources

ENHANCING ORGANIC AGRICULTURE RESEARCH AND EXTENSION IN THE NORTHEASTERN US

The objective of the project is to understand the consequences of fertilization with compost for weed management.  Researchers observed that compost applications frequently increase the growth of weeds more than they do the growth of the crop, and that long term application of compost can increase weed problems even after application is reduced or stopped.  Preliminary results indicate that manure may pose similar problems.  Organic vegetable farms typically use compost as their primary nutrient source, and many apply it at high rates annually.  Dairy farms generally use manure as a major nutrient source  in their crop rotations.  If a build-up of phosphorus from compost or manure is a reason for  increased weed growth, farmers could potentially reduce the problem by using more N-fixing legume cover crops as a fertility source. 

Top Impact from Work Thus Far: Several growers have adopted more conservative nutrient management plans as a way to avoid increasing their weed problems.

Duration: Ongoing 

Project Leader(s): Charles Mohler, 607-255-0199, clm11@cornell.edu; Antonio DiTommaso, 607-254-4702, ad97@cornell.edu

 

Project Partners: Klaas Martens, Kreher’s Poultry Farms

 

Potential Benefits for Small Farms: Better nutrient and weed management strategies

 

Funding Source(s): MultiState Hatch

LEARNING FROM FARMER INNOVATION IN NITROGEN FIXATION FOR IMPROVED NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT ON ORGANIC FARMS

The crux of this project was to combine on-farm research with outreach activities in order to measure nitrogen fixation in working vegetable farms and promote farmer-farmer and farmer-researcher knowledge exchange. Detailed measurements of soil properties, cover crop biomass and biological nitrogen fixation rates were conducted in 27 fields located on 11 farms. Researchers observed that nitrogen fixation rates are generally greater in hairy vetch cover crops compared to peas and that overall nitrogen fixation is highly variable across farms and fields. Nearly all farmer collaborators sought advice on management options related to legume cover crops and all of them modified their cover crop management practices in some way during the three years of this project. This project provided information on legume management to nearly 30,000 stakeholders through Q and A columns published in newsletters and other publications targeting farmers in the Northeast. Lastly, researchers produced a new legume management resource which was published in The Natural Farmer (readership of 5500) and will also be made available online.

Duration: 2007-2011 

Project Leader(s): Laurie Drinkwater, 607-255-9408, led24@cornell.edu

 

Project Partners: See sare.org for complete list

 

Potential Benefits for Small Farms: Increased organic crop production throughout the Northeast

 

Funding Source(s): SARE, grant # LNE07-252

 

For more information: http://mysare.sare.org/mySARE/ProjectReport.aspx?do=viewProj&pn=LNE07-252

CORNELL ORGANIC CROPPING SYSTEMS PROJECT

This project is a collaborative effort between scientists and organic farmers. The intent is to find methods for further improving organic cropping systems. By comparing cropping systems that use different approaches to building soil quality, the project will reveal effects of compost, cover crops and tillage practices on soil physical and biological quality. It will also reveal interactions between soil quality and weed, insect, and disease management. Researchers also expect to identify practices that assist in transition from conventional to organic management.The approach of the project is to compare well managed organic vegetable and grain farms on experiment station fields to variations that represent more typical organic practices that may be more easily adopted by growers.

 

Top Impact from Work: Published economic results for small vegetable farms—

http://www.hort.cornell.edu/economic_performance.pdf

Published cover crops info for vegetable farms—

http://www.hort.cornell.edu/extension/organic.pdf

Duration: 2007-2011 

Project Leader(s): Laurie Drinkwater, 607-255-9408, led24@cornell.edu

 

Project Partners: Charles Mohler, Brian Caldwell, Janice Degni, Abby Seaman, Robert Hadad, Keith Waldron, Matt Ryan, Quirine Ketterings, Harold Van Es, Chaw Chang, Anton Burkett, Eric and Anne Nordell, Lou Johns, Lou Lego, Tony Potenza, John Myer, Klaas Martens, Erick Smith, Thor Oechsner, Betsy Leonard

 

Potential Benefits for Small Farms: Our vegetable experiment results are easily applied to small farms, and our economic analysis has been targeted toward small and very small (1-5 acres) farms.

 

Funding Source(s): USDA OREI

 

For more information: http://www.hort.cornell.edu/organic/ocs

Organic Farming Extension Resources

Organic Production and Research at Cornell
There are numerous efforts at Cornell focused on organic production systems. For a list of current research efforts, visit the Cornell Organic Production and Marketing Working Group Website at www.organic.cornell.edu/ . Research reports are organized by topic, including vegetables, fruits, field crops, dairy, cover crops and rotations. For more information or for a print copy of the Summary, contact Anu Rangarajan, Department of Horticulture, 607-255-1780, ar47@cornell.edu

Dilmun Hill Student Farm
Dilmun Hill is a campus, student-run organic farm. Its mission is to provide experiential learning opportunities and educational facilities for Cornell students, faculty, staff and the local community in the exploration of sustainable food and agricultural systems. Contact Betsy Leonard for more information, bai1@cornell.edu or 607-423-8366

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Comments

3 thoughts on “Organic Farming

  1. babycha says:

    Warm greeting from Babycha.

    Thank you so much for the activities. I myself is crazy of eating organic food and practicing of organic farming. I do grow different vegetables in my own field. I work with farmer’s, encouraging to turn chemical farming to organic farming. I am so much impressed of reading the documents. I do want to continue my work to promote organic vegetable and other capacity building training program on Human Rights violation in North East India.

    Thanking for doing organic farming.

    In regards,

    Babycha Mangsatabam

    Manipur, Imphal

  2. babycha says:

    Thank you so much.

  3. Linwood says:

    Here I find good thoughts on organic farming to beat the california drought. Even a video on a Japanese man who uses mulch to save on water. http://smalltimefarmingbigtimegardening.com/pitch-forks/once-upon-a-time-california-had-a-drought-and-then-god-created-mulch/

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