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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ORGANIC AND REDUCED INPUT FRESH MARKET SPECIALTY CROP PRODUCTION SYSTEMS FOR THE SOUTHERN GREAT PLAINS
2011 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Field trials with vegetable and non-vegetable crops will identify profitable crop combinations. Over the next 4 years the focus will be on the following objectives and sub-objectives: Objective 1: Develop management practices and production systems for South Central region farms to help small- and medium-sized producers diversify farm income and increase profitability. Sub-objective 1.A. Develop integrated production systems for vegetable and non-vegetable crops. Sub-objective 1.B. Determine effects of components in rotations on input costs, productivity, and whole-system profitability. Objective 2: Develop weed suppressive practices applicable to organic and reduced input specialty vegetable crop production systems.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
All projects will be conducted on a Bernow fine-loamy, siliceous, themic, Glossic Paleudaulf soil in Lane, OK, at the South Central Agricultural Research Laboratory. The research will address efficacy of rotations including economic realities of production, effects of fertilizer management within rotations, effects of weed control within rotations, and specific questions concerning applicability of organic herbicides, and use of biofumigation as it affects establishment of crops. Concerns from stakeholders regarding weed control in particular vegetable crops will also be addressed. The research projects and expected end products will provide specific cost comparisons and decision making tools for production systems.


3.Progress Report
This report documents progress for a new project entitled "Organic and Reduced Input Fresh Market Specialty Crop Production Systems for the Southern Plains", which started Oct. 2010, redirected from project 6222 21220 003 00D. Development of production systems to improve yield of vegetables in the Southern Plains and on control of weeds in vegetable and non-vegetable crop experiments have been initiated in the 2011 growing season. Data are being collected, compiled, and entered into databases. Publications listed are a result of the previous project.


4.Accomplishments
1. It may not be necessary to apply manure annually for some organically grown vegetables. Use of acceptable fertilizer is a necessary input for organic vegetable production. One type of fertilizer is manure, which does not surrender all of its nutrition in a single season. As a result it may not be necessary to apply manure each year, thereby reducing input costs. Over a four-year study, ARS scientists at Lane, OK, found that chicken litter applied annually to bell pepper and sweet corn was necessary to maintain yield, but biennial application of chicken litter was not necessary to maintain cucumber yields. Manure applied to some crops on a biennial basis could reduce input costs for organic cucumber producers.

2. Weed control with organic herbicides requires greater attention to application methods. Use of organic, or potentially organic, herbicides may provide benefits to producers, but a more complete knowledge of their ability to control weeds is required. It will be necessary to pay greater attention to the weed species present and their maturity level. At Lane, OK, researchers studied an herbicide for potential use in organic vegetable production. The degree of control by the organic material was based on the ability to affect enough leaves of the target plant to kill it directly, or to prevent plants from recovering and replacing plant tissues. The damage to broadleaf weeds was typically greater than damage to grasses due to the growing points in broadleaf plants being more exposed. Perennial weeds, or weed plants with substantial non-damaged storage tissue, such as nutsedge, may require repeat applications of herbicides to obtain control. Repeat applications of the organic qualified materials show promise for producers in controlling most grasses or smaller perennial weeds.


Review Publications
Russo, V.M., Taylor, M.J. 2010. Frequency of manure application in organic versus annual application of synthetic fertilizer in conventional vegetable production. HortScience. 45(11):1673-1680.

Bushnell, W.R., Perkins Veazie, P.M., Russo, V.M., Collins, J.K., Seeland, T.M. 2010. Effects of Deoxynivalenol on Content of Chloroplast Pigments in Barley Leaf Tissues. Biochemistry and Cell Biology. 100(1):33-41.

Russo, V.M., Bruton, B.D., Sams, C.E. 2010. Classification of temperature response in germination of Brassicas. Industrial Crops and Products. 31:48-51.

Ogbomo, S.M., Chapman, K.D., Webber III, C.L., Bledsoe, R.E., D'Souza, N.A. 2009. Benefits of low kenaf loading in biobased composites of Poly (L-Lactide) and kenaf fiber. Journal of Applied Polymer Science. 112:1294-1301.

Webber III, C.L., Shrefler, J.W., Taylor, M.J. 2010. Influence of corn gluten meal on squash plant survival and yields. HortTechnology. 20(4):696-699.

Last Modified: 4/17/2014
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