Start Date: Jun 01, 2012
End Date: May 30, 2014
The potential for integrating sunflower into a traditional corn–wheat–soybean rotation of organic grain production will be evaluated. More complex rotations with a greater diversity of crops results in more complex management decisions. Nutrient inputs as well as weed and pest management become more critical. We will evaluate this complexity through team research on system processes. We will evaluate insect dynamics looking at relationships between beneficial and pest insects in relationship to insect habitat. Crop productivity and quality will be assessed along with water and nutrient use efficiency. Tillage impacts on weed and soil dynamics will also be evaluated. Crop and whole farm enterprise budgets will be developed to assess the economic vigor of the production systems. An advisory team of producers, extension agents, and researchers will guide the research, provide oversight, and assist with outreach. Technology transfer will be conducted by the researchers cooperatively with University of Georgia teaching and extension faculty. We will reach students through interaction with the University of Georgia Organic Certificate Program by engaging students in the research through classroom and field activities. We will help train extension agents through interaction with the University of Georgia–Fort Valley State University Extension Organic Production Team. Project researchers and researchers from North Carolina State University will demonstrate various production practices and present research results at two workshops. To reach organic producers an extension bulletin on incorporating sunflowers into organic grains will be developed, and research results will be presented at grower meetings. To reach the scientific community, results will be presented at scientific meetings and documented in scientific publications.