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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory » Research » Research Project #430590

Research Project: Creating the Cover Crops that Organic Farmers Need: Delivering Regionally Adapted Varieties across America

Location: Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-21660-005-39-A
Project Type: Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Apr 1, 2016
End Date: Aug 30, 2019

Objective:
1. Improve cover crop legume performance through germplasm screening and selection. a. Create a legume cover crop germplasm screening program that evaluates hairy vetch, crimson clover, red clover, and Austrian winter pea for select agronomic traits of interest across a latitudinal gradient. b. Build a network of farmers who will aid in variety selection through participatory germplasm screening and breeding. c. Identify select cover crop accessions for seed increases and future improvement. d. Contract buying groups or germplasm curators to conduct cover crop seed growouts. 2. Disseminate knowledge gained from on-farm and on-station cover crop germplasm screenings and management experiments and engage farmers and agricultural professionals through on-farm field days, regional workshops, webinars, and the eOrganic website. 3. Establish the Eastern Cover Crop Council (ECC).

Approach:
Project will involve screening and selecting legume cover crops at sites across the US. We will partner with the NRCS Plant Material Centers to provide regionally adapted varieties.