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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory » Research » Research Project #430591

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

Location: Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-21660-004-40-A
Project Type: Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Apr 1, 2016
End Date: Aug 31, 2019

Objective:
1. Improve cover crop legume performance through germplasm screening and breeding. 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; 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 selecing legume cover crops at sites across the U.S. We will partner with the NRCS Plant Material Centers to provide regionally adapted varieties.