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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment » Agroecosystems Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #281370

Title: Organic vegetable research: Twenty years of progress

item DELATE, KATHLEEN - Iowa State University
item Cambardella, Cynthia

Submitted to: American Society of Horticulture Science Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/31/2012
Publication Date: 7/31/2012
Citation: Delate, K., Cambardella, C.A. 2012. Organic vegetable research: Twenty years of progress. American Society of Horticulture Science Meeting. 47(9):S78 HortScience Supp.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: By 2008, land under organic agricultural production in the U.S. had increased to 1.9 million ha, with 66,380 ha in organic vegetable crops. Great advancements in organic vegetable research and production have occurred since the inception of the National Organic Program (NOP) rules in 2002. This presentation will focus on three areas of the country: the Midwest (Iowa and Wisconsin); the South (Florida); and the West coast (California and Washington) where researchers have focused on improved vegetable performance, weed management, and soil quality enhancement. Results associated with different varietal selections, grafting technologies, compost applications, and reduced tillage systems will be presented. Various technologies have been explored to reduce tillage in organic systems, including the use of a no-till roller/crimper to terminate fall-planted cover crops prior to commercial crop planting in the spring. Weed management has ranged from fair to excellent in the organic no-till system, with rye/hairy vetch generally providing the most weed suppression. Crops with a high nitrogen (N) demand, such as sweet corn, may suffer from N immobilization during cover crop decomposition. Irrigated no-till tomato yields have equaled those in tilled plots, but cover crop seed and management costs have led to higher costs of production in tilled systems. Carbon and N pools are enhanced under organic no-till and lysimeter data have shown decreased nitrate leaching under plots with cover crops. Overall, the irrigated organic no-till vegetable systems have demonstrated the most promise for reducing tillage in organic systems, and with soil carbon enhancement in no-till systems, potential green payments could offset any economic losses in no-till systems.