Posts Tagged: organic
The livestream will include workshops on soil health, long-term and strategic research and innovative educational systems.
The research program is held the first day of the internationally acclaimed EcoFarm Conference at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove.
Funding to live broadcast the research symposium was provided by USDA NIFA. In addition to UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, the symposium webcast is hosted by the Organic Farming Research Foundation.
Viewing the webcast is free, but requires advance registration. To register click here. Remote attendees will see the presentations and listen to a live broadcast of the speakers. Because the webcast is from a live conference, exact start and end times cannot to guaranteed and the program is subject to change.
Agenda (All times are Pacific Time)
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Opening Keynote and Thematic Presentations
- André Leu, IFOAM / Organics International President. The Vital Role of Research to Advance Organic Agriculture Worldwide.
- Mathieu Ngouajio, USDA/NIFA National Program Leader in Cropping Systems. USDA- NIFA support for Organic Agriculture Research, Education and Extension.
10:30 a.m. – 12 noon
- Anthony Yannarell, University of Illinois. Management affects the weed suppression potential of soil microorganisms and green manures
- James Stapleton, UC ANR Integrated Pest Management advisor. Advances in Biosolarization Technology to Improve Soil Health and Organic Control of Soilborne Pests
- Doug O'Brien, Doug O'Brien Agricultural Consulting. Trends in soilborne disease on two long-term organic vegetable farms in the west.
- Moderator: Heather Darby, University of Vermont
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Long-term and Strategic Research
- Amélie Gaudin, UC Davis, Long-term research in organic system at Russell Ranch: Results and opportunities to build sustainable and resilient systems
- Randy Jackson, University of Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Integrated Cropping Systems Trial: 26 years of research in agricultural sustainability
- Diana Jerkins, Organic Farming Research Foundation. Assessment of Future Organic Research Needs
- Moderator: Mark Lipson, UC Santa Cruz
2:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Innovative Educational Systems
- Damien Parr, UC Santa Cruz. Integrating undergraduate interns in organic farming research and beginner farmer programming at the University of California, Santa Cruz
- John Hendrickson, University of Wisconsin. Coordinating a Three-Ring Circus with Lions and Cubs: Beginning Grower Training Programs at the University of Wisconsin
- Raul Villanueva, Texas A&M. Linking Organic Farmers and Students On Organic Production through Small Projects in South Texas
- Moderator: Mark Van Horn, UC Davis
Please connect to the webinar 10 minutes in advance, as the webinar program will require you to download software. To test your connection in advance, go here. You can either listen via your computer speakers or call in by phone (toll call). Java needs to be installed and working on your computer to join the webinar. If you are running Mac OSU with Safari, please test your Java at http://java.com/en/download/testjava.jsp prior to joining the webinar, and if it isn't working, try Firefox or Chrome. Find more detailed system requirements here.
Among the conditions necessary for a cow to produce organic milk, she must eat only organic feed or browse on organic pasture for at least the previous 36 months. However, dairy producers have found that producing or sourcing organic feed – which must be grown with no synthetic fertilizers, insecticides or herbicides – is challenging. Recently organic alfalfa made up nearly 1.4 percent of U.S. alfalfa hay production, up from .5 percent in the early 2000s.
Dan Putnam, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, an alfalfa expert, said one key obstacle for organic alfalfa producers is weed management. Putnam put together a team of alfalfa hay experts to conduct an alfalfa weed management trial at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, where 10 acres are set aside to research organic production.
In 2011, Putnam; Carol Frate, UCCE advisor in Tulare County; and Shannon Mueller, UCCE advisor in Fresno County, experimented with timing seeding and early clipping to manage organic alfalfa in a weedy field.
“Alfalfa can be planted from early September all the way through the fall and winter to early spring, depending on weather patterns,” Putnam said. “Many farmers plant in late November and wait for rain to bring the crop up. Other options are irrigating the crop up in early fall or waiting till early or late spring to plant the crop. All of these strategies have implications for weed management.”
The late November planting is quite common since, compared to a September planting, it saves farmers the trouble of putting out sprinklers. However, late fall plantings failed in this experiment.
“We had a lot of weed intrusion at that point as well as cold conditions for alfalfa growth, so the stands were poor,” Putnam said.
The earlier planting also had weed intrusion, but the researchers clipped the field when the alfalfa was 10 to 12 inches high in early spring. The clipping cut back weeds that were overtopping the alfalfa, giving an advantage to the vigorous young alfalfa seedlings.
An early spring planting after tillage to destroy weeds also resulted in a good stand, but some production was lost in the first year compared with early fall plantings.
“Many growers are starting to realize that early fall (September/October) is a better time to start their alfalfa crops,” Putnam said. “With organic growers, it is even more important to pay attention to time of seeding because they have so few weed control options.”
While this research is conducted on organic alfalfa, Putnam said the results are also applicable to conventional alfalfa production, which represents more than 98 percent of California's total alfalfa crop.
“Timing has a profound effect on the first-year yield and health of the crop and its ability to compete with weeds,” he said.
Putnam, Mueller and Frate will share more information about the organic alfalfa trial during a field day at Kearney, 9240 S. Riverband Ave., Parlier, from 8 a.m. to 12 noon Sept. 5. The field day will feature the organic production trials, alfalfa variety trials, sorghum silage and nitrogen trials, and optimizing small grain yields. Other topics will be alfalfa pest management, irrigation and stand establishment.