UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences have been awarded a $2.3 million grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate how certain cover crops and rotations can improve production of organic commodities. The study's goal is to determine whether diverse cover crop mixtures -- as opposed to a single-species cover cropping -- can enhance ecosystem functions in a corn-soybean-wheat cash crop rotation that produces organic feed and forage, according to project leader Jason Kaye, associate professor of soil biogeochemistry.
Organic milk, meat, poultry and eggs represent some of the fastest growing sectors of the organic market. Because agricultural feed ingredients in the diets of certified livestock must be organically produced, growth in the retail organic market has resulted in increasing demand for organic feed grains and forages, creating opportunities for Pennsylvania growers. Typically, there is a price premium for organic feed grains. In the past, prices for organic feed grains have reached 50 to 150% above conventional prices.
Welcome to the Summer 2011 edition of PSU Organic Acres. This newsletter provides updates on the research project, "Weed Management, Environmental Quality and Profitability in Organic Feed and Forage Production Systems," funded by USDA's Risk Assessment and Management Program. In this issue we report observations from our soybean uniformity trial and crop performance in the last year of the rotation experiment. We also share our experiences from several organic crop production field days and network meetings across the state.
On June 25th, the “Weed Management, Environmental Quality, and Profitability in Organic Feed and Forage Production Systems” project organized a field day in partnership with the Pennsylvania Sustainable Agriculture Association (PASA) Farm-Based Education program. Almost 40 people took part in the full day of hands-on activities at the Russell E. Larson Research Center at Rock Springs to learn about how short- and long-term management legacies influence soil, weed, and insect populations.
Science Daily reports on research conducted at Penn State that transitioned convential land to organic while comparing two different cover crops and tillage practices. The article highlights some of the findings in the research.
An introduction to organic agronomic, horticultural, and livestock systems.