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Weed Management, Environmental Quality, and Profitability In Organic Feed and Forage Production Systems

The overall goal of this integrated project is to create sustainable cropping systems to produce high value organic livestock feed and forages. Balancing weed suppression, beneficial arthropod conservation, environmental quality and profitability is central to this project. We are testing the hypothesis that adverse impacts associated with tillage for weed management can be mitigated by alternating or "rotating" soil depleting activities with soil building activities to result in acceptable crop productivity, weed population dynamics, and biological, environmental and economic indicators at various temporal scales.

Weed management is one of the primary pest management challenges for organic producers. The overall goal of this research and extension project is to create sustainable cropping systems to produce high value organic livestock feed and forages.

Balancing weed suppression, beneficial arthropod conservation, environmental quality, and profitability is central to this project.

We are comparing four cropping systems to determine if impacts associated with tillage for weed management can be mitigated by alternating or “rotating” tillage with soil building activities to result in acceptable crop productivity, weed population dynamics, and biological, environmental and economic indicators.

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A diagram of the four cropping systems being evaluated in the Weed Management, Environmental Quality, and Profitability in Organic Feed and Forage Production Systems experiment at the Russell E. Larson Research Center.