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This periodic newsletter highlights the research and extension activities associated with our project. Our multi-disciplinary project was funded by the USDA's Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) and was initiated in the fall of 2014. ROSE includes experiments located at the Russell E. Larson Research Center in Rock Springs, PA as well as on three organic farms.

Cover crop-based, organic rotational no-till (CCORNT) corn and soybean production is becoming a viable strategy for reducing tillage in organic annual grain systems in the mid-Atlantic, United States. This strategy relies on mechanical termination of cover crops with a roller-crimper and no-till planting corn and soybean into cover crop mulches. Here, we report on recent research that focuses on integrated approaches for crop, nutrient and pest management in CCORNT systems that consider system and regional constraints for adoption in the mid-Atlantic. Our research suggests that no-till planting soybean into roller-crimped cereal rye can produce consistent yields. However, constraints to fertility management have produced less consistent no-till corn yields. Our research shows that grass-legume mixtures can improve N-release synchrony with corn demand and also improve weed suppression. Integration of high-residue inter-row cultivation improves weed control consistency and may reduce reliance on optimizing cover crop biomass accumulation for weed suppression. System-specific strategies are needed to address volunteer cover crops in later rotational phases, which result from incomplete cover crop termination with the roller crimper. The paucity of adequate machinery for optimizing establishment of cash crops into thick residue mulch remains a major constraint on CCORNT adoption. Similarly, breeding efforts are needed to improve cover crop germplasm and develop regionally-adapted varieties. Full text in: Agriculture 2017, 7, 34; doi:10.3390/agriculture7040034 For a copy e-mail us at:

C. L. Keene,* W. S. Curran, J. M. Wallace, M. R. Ryan, S. B. Mirsky, M. J. VanGessel, and M. E. Barbercheck

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In this ROSE Review, we provide several short summaries of the 2016 field season.

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Our last ROSE Review from Winter 2013, marked the end of field research (2010-2013) and a period of transition. It has been an eventful two years, so please allow us to catch you up on ROSE activities in this newsletter!

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The recent development of conservation-tillage strategies for organic grain systems is a response to organic producer interest in combining the soil-conserving and labor-saving capacity of no-till practices with the soil health-building capacity of organic practices, which include diversification of crop rotations and incorporation of cover crops. Despite a growing body of academic research and farmer experimentation in North America, conservation-tillage strategies that reduce the reliance on inversion tillage remain in a nascent stage due to their considerable ecological complexity – an inherent feature of organic agriculture.