Research

Nutrient analysis of organic strawberries: effect of cultivars and mycorrhizal inoculations

Objectives 1. Demonstrate the relative nitrogen performance of standard California cultivars grown under organic management. 2. Determine if a commercial arbuscular mycorrhizae (AM) inoculant could provide mineral nutritional benefit, especially on phosphorus, to the cultivars being tested in the first objective. 3. Provide information that will aid organic strawberry producers in fertility management.

Statistical review of California's organic agriculture

The size and growth of organic farming has stimulated considerable discussion and speculation. Farmers, agribusinesses, policy-makers, public interest groups, educators, researchers and investors-all need reliable information on organic agriculture to make informed decisions about business strategies, teaching and research agendas, and institutional policies. Statistical analyses of organic farming contribute crucial information for these decisions.

Plant mobilization of trace organochlorine residues in vegetable cropping systems

Soil testing has long been a part of Organic Certification. As part of the certification process, each grower must submit soil tests for lab analysis. The soil is subjected to chromatography tests to determine the extent of contamination by organochlorine insecticides. These compounds classify a wide range of noxious agricultural pesticides, many with half lives exceeding twenty years. Unfortunately for conventional and organic growers, even at hardly detectable levels these contaminants are finding their way into agricultural products.

On-farm analysis of soils, crop performance and profitability of organic, integrated and conventional apple production systems

In April 1994, a high density commercial orchard of `Golden Delicious' apples on EMLA.9 rootstocks was planted on four acres of a 35-acre apple farm in the Yakima Valley of Washington State. The farm is managed by two brothers, Andy and Eric Dolph, who decided with our help to set aside a portion of their farm and examine the sustainability of three different apple production systems: organic, integrated (i.e., low-input), and conventional.

Organic apple production in Washington State: A 1994 survey of growers

Organic apple production in Washington State has been steadily increasing since 1991. Acreage took a dramatic jump in 1980 in response to the Alar crisis, but most of those farms only remained in organic production for one season. This was largely due to the difficulty of controlling codling moth (Cydia pomenella), the primary direct pest in the region, and also in response to the collapse of market prices for organic fruit due to the huge increase in supply.

Enhancing biological control in mating disruption and organic pear orchards by understory management

Habitat management to enhance biological control in cultivated crops is an increasingly common method of pest control in both annual and perennial cropping systems. Examples of this approach include use of windbreaks or hedge rows to prompt build-up of natural enemies around crop edges, planting of insectary seed mixes as cover crops in perennial crops, or management of natural ground cover (e.g., via mowing frequency, strip mowing, or selective herbicide use) to enhance build-up of natural enemies.

Evaluation of the Efficacy of Predatory Mites in Controlling Pests of Cultivated Mushrooms in Organic Mushroom Houses

The following species are the most common predatory mites in Polish mushroom houses, in which Agaricus bisporus is cultivated: Arctoseius semiscissus, A. cetratus, Dendrolaelaps fallax (Kropczyfiska-Linkiewicz 1984), and Parasitus sp. (Lewandowski, unpubl.). Species composition of mite predators of mushroom houses with oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) is not known yet. Predatory mites are obviously of the most interest in mushroom pest control in the organic mushroom houses.

Bat Houses for Integrated Pest Management-- Benefits for Bats and Organic Farmers: Phase I

Bats are helpful to farmers, as they consume large quantities of insect pests, but many bat species are declining due to loss of roost sites. Farmers can help bats by providing new roosts in the form of bat houses while at the same time benefiting from batsí pest reduction services. However, as much of the evidence for batsí roles in insect biocontrol is anecdotal, further studies are needed to better document batsí contributions to agriculture.

Conserving and restoring pollination services in organic farms of Yolo and Solano Counties, Northern California

Native bee pollinators link natural habitats with agricultural areas. Native bee populations may rely on natural habitats to provide forage and nesting resources during part of the year, and agricultural areas the rest of the year. Native bee pollinators may provide pollination services in both areas, and may in turn depend on both. Thus problems in one area could affect the other.

Alternative Methods of Raspberry Production and Root Rot Control

Root rot (Phytopthora fragriae var. rubi) is of primary concern to all raspberry growers in Washington, and is of particular concern to organic growers who have fewer options for disease control. This trial is focused on organic root rot control, however all raspberry growers will benefit from new disease management strategies.

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