Crop Production

Spring-Grazing Cover Crops with Nebraska’s Knuth Farms

When a fourth-generation farm in Mead, Nebraska began to diversify their primarily cash crop operation in 2012, they gave some thought to cover crops and livestock. Knuth Farms didn’t want to buy cattle or become beef producers, but they did want to diversify their income stream, capture some of the soil benefits of cover crops, […]

Traditional Fertilizer, Modern Applications for Iroquois White Corn

Farmers have long relied on liquid fish fertilizers because they are a source burn-free nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Traditional Native American growers were well aware of the benefits that decaying fish could bring to their soil; they buried fish under mounded soil and planted the 3 Sisters (corn, beans, and squash) directly on top of […]

Building Resilience and Flexibility into Midwest Organic Potato Production

When Maria Carter’s parents emigrated to America from the Netherlands in 1956, they brought along a knowledge of growing seed potatoes. Shortly after they put down roots in North Dakota, they put down tubers to start their new seed potato farm. They knew potato growers needed healthy seed potatoes, and they knew how to grow […]

Incorporating Cover Crops in North Dakota

In a short growing season like North Dakota's, effectively using cover crops can seem like a challenge. Establishing a specific on-farm goal is key to utilizing cover crops successfully. Getting familiar with and then fine-tuning approaches is important to achieve desired outcomes. In this publication, NDSU soil health researchers, Abbey Wick, Caley Gasch, and Marisol Berti provide a starting point.

Iowa Farmers Seek Sustainability with Cover Crops and No-Till

In 2002, a $6,500 SARE grant funded an idea for a new tool at the Rodale Institute in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. The tool was a roller-crimper, a steel drum with blades that was mounted to a tractor and used to roll down cover crops. The idea was that the mat of dead cover crops would act as mulch, which researchers hoped no-till farmers […]

Overwintering Bees for Increased Apiary Sustainability

Our $20-billion-a-year crop industry relies on insect pollination, but diseases, pests, and colony collapse disorder are knocking out 30 percent of beekeepers’ colonies every growing season. There are as many as 125,000 beekeepers in the country. And while 2.77 million honey-producing colonies generated 161.8 million pounds of raw honey in 2016, the annual value of […]

Maximizing Pollinator Protection and Natural Pest Suppression in Minnesota Fruit and Vegetable Crops

Eric Middleton knows that beneficial insects can provide ecosystem services to agriculture, ranging from pollination to pest suppression. As a graduate student at the University of Minnesota, Middleton received a $12,000 NCR-SARE Graduate Student grant to compare how floral plantings in the margins of conventionally managed potato fields affect pollinator and predator abundance and richness, as […]

Building Community and Growing Food with the Next Generation

Greeting parishioners alongside a church parking lot, a four-acre parcel with the accessibility of an urban farm and the mission of a non-profit has been quietly producing and providing food to community members. Sola Gratia Farm is a community-based farm in Urbana, Illinois that is dedicated to producing locally grown, high-quality, natural produce. The community […]

Cover Crop-based Reduced Tillage for Fall Production of Cabbage,Cauliflower and Broccoli Using a Roller-Crimper and No-Till Planting Aid

Cover crops can reduce erosion, improve soil health, slow weeds, enhance nutrient and moisture availability, control pests, and offer other benefits to vegetable producers. After vegetable grower, Thomas Ruggieri, planted cover crops on his farm in rural Clay County, Missouri in 2004, he noticed dramatic improvement in soil fertility and plant health. Ruggieri and Rebecca […]

Economics of Grazing and Haying Cover Crops in North Central Kansas

Grown on an estimated 10 million acres across the country, cover crops are becoming an indispensable part of crop rotations. To maintain this momentum, the development of reliable information at the local level—how to craft a diversified rotation that pays—needs to keep pace with growth in farmers’ interest. That is what motivated Josh Roe to […]

Development of Cost and Labor Effective Produce Sanitation Methods for Small Farms

With programs like Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), Good Handling Practices (GHP), and the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), producers have a more proactive role in minimizing food safety hazards potentially associated with fresh produce. Cucumber producer Carloyn Orr says increasingly, local grocery stores are requiring wash and sanitizing of produce, regardless of farm size.  Orr […]