Crop Production

Showing 21-40 of 92 results

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 […]

Beekeeping

Beekeepers are stewards of an essential resource; the plants that bees pollinate constitute more than 30 percent of the food we eat and the beverages we drink. While the role of alternative pollinators is vital, bees continue to provide an important service to agriculture in our region. From research projects about Colony Collapse Disorder, to educational programs around beekeeping, to innovative hive designs, NCR-SARE has funded a wide variety of grants to help beekeepers.

Managing the Environment in High Tunnels for Cool Season Vegetable Production

Light, temperature, and relative humidity influence how crops grow and develop. With support from SARE, Purdue University Extension developed this publication, which introduces important factors to consider during design, operation, and daily management of high tunnels, and explains plant responses to the environment.

Non-Profit and Producers Partner Up Around Agroforestry

Agroforestry helps farmers diversify products and income. Trees can produce an annual fruit or nut crop or a future timber harvest. Shrubs can be grown instead of, or with, trees and can produce a yearly crop. Forages and other fruit, vegetable, or specialty crops can be harvested for market or grazed by livestock. In addition to these harvests, tree and shrub crops can […]

Wisconsin Non-profit Brings Beekeeping to Youth and Community

Nestled in a modest neighborhood on Madison’s far east side, a small non-profit farm is helping young people connect with nature and food. The Goodman Youth Farm is a program of Community GroundWorks, and uses a half-acre urban vegetable farm as an outdoor classroom, engaging students in activities such as growing and harvesting produce, planning […]

Minnesota Researchers Spill the Beans on Pulses

When the United Nations announced that 2016 would be the “International Year of Pulses,” Craig Sheaffer wasn’t surprised. An agronomist with a bent toward organics, Sheaffer researches perennial native and introduced legumes, grasses, and woody species at the University of Minnesota (U of MN). He was well aware that pulses (also known as grain legumes), such […]

Cover Crop Termination

Farmers use cover crops to slow erosion, improve soil health, enhance water availability, smother weeds, help control pests and diseases, and increase biodiversity on their farms. Although cover crops can be partially grazed or used as forage, they are usually terminated before planting production crops. While row crop producers tend to prefer using herbicides to terminate, most vegetable/horticulture crop producers employ tillage as their primary means of termination. Some organic no-till producers use roller-crimpers to kill the cover crop and leave the mulch on the soil surface to conserve water. NCR-SARE has supported various research projects that have explored the advantages and limits of various cover crop termination strategies.