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NMPAN Webinars

 

Next NMPAN Webinars:

Save the Dates! More information forthcoming

Value-Added Meat Processing Series: How to produce delicious & safe consumer-friendly meat products

Co-sponsored by the American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP) and the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)

A brown-bag lunch webinar series. Each webinar will be just 45 minutes long. Take your lunch (or breakfast) break and join us. 9am PST/12pm EST

(9/5/19) Week 1: Basics of Curing: Bacons & Hams, speakers TBA
(9/12/19) Week 2: Jerkys with Jon Frohling of Frohling Meats and Dr. Jonathan Campbell of Penn State
(9/19/19) Week 3: Meat Bars, Snack Sticks, & RTE meats with Jon Frohling of Frohling meats and Dr. Jonathan Campbell of Penn State
(9/26/19) Week 4: Dry Cured Meats: Salami, Proscuitto, & Others, speakers TBA

Each week listen to one expert processor and one food safety professional discuss equipment, process, quality, and safety considerations for each of these value-added meat products. More details forthcoming.

To register, please fill out this short form at least 10 minutes before any given webinar starts. You do not have to register for each webinar separately, just once for the whole series, whether or not you attend them all. Webinar hosting via Zoom. The entire webinar series will be recorded and uploaded to the NMPAN YouTube Channel should you not be able to attend live.

All NMPAN webinars are open to the public and free of charge.

NMPAN webinars are recorded and archived below, by topic.
A few selected webinars from other groups are also listed.

Click on a webinar's title for the slides, speaker info, and recording.

Topic Areas (click to jump to a topic):

 

Local Meat and Poultry Processing: the Big Picture Looking Back to Look Forward: Reflections on 10 years in the Niche Meat Processing Sector Date: February 20, 2018 Duration: 76 minutes

What has happened in the world of niche meats and processing over the last decade? What does the future look like? How has NMPAN impacted businesses in the niche meat sector? Leaders in the world of niche meats shared their thoughts in this unique panel discussion.

Panelists included:

Local Meat Processing: Successes and Innovations Date: April 19, 2013 Duration: 90 minutes Host: National Good Food Network

Local meat and poultry can’t get to market without a processor, but processors are pulled in many directions: Farmers would like more processing options, but the kind of processing needed depends on the market, the regulations are complex, and even with premium-priced meats, the profit margins are slim.

So how can local meat processing survive ... and even thrive? On this webinar, Lauren Gwin and Arion Thiboumery, co-founders of the Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network, share the results of their research on this topic, featuring innovations and lessons learned from successful processors around the country.  We also heard from several regional support efforts -- in Vermont, New York, and North Carolina -- to improve access to local processing.

 

To Build or Not to Build: Lessons Learned from New Processing Ventures Date: September 28, 2011 Duration: 1 hour Finding a processor that does what you need, when you need it, can be challenging. Building a new facility to meet that need might seem like a good idea. Sometimes it is, but often it isn't. On this webinar, we'll discuss what works -- and what doesn't work -- when building new processing facilities. Our speakers share lessons learned, with real examples from the field.   Building the Capacity of Small Meat Processors: Successes and Lessons from North Carolina Date: January 7, 2015 Duration: 1 hour Local meat and poultry markets rely on small processors with a range of skills and services.  NC Choices, an initiative of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems at North Carolina State University, spent two years working with a set of small processors in North Carolina, providing a range of technical assistance and support. The goal? Improve the quality and quantity of processing services available to the state's livestock producers and to enhance the economic viability of both producers and processors.  On this webinar, NC Choices and two processors who participated in the project will tell us how they did it, what they accomplished, and why it matters.   Talk is Cheap ... and Efficient! Facilitating value chain development without costly new infrastructure Date: January 22, 2015 Duration: 90 minutes Host: National Good Food Network

Let's face it: food hubs are sexy! So are other Good Food infrastructure projects, such as regionally-scaled meat processing plants.  And for good reason: these businesses are often filling gaps or bottlenecks in regional and local food systems.  However, sometimes it's not a LACK of infrastructure that leads to bottlenecks; it is incomplete or inefficient USE of the infrastructure that stymies the system.  "Value Chain Coordinators" are people who work to connect the dots in a value chain. They ensure the right people, goods and resources connect with each other. Most often value chain coordinators work outside day-to-day business operations, a vantage point that offers a unique perspective on the optimal solutions in a regional market.  This expanded webinar dives deep into the approaches people across the country are taking to improve the food system without costly new infrastructure.  NMPAN Director Lauren Gwin discusses the critical role of the value chain facilitator in local and regional meat processing. 

 

Plant in a Box: A Solution for USDA-Inspected Poultry Processing? Date: February 25, 2016 Duration: 75 minutes   Small-scale poultry producers are well aware that finding USDA-inspected processing is a big challenge.  Very few inspected poultry plants do fee-for-service processing, far fewer than for red meat, largely because it is hard to be profitable.  David Schafer, owner and founder of Featherman Equipment and NMPAN member, may have found a solution. He has built a “Plant in a Box” (PIB) that aims to be a turnkey answer for those looking to process chickens, turkeys and other poultry under USDA-inspection.  The PIB utilizes a recycled shipping container and comes ready to go: all the operator needs is a site pad, water, power, and a plan for effluent.     On this webinar, we talked with David Schafer about how the PIB concept got started and their plans for the future.  Then, we heard from John Smith of Maple Wind Farm in Vermont.  Maple Wind Farm is the first farm in the country to own and operate a PIB.  Smith told us about how they got started, successes, challenges and surprises along the way, and plans for the future.  Note: there were some technical difficulties with the audio on the webinar so if you have questions on any of the material presented, email us at nmpan@oregonstate.edu and we'll connect you with the presenters.      Think Inside the Box: Containerized Meat Processing Solutions Date: January 26, 2017 Duration: 65 minutes   Building a meat processing plant is not easy nor inexpensive. What if there were models that were quicker to build, faster to get online, and required less capital, particularly for smaller-scale producers? In this webinar you will hear about two such shipping container meat plant models, one for red meat and the other for poultry. Dr. Michele Pfannestiel of Dirigo Food Safety will discuss her Locker model and David Schafer will share his Plant in the Box unit. Hear about the design, equipment, site requirements, costs, and economics. The Locker is primarily for cut and wrap or value-added processing. The Plant in the Box is for full processing (slaughter through packaging) of poultry species.   Local Meat to Local Schools: Lessons Learned from the Montana Beef to School Project Date: March 23, 2017 Duration: 67 minutes   The Montana Beef to School Project is a three-year collaborative project between several Montana beef producers and processors, schools and many stakeholders represented in the Montana Beef to School Coalition. In this recorded webinar you will hear from one of the project leaders, Thomas Bass of Montana State University Extension along with one of the key processing partners, Jeremy Plummer of Lower Valley Processing in Kalispell, about what they learned over the three years of this project.
Some of what you will learn in this webinar includes:
  • Discover the creative ways schools are working with producers and processors in Montana to procure local Montana beef.
  • Bring tested beef to school strategies to your own community through lessons learned from case studies across six beef to school partnerships in Montana.
  • Hear from the processor about the equipment, ordering systems, distribution, pricing, and other logistics of selling beef to schools.

 

Local Meat to Local Institutions- Challenges & Opportunities for Farmers & Packers Date: Thursday, June 27, 2019

*Unfortunately, due to a technical error, this webinar was not recorded. You can scroll through the slide decks below under each speaker.

This panel included a farmer, a regional meat brand, and a vertically-integrated niche meat processor discussing the pros, cons, logistics and pricing of selling meat to institutions such as schools, hospitals, universities, and corporate kitchens. Is this the mid-scale market you have been dreaming of? We also heard briefly from a USDA AMS local foods specialist regarding grant and loan programs that could be used to advance this type of market channel diversification. This webinar was co-sponsored by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service as part of a cooperative agreement with NMPAN.

Regulations and Policy Engagement with FSIS Policy: Experiences From The Field Date: August 17, 2017 Duration: 75 minutes

Hear from a panel of speakers who are engaging with USDA FSIS policy as it relates to small meat plants and niche meats. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, with NMPAN's help, is steering a small plant policy group that is meeting quarterly with top FSIS leadership to address policy concerns for small operators. These concerns include issues around humane handling rules, inspector training, pathogen testing, labeling, outreach to small plants, funding, and more. Learn what these folks are up to, what concerns are most pressing for them, and what they believe are potential policy levers for change. We will conclude with next steps and ways others can get involved in having their voices heard. Speakers included: Ferd Hoefner, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, Carrie Balkom, American Grassfed Association, Brian Sapp, White Oak Pastures, Denise Perry, Lorentz Meats, Greg Gunthorp, Gunthorp Family Farm, and Lauren Gwin of NMPAN.

Validation of Dried and Fermented Meats: Tools for Small Processors Date: Sept.30, 2015 Duration: 90 minutes

Specialty fermented and dried meat products, from jerky to biltong, are growing in popularity, and an increasing number of small meat processors are making these products for their own sales or on a co-packing basis. HACCP regulations require these processors to use "validated" processes -- that is, processes scientifically proven to kill dangerous pathogens. That kind of scientific support can be hard to track down.  On this webinar, we learned about tools that small processors can use to assure their products are safe and in compliance with regulations. This webinar was an online version of a recent symposium by these speakers at the 2015 International Association for Food Protection Conference in Portland, Oregon.

Cooperative Interstate Shipment: How's It Working Out? Date: Feb. 4, 2014 Duration: 1 hour The Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program, authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill and launched by USDA-FSIS in 2012, allows state-inspected meats from qualifying plants to be shipped across state lines. The goal of the program is to expand market opportunities for small meat and poultry processors. Ohio, Wisconsin, and North Dakota were the first three states to qualify, and Indiana is working on it. On this webinar, we heard from state inspection program directors, processors, and others about their experiences with the progr

NMPAN Webinars

 

Next NMPAN Webinars:

Save the Dates! More information forthcoming

Value-Added Meat Processing Series: How to produce delicious & safe consumer-friendly meat products

Co-sponsored by the American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP) and the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)

A brown-bag lunch webinar series. Each webinar will be just 45 minutes long. Take your lunch (or breakfast) break and join us. 9am PST/12pm EST

(9/5/19) Week 1: Basics of Curing: Bacons & Hams
(9/12/19) Week 2: Jerkys
(9/19/19) Week 3: Meat Bars, Snack Sticks, & RTE meats
(9/26/19) Week 4: Dry Cured Meats: Salami, Proscuitto, & Others

Each week listen to one expert processor and one food safety professional discuss equipment, process, quality, and safety considerations for each of these value-added meat products. More details forthcoming.

To register, please fill out this short form at least 10 minutes before any given webinar starts. You do not have to register for each webinar separately, just once for the whole series, whether or not you attend them all. Webinar hosting via Zoom. The entire webinar series will be recorded and uploaded to the NMPAN YouTube Channel should you not be able to attend live.

All NMPAN webinars are open to the public and free of charge.

NMPAN webinars are recorded and archived below, by topic.
A few selected webinars from other groups are also listed.

Click on a webinar's title for the slides, speaker info, and recording.

Topic Areas (click to jump to a topic):

 

Local Meat and Poultry Processing: the Big Picture Looking Back to Look Forward: Reflections on 10 years in the Niche Meat Processing Sector Date: February 20, 2018 Duration: 76 minutes

What has happened in the world of niche meats and processing over the last decade? What does the future look like? How has NMPAN impacted businesses in the niche meat sector? Leaders in the world of niche meats shared their thoughts in this unique panel discussion.

Panelists included:

Local Meat Processing: Successes and Innovations Date: April 19, 2013 Duration: 90 minutes Host: National Good Food Network

Local meat and poultry can’t get to market without a processor, but processors are pulled in many directions: Farmers would like more processing options, but the kind of processing needed depends on the market, the regulations are complex, and even with premium-priced meats, the profit margins are slim.

So how can local meat processing survive ... and even thrive? On this webinar, Lauren Gwin and Arion Thiboumery, co-founders of the Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network, share the results of their research on this topic, featuring innovations and lessons learned from successful processors around the country.  We also heard from several regional support efforts -- in Vermont, New York, and North Carolina -- to improve access to local processing.

 

To Build or Not to Build: Lessons Learned from New Processing Ventures Date: September 28, 2011 Duration: 1 hour Finding a processor that does what you need, when you need it, can be challenging. Building a new facility to meet that need might seem like a good idea. Sometimes it is, but often it isn't. On this webinar, we'll discuss what works -- and what doesn't work -- when building new processing facilities. Our speakers share lessons learned, with real examples from the field.   Building the Capacity of Small Meat Processors: Successes and Lessons from North Carolina Date: January 7, 2015 Duration: 1 hour Local meat and poultry markets rely on small processors with a range of skills and services.  NC Choices, an initiative of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems at North Carolina State University, spent two years working with a set of small processors in North Carolina, providing a range of technical assistance and support. The goal? Improve the quality and quantity of processing services available to the state's livestock producers and to enhance the economic viability of both producers and processors.  On this webinar, NC Choices and two processors who participated in the project will tell us how they did it, what they accomplished, and why it matters.   Talk is Cheap ... and Efficient! Facilitating value chain development without costly new infrastructure Date: January 22, 2015 Duration: 90 minutes Host: National Good Food Network

Let's face it: food hubs are sexy! So are other Good Food infrastructure projects, such as regionally-scaled meat processing plants.  And for good reason: these businesses are often filling gaps or bottlenecks in regional and local food systems.  However, sometimes it's not a LACK of infrastructure that leads to bottlenecks; it is incomplete or inefficient USE of the infrastructure that stymies the system.  "Value Chain Coordinators" are people who work to connect the dots in a value chain. They ensure the right people, goods and resources connect with each other. Most often value chain coordinators work outside day-to-day business operations, a vantage point that offers a unique perspective on the optimal solutions in a regional market.  This expanded webinar dives deep into the approaches people across the country are taking to improve the food system without costly new infrastructure.  NMPAN Director Lauren Gwin discusses the critical role of the value chain facilitator in local and regional meat processing. 

 

Plant in a Box: A Solution for USDA-Inspected Poultry Processing? Date: February 25, 2016 Duration: 75 minutes   Small-scale poultry producers are well aware that finding USDA-inspected processing is a big challenge.  Very few inspected poultry plants do fee-for-service processing, far fewer than for red meat, largely because it is hard to be profitable.  David Schafer, owner and founder of Featherman Equipment and NMPAN member, may have found a solution. He has built a “Plant in a Box” (PIB) that aims to be a turnkey answer for those looking to process chickens, turkeys and other poultry under USDA-inspection.  The PIB utilizes a recycled shipping container and comes ready to go: all the operator needs is a site pad, water, power, and a plan for effluent.     On this webinar, we talked with David Schafer about how the PIB concept got started and their plans for the future.  Then, we heard from John Smith of Maple Wind Farm in Vermont.  Maple Wind Farm is the first farm in the country to own and operate a PIB.  Smith told us about how they got started, successes, challenges and surprises along the way, and plans for the future.  Note: there were some technical difficulties with the audio on the webinar so if you have questions on any of the material presented, email us at nmpan@oregonstate.edu and we'll connect you with the presenters.      Think Inside the Box: Containerized Meat Processing Solutions Date: January 26, 2017 Duration: 65 minutes   Building a meat processing plant is not easy nor inexpensive. What if there were models that were quicker to build, faster to get online, and required less capital, particularly for smaller-scale producers? In this webinar you will hear about two such shipping container meat plant models, one for red meat and the other for poultry. Dr. Michele Pfannestiel of Dirigo Food Safety will discuss her Locker model and David Schafer will share his Plant in the Box unit. Hear about the design, equipment, site requirements, costs, and economics. The Locker is primarily for cut and wrap or value-added processing. The Plant in the Box is for full processing (slaughter through packaging) of poultry species.   Local Meat to Local Schools: Lessons Learned from the Montana Beef to School Project Date: March 23, 2017 Duration: 67 minutes   The Montana Beef to School Project is a three-year collaborative project between several Montana beef producers and processors, schools and many stakeholders represented in the Montana Beef to School Coalition. In this recorded webinar you will hear from one of the project leaders, Thomas Bass of Montana State University Extension along with one of the key processing partners, Jeremy Plummer of Lower Valley Processing in Kalispell, about what they learned over the three years of this project.
Some of what you will learn in this webinar includes:
  • Discover the creative ways schools are working with producers and processors in Montana to procure local Montana beef.
  • Bring tested beef to school strategies to your own community through lessons learned from case studies across six beef to school partnerships in Montana.
  • Hear from the processor about the equipment, ordering systems, distribution, pricing, and other logistics of selling beef to schools.

 

Local Meat to Local Institutions- Challenges & Opportunities for Farmers & Packers Date: Thursday, June 27, 2019

*Unfortunately, due to a technical error, this webinar was not recorded. You can scroll through the slide decks below under each speaker.

This panel included a farmer, a regional meat brand, and a vertically-integrated niche meat processor discussing the pros, cons, logistics and pricing of selling meat to institutions such as schools, hospitals, universities, and corporate kitchens. Is this the mid-scale market you have been dreaming of? We also heard briefly from a USDA AMS local foods specialist regarding grant and loan programs that could be used to advance this type of market channel diversification. This webinar was co-sponsored by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service as part of a cooperative agreement with NMPAN.

Regulations and Policy Engagement with FSIS Policy: Experiences From The Field Date: August 17, 2017 Duration: 75 minutes

Hear from a panel of speakers who are engaging with USDA FSIS policy as it relates to small meat plants and niche meats. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, with NMPAN's help, is steering a small plant policy group that is meeting quarterly with top FSIS leadership to address policy concerns for small operators. These concerns include issues around humane handling rules, inspector training, pathogen testing, labeling, outreach to small plants, funding, and more. Learn what these folks are up to, what concerns are most pressing for them, and what they believe are potential policy levers for change. We will conclude with next steps and ways others can get involved in having their voices heard. Speakers included: Ferd Hoefner, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, Carrie Balkom, American Grassfed Association, Brian Sapp, White Oak Pastures, Denise Perry, Lorentz Meats, Greg Gunthorp, Gunthorp Family Farm, and Lauren Gwin of NMPAN.

Validation of Dried and Fermented Meats: Tools for Small Processors Date: Sept.30, 2015 Duration: 90 minutes

Specialty fermented and dried meat products, from jerky to biltong, are growing in popularity, and an increasing number of small meat processors are making these products for their own sales or on a co-packing basis. HACCP regulations require these processors to use "validated" processes -- that is, processes scientifically proven to kill dangerous pathogens. That kind of scientific support can be hard to track down.  On this webinar, we learned about tools that small processors can use to assure their products are safe and in compliance with regulations. This webinar was an online version of a recent symposium by these speakers at the 2015 International Association for Food Protection Conference in Portland, Oregon.

Cooperative Interstate Shipment: How's It Working Out? Date: Feb. 4, 2014 Duration: 1 hour The Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program, authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill and launched by USDA-FSIS in 2012, allows state-inspected meats from qualifying plants to be shipped across state lines. The goal of the program is to expand market opportunities for small meat and poultry processors. Ohio, Wisconsin, and North Dakota were the first three states to qualify, and Indiana is working on it. On this webinar, we heard from state inspection program directors, processors, and others about their experiences with the program so far and what it took to qualify. An official from FSIS provided background on the CIS program.    

Pheromones Give Nematodes a Boost in Controlling Pests

Agricultural Research Service | USDA - Thu, 07/25/2019 - 10:58am
Beneficial nematodes emerge from an infected insect host. Pheromones Give Nematodes a Boost in Controlling Pests

By Sandra Avant
July 25, 2019

BYRON, GEORGIA, July 25, 2019--Beneficial nematodes are used as biological control agents to fight a variety of insect pests that severely damage crops. However, in many cases the nematodes don't measure up to other control methods such as certain chemical pesticides.

A recent Agricultural Research Service (ARS) study, published in The Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, shows that beneficial nematodes (also called entomopathogenic nematodes) treated with pheromone extracts are more effective at killing an economically important insect—the pecan weevil—as well as the black soldier fly.

The pecan weevil is a major pecan pest in the Southeast as well as in Texas and Oklahoma, said David Shapiro-Ilan, an entomologist at the ARS Southeastern Fruit and Tree Nut Research Laboratory in Byron, Georgia.  If left uncontrolled, it can reduce crop production up to 70 percent.

An advantage of using beneficial nematodes is that they are safe for humans and the environment and target only specific insects, Shapiro-Ilan said.

In earlier research, Shapiro-Ilan and his colleagues discovered that pheromones produced by beneficial nematodes direct their behavior—telling them to disperse or infect insects. With that in mind, they sought ways to use pheromones to enhance nematodes' behavior to kill more insect pests.

Since then, ARS has established a cooperative research agreement with Pheronym, an ag-biotech pest control company that develops and produces nematode pheromones that can be used to direct beneficial nematode behavior.

Shapiro-Ilan and his colleagues—ARS post-doctoral research associate Camila Oliveira-Hofman, Pheronym CEO Fatma Kaplan and Ed Lewis, head of the Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology and Nematology at the University of Idaho—tested the efficacy of Pheronym's beneficial nematodes exposed to pheromone extracts. The research showed that pheromone induced nematodes were 28 to 78 percent more effective in controlling pecan weevils and black soldier flies in greenhouse soil than non-exposed nematodes. In addition, a higher number of pheromone-treated nematodes invaded insect larvae compared to the non-treated nematodes.

This research is believed to be the first time a parasite's—the nematode—own pheromone was used to improve its effectiveness in attacking its host—the pecan weevil and black soldier fly, according to Shapiro-Ilan.

The study's paper, titled "Pheromone extracts act as boosters for entomopathogenic nematodes efficacy," was recently selected as a Research Highlight of 2019 by the Nematode Division of the Society of Invertebrate Pathology.

The Agricultural Research Service is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific in-house research agency. Daily, ARS focuses on solutions to agricultural problems affecting America. Each dollar invested in agricultural research results in $20 of economic impact.

Mary Hockenberry Meyer Presents the 2019 ARS Benjamin Y. Morrison Memorial Lecture

Agricultural Research Service | USDA - Wed, 07/24/2019 - 10:49am
Mary Hockenberry Meyer Mary Hockenberry Meyer Presents the 2019 ARS Benjamin Y. Morrison Memorial Lecture

By Kim Kaplan
July 24, 2019

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, July 24—"What's on Your Bucket List for Horticulture" is the title of Mary Hockenberry Meyer's 2019 Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Benjamin Y. Morrison Memorial Lecture, being presented at the American Society for Horticultural Science's annual meeting on Wednesday, July 24 in Las Vegas.

Meyer has devoted her career to the selection, evaluation, and propagation of ornamental grasses and works tirelessly to promote their attributes and ecosystem benefits in managed and natural landscapes.

She was one of the first researchers to evaluate the cold-hardiness of native grasses and sedges. Her work demonstrated that most ornamental grasses and sedges can overwinter in Minnesota and similar climates, reversing the prevailing thinking.

In her lecture, Meyer proposes a "bucket list" for the field of horticulture—"a list of the things we could do to advance our love of and life work with plants to help our world and everyone in it to eat well and thrive from being near plants. It's time we thought about these goals and individually or collectively we work toward them purposefully."

Currently a professor, extension horticulture program leader, and director of the master of professional studies in horticulture program at the University of Minnesota, Meyer is the author of Ornamental Grasses for Cold Climates, one of the most popular publications distributed by University of Minnesota Extension.

Meyer also has served as a founding member of the National Consumer Horticulture Committee, which is developing a national strategic plan for consumer horticulture. She continues to serve on the advisory committee for Seed Your Future.

The Agricultural Research Service is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific in-house research agency. Daily, ARS focuses on solutions to agricultural problems affecting America. Each dollar invested in agricultural research results in $20 of economic impact.

Monsoon Rains Have Become More Intense in the Southwest in Recent Decades

Agricultural Research Service | USDA - Tue, 07/23/2019 - 10:41am
Individual, isolated monsoon rainstorms have gotten more intense and are happening more often in the Southwest U.S., according to an ARS study. Monsoon Rains Have Become More Intense in the Southwest in Recent Decades

By Kim Kaplan
July 23, 2019

TUCSON, ARIZONA, July 23, 2019—Monsoon rain storms have become more intense in the southwestern United States in recent decades, according to a study recently published by Agricultural Research Service scientists.

Monsoon rains—highly localized bursts of rain—have become stronger since the 1970s, meaning the same amount of rain falls in a shorter amount of time—by 6 to 11 percent. In addition, the number of rainfall events per year increased on average 15 percent during the 1961-2017 period.

Monsoon rain events are usually the result of strong convection or upwelling air currents due to the difference in temperature between the earth's hot surface and the cooler atmosphere. It is characterized by intense downpours that fall in less than 1 hour.

"We attribute these monsoon rain increases to climate change in the southwest, which the General Circulation Models (GCMs) predicted would happen if the atmosphere gets warmer. What is unique about our study is that we have validated the GCM simulations with observed rainfall data," explained hydrologist/meteorologist Eleonora M. C. Demaria with the ARS Southwest Watershed Research Center in Tucson, Arizona, who co-led the study.

Temperatures in the Southwest have increased by 0.4 degrees F (0.22 degrees Celsius) on average per decade, which is likely a result of global climate change.

While the storms were, on average, each more intense, they do not appear to be larger or cover more territory during each one.

"It is crucial that we track changes in individual rain storm intensities, especially in regions like the Southwest, where high-intensity, short duration storms are responsible for the majority of the annual rain fall. Such changes can have important impacts on the ecology and are more likely to cause problems such as flash floods," Demaria added. "These results also mean rangeland producers will also need more robust soil conservation plans to protect soils from erosion."

For transportation departments and developers, designs of bridges, culverts, and overall storm water drainage infrastructure must also be more robust, and more expensive, to handle the more intense rains."

This study is the first time the intensity of individual, very localized monsoon rain storms has been able to be measured in the Southwest. Before now, analyses of the impact of a warmer atmosphere on monsoon rainfall intensities were contradictory. Some studies reported increases in rainfall intensities over time and others found decreases. These discrepancies hail from an inadequate number of rain gauges being used in the analysis that were too far apart to capture the variability of monsoon storms, or climate models with grid cells that were too large to represent intense, but isolated thunderstorms.

While as many as 90 percent of the individual rain gauges, which are now as close as 2,100 feet (640 m) apart, showed an increase in rainfall intensity, there were still some rain gauges that showed either a decrease or no change in intensity, which reflects the wide variability in where and how monsoon rains fall.

"But the Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed rain gauge network in the southwest, now part of the nationwide Long Term Agro-ecosystems Research network, developed by ARS in the 1950s, made the precision measurements possible to give us a definitive answer. It was designed to be as spatially uniform as possible to be able to capture summer storms that are short-lived and localized to a small area," said ARS research hydraulic engineer David Goodrich, co-leader of the study.

The Agricultural Research Service is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific in-house research agency. Daily, ARS focuses on solutions to agricultural problems affecting America. Each dollar invested in agricultural research results in $20 of economic impact.

Helping Wheat and Corn Producers Target their Fertilizer Needs

Agricultural Research Service | USDA - Tue, 07/16/2019 - 10:52am
Wheat harvested at the ARS Central Great Plains Research Station in Akron, Colorado Helping Wheat and Corn Producers Target their Fertilizer Needs

By Dennis O'Brien
July 16, 2019

A few years ago, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Akron, Colorado began noticing a pattern to their wheat harvests: yields were higher in low-lying areas.

That by itself was no surprise. Soils at low-lying spots in a field capture run-off from higher spots, often have more organic matter and are better at holding water, which is critical in the soils of eastern Colorado, where water is scarce, and crops are strictly rain-fed.

But it was the extreme variability in yields that surprised the researchers. Yields varied from 17 bushels per acre to 110 bushels per acre—sometimes in the same field in the same year. The numbers also showed that the yield potential dropped by about 35% for every three-foot increase in elevation, and elevations can vary by up to 15 feet in some fields of eastern Colorado. "We knew elevation was a factor, but we didn’t realize that the differences in yield could be this dramatic," said Merle Vigil, who is acting research leader of the Central Great Plains Resources Management Research Unit in Akron

Vigil, Francisco Calderon and their ARS colleagues in Akron have been sharing their preliminary findings with area farmers at workshops and in meetings and they have started work on a project to see if they can help farmers save on fertilizer costs and increase yields of both winter wheat and summer corn, which are often rotated in the region. The researchers have set up three management zones in 12 fields and over the next five years they plan to apply different rates of fertilizer in each zone to see how yields are affected by elevation. The results should help farmers better target fertilizer needs for crops produced on 26 million acres of cultivated dryland in the Central Great Plains.

The amount of nitrogen fertilizer applied affects the protein content of the wheat, so the researchers plan to set a target of producing wheat with 11.5 % protein in deciding how much fertilizer to apply to their test plots. (Wheat flour needs to have at least 11.5% protein content for a loaf of bread to rise adequately. The wheat will sell at a lower price if protein levels fall below that.)

Many farmers now use standard soil tests to determine fertilizer amounts and they often apply the same amount uniformly over thousands of acres. But it could be that they are wasting money by over-fertilizing areas that produce low yields and not putting enough fertilizer on high-yielding areas, Vigil says

"Our goal is to allow farms to match their nitrogen fertilizer rates to the yield potential. We think by using variable rate nitrogen fertilizer management, farmers may be able get a better return on what they invest in fertilizer," he said.

The Agricultural Research Service is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific in-house research agency. Daily, ARS focuses on solutions to agricultural problems affecting America. Each dollar invested in agricultural research results in $20 of economic impact.

Rotational No-till and Mulching Systems for Organic Vegetable Farms Webinar

This webinar was recorded on January 20, 2015. Watch it on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwyDS2mv8Iw

About the Webinar

In this webinar, Jan-Hendrik Cropp will describe how to create organic cropping systems using diverse living and/or dead mulches, along with rotational conservation tillage to increase soil health. While the webinar will focus on one production system from an organic farm in Germany, the principles can be applied to a wide variety of agricultural operations. The presenter recently returned to Germany from a 3-month research trip across the US and Canada, where he met many innovators in organic no-till and reduced tillage. He will refer to regional examples and experiences from his travels in the webinar.

Slides from the webinar as a pdf handout

For a list of the cover crop species mentioned in this presentation, see this blog post by Natalie Lounsbury (scroll down to the end)

About the Presenter

Jan-Hendrik Cropp is a farmer pioneering organic no-till and minimal tillage systems, a consultant on soil fertility, and a freelance journalist living in Germany. He studied organic agricultural science, and most recently worked on a 12-acre vegetable farm.

 

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

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Heritage and Ancient Wheat: Varietal Performance and Management Webinar

This webinar was recorded on January 27, 2015. Watch it on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRUWcdSZlpg

About the Webinar

As consumer interest in locally/regionally grown heritage and ancient wheat has grown, so too has the need for identification of high-performing varieties and management practices best suited to produce high-quality grain. Team members of the NIFA OREI-funded Value-added Grains for Local and Regional Food Systems project will present information derived from three years of experimentation at multiple sites on varietal performance, including yield potential, standability, disease tolerance, and grain quality, and growing practices, including planting rate and nitrogen fertility application. Farmer experience with and recommendations on growing these crops will also be featured.

SLIDES FROM THE WEBINAR AS A PDF HANDOUT

About the Presenters

Steve Zwinger, North Dakota State University Carrington Research Extension Center, is part of the agronomy team working with the project. Steve's research has focused on crop performance and management practices, along with varietal evaluation. He has conducted research with ancient over multiple years and environments, including University research plots and in certified organic farmers fields.

Michael Davis is an agronomist with the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station who has been conducting small grain trials on certified organic fields for the past 17 years.

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

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Building Pest-Suppressive Organic Farms: Tools and Ecological Strategies Used by Five Long-Term Organic Farms to Suppress Insects

This webinar was recorded on February 10, 2015. Watch it on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vY4WzlwfpbQ

About the Webinar

The presenters will discuss what worked and what did not work on five long-term organic farms. They will also explore the question of how much diversity is enough and how to manage on-farm biological control organism habitat.

Slides from the webinar as a pdf handout

Insect Pest Suppression Table

About the Presenters

Helen Atthowe has been farming on her own and consulting for other organic vegetable and fruit farms for 25 years. She was a horticulture extension agent for 15 years and owned and operated Biodesign Farm (30 acre diverse organic fruit and vegetable farm) in western Montana for 17 years. She spent 6 months as consulting vegetable grower for a 2000 acre organic vegetable and fruit farm in northern Colorado with a 5000 member CSA. She now co-owns Woodleaf Farm in northern California.

Carl Rosato started Woodleaf Farm in northern California in 1980. He is also an organic soil management consultant. Woodleaf Farm (26 acres of diverse organic fruit and vegetable production) is an organic pioneer: the 9th farm to be certified organic by CCOF in 1982. Carl has been doing organic disease and insect management research on his farm since he received his first OFRF grant in 1992, has taught organic farming at local colleges in California, and in 2012 received the Eco-farm 'Steward of Sustainable Agriculture" award.

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

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Promoting Native Bee Pollinators in Organic Farming Systems Webinar

The webinar was recorded on March 10, 2015. Watch it on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUQLgWBQA3M

About the Webinar

The webinar will cover the importance of native bee pollinators in organic farming systems, particularly diversified systems that produce many crops per year. We will first discuss the diversity of native bees in farming systems, and the roles they may play in supplementing (or replacing) honey bees for pollination services. Our webinar will also describe an ongoing research project in western Washington on native bee pollinators. 

Slides from the webinar as a pdf handout

About the Presenters

David Crowder is an assistant professor of Entomology at Washington State University. His research focuses on insect ecology and the role of sustainable agriculture on insect communities

Elias Bloom in a PhD student in Entomology in the lab of Dr. David Crowder and Washington State University. His research focuses on the biology and ecology of native bee pollinators in diversified organic farming systems.

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

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Non-Antibiotic Control of Fire Blight: What Works As We Head Into a New Era

This webinar was recorded on March 17, 2015. Watch it on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lon_gSTiJco

About the Webinar

In 2015, apples and pears produced organically under the USDA National Organic Program standard must utilize non-antibiotic materials in spray programs for fire blight suppression. Effective non-anrtiobiotic control programs will be presented with particular emphasis on integrated sequencing of materials. Interactions among non-antibiotic materials and their potential to cause russeting on developing fruits will be addressed.

SLIDES FROM THE WEBINAR AS A PDF HANDOUT

About the Presenters

Ken Johnson is Professor of Plant Pathology at Oregon State University, Corvallis.
Rachel Elkins is a University of California Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor and is located in Lake County (Lakeport), CA.
Tim Smith is a Washington State University Cooperative Extension Area Agent and is located in Chelan County (Wenatchee), WA.

This group has been involved with fire blight management for over 20 years.

Find all upcoming and archived eOrganic webinars at http://www.extension.org/pages/25242

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

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Baking evaluation, sensory analysis, and nutritional characteristics of modern, heritage, and ancient wheat varieties

This webinar was recorded on March 25, 2015. Watch it on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rd7dgoSL2lk

About the Webinar

The world is buzzing with talk about improved tastes and nutritional profiles in products made from ancient wheats like einkorn, emmer, and spelt, and from heritage types of bread wheat like Red Fife. Which nutrients are higher in which varieties of these different wheat species? How does the flour cook up and how does the bread taste? How does one actually evaluate these characteristics in an unbiased way? Join us for a discussion of the results of baking and sensory testing of a number of kinds of wheat and a nutritional analysis of 100 kinds of einkorn

About the Presenters

Lisa Kissing Kucek is a graduate student at Cornell University. She collaborates with organic farmers to breed new genotypes of wheat, spelt, emmer, and einkorn for the Northeast United States. 

Abdullah Jaradat, Supervisory agronomist and research leader working for the Agricultural Research Service in Morris, Minnesota. A wheat geneticist specialized in hulled wheat species and wheat landraces of the Fertile Crescent.

Julie Dawson of the University of Wisconsin conducts research and extension to support urban and regional food systems, with an emphasis on small scale diversified farms, market gardens and community gardens.

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

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Innovative Approaches to Extension in Organic and Sustainable Agriculture

This webinar was recorded on April 7, 2015. Watch it on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJApXcTG2Zs

About the Webinar

Agroecology has a proven track record of assessing the principles underpinning sustainable farming. Yet, approaches to utilizing research-based information to develop and deliver extension programs that allow innovative agricultural producers to make informed management decision are still lacking. In this webinar, we will explore pedagogical principles that Extension agents and agricultural educators can take advantage of when developing context-dependent outreach and educational programs for organic and sustainable farmers.

Slides from the webinar as a PDF handout

About the Presenters

Bruna Irene Grimberg is an Associate Research Professor dedicated to Science Outreach and Education at Montana State University. Bruna’s Physics and Education backgrounds allowed her to conduct research, develop and implement K-12 science teacher professional development in rural and Native American reservations, and teach university level courses in physics and science education. Her research explores how people learn science in different contexts and cultural settings aiming to increase science literacy.

Fabian Menalled is a Professor of Weed Ecology and Management at Montana State University. Fabian’s research and extension interests relate to the assessment of agroecological principles that relate to the development of sustainable farming practices.

Mary Burrows is an Associate Professor and Extension Plant Pathologist at Montana State University. Her research and extension programs address problems faced by the growers of Montana including integrated management of disease problems in field crops including cereals and pulses (peas, lentils, chickpeas). She directs the state diagnostic laboratory, a regional pulse crop diagnostic laboratory, and the state IPM program.

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

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July ARS Food and Nutrition Research Briefs Issued

Agricultural Research Service | USDA - Thu, 07/11/2019 - 10:38am
New ARS Food and Nutrition Research Briefs Issued

By Kim Kaplan
July 11, 2019

That a new study has revealed for the first time how diet and bacteria may interact to prolong chronic diarrhea in rhesus macaques suffering from gastrointestinal diseases of unknown causes similar to the way humans do is part of the latest issue of the Agricultural Research Service's (ARS) Food and Nutrition Research Briefs.

The latest issue, which reports discoveries from researchers at ARS laboratories nationwide, can be found at: https://www.ars.usda.gov/oc/fnrb/2019/fnrb0711/

Among other findings, the current issue reports:

  • FoodData Central, an integrated food and nutrient data system has been launched, managed by ARS' Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center and hosted by the National Agricultural Library to provide online access to nutrient profile information about a wide variety of foods and food products. The system should prove to be an essential resource for researchers, nutrition professionals, health care providers, product developers, policy makers and consumers.
  • Almost no veterinary drug residues were found and none at levels that even approached U. S. regulatory limits in more than 1,000 pork kidney samples. A total of 1,040 pork kidneys were purchased from four grocery stores in the Midwest and tested for residues of five commonly used veterinary drugs and feed additives.

ARS Food and Nutrition Research Briefs is available on the web. Readers can sign up for either of two email options: They can receive the full text of the newsletter by email or simply an advisory when a new issue has been posted online.

For more information contact Kim Kaplan, ARS Office of Communications.

The Agricultural Research Service is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific in-house research agency. Daily, ARS focuses on solutions to agricultural problems affecting America. Each dollar invested in agricultural research results in $20 of economic impact.

Video Clip: Custom Cultivator for Plastic Edges from Vegetable Farmers and their Weed Control Machines

Source:

Vegetable Farmers and their Weed-Control Machines [DVD]. V. Grubinger and M.J. Else. 1996. University of Vermont Extension. Available for purchase at http://www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry/Videos/weedvideo.htm (verified 31 Dec 2008).

This is a Vegetable Farmers and their Weed Control Machines video clip.

Watch the video clip on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_QDsn-3Zg4

Featuring

John Arena Jr., Arena Farms. Concord, MA.

Audio Text

This tractor is set up with cultivating disks for doing along the edges of plastic without the use of herbicides and very minimal hand weeding. This is set up with a straight tooth right here, it’s at a slight angle to get underneath the black plastic and also kind of lifts it up a little bit so any weeds that are germinating or small weeds that are there really get disturbed by that. Followed by a second round cultivating disk which again throws dirt out and disturbs the weeds. And the last disk here returns the soil back onto the plastic edge where this first one had taken it off a little bit.

All these tools here are simple cultivating tools; a straight tooth, it does have a spring if you have rocky fields; the tractor is a Super C Farmall from International Harvester. It’s a very simple operation.

We generally use this machine when weeds are just starting to germinate. That’s the best time to go in with that slight disruption of the ground. The small weeds just die instantly. If you do get behind however and weeds start to germinate and they get even up to six; we’ve even used this up to twelve inches in height. Because the round disks are there you get no clog up like you normally get on all straight teeth. So it’s great if you get in early and you happen to not get in early it’ll still do a great job. The only difference is you’d have to do weeds six to twelve inches in height you’d have to do your rows about six times to get a complete clean area whereas if you get in at the right time usually twice a year is about all that needs to be done. This particular field has been done twice.

What offers us also with this unit is we can put down fertilizer at the same time that we’re cultivating. So it works out that we’re getting a lot of things done with one pass.

This cultivation system also works great on crabgrass; it gets down below the root system, lifts it out and does kill it. The purslane also which generally is a problem weed for us, it does pull the weed out and if you do it on a hot enough day it generally will die before it has a chance to re-root itself in.

This video project was funded in part by the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (USDA).

 

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

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Video Clip: Buddingh In-Row Weeder from Vegetable Farmers and their Weed Control Machines

Source:

Vegetable Farmers and their Weed-Control Machines [DVD]. V. Grubinger and M.J. Else. 1996. University of Vermont Extension. Available for purchase at http://www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry/Videos/weedvideo.htm (verified 31 Dec 2008).

This is a Vegetable Farmers and their Weed Control Machines video clip.

Watch the video clip on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6_qz1pXiEs

Featuring

Bob Gray, Four Corners Farm. Newbury, VT.

Audio Text

This cultivation equipment here is called a Buddingh In-row Weeder. The 'in-row' comes from the fact that it literally will weed around the plant. You can see my fingers here. The rubber fingers go like this around the plant and scrub the weeds out. And there’s little metal prongs on the bottom of the finger wheel that spins the fingers. On transplanted plants like strawberry or broccoli and even fast growing plants like beans it does a beautiful job. Onions in a single row, anything that can take a little bit of scrubbing without being pulled out.

Today this is just about the right timing to cultivate. The weeds are just coming through. This thing here will just take them and actually flick them out of the ground. If you let them get too big it won’t work. It has to be done when the weeds are an inch or less in height. Once you get past that stage then you get screwed up. We love it and it does an incredible job. It’s like getting fifteen people hoeing all at once and you’re just doing all the work yourself.

It’s mounted on an Allis Chalmers G tractor. They don’t make them anymore. They were made in the forties and early fifties. A little light weight tractor with the motor in the rear and you can see perfectly what you are doing. It turns on a dime.

For the actual adjustment on this Buddingh weeder, it does all kinds of things. It goes in and out, it goes forward and back, these rear things can be turned around so they’ll throw dirt in toward the plant or reversed so they’ll throw dirt away from the plant. It’s a very versatile piece of equipment.

One of the drawbacks is you can see right here it doesn’t like wet soil, but you shouldn’t be cultivating in the rain anyway, because the dirt will pack up underneath. You have to get off as well and bang on it to shake the dirt off so it will do what it is supposed to do. But in dry soil, sandy soil, it will work in stones as long as there are not too many of them.

Generally with this machine you go fairly slow, maybe two to three miles per hour, depending on the crop and how strong it is.

So we always have something in the front weeding around the plant and something in the back covering the wheel tracks. But it’s more than that. With the other tractors that have the Lillistons on them, the Lilliston can actually do more work than just covering the wheel tracks. The front cultivator, whatever it may be, a sweep or a shovel or fingers like, this works around the plant and the Lilliston can come around and finish up or level out or throw more dirt or hill depending on what you want to do. So you’re always trying to figure out what you want to do and put a piece of equipment that will do the most good.

This video project was funded in part by the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (USDA)

 

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

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Video Clip: Sweeps from Vegetable Farmers and their Weed Control Machines

Source:

Vegetable Farmers and their Weed-Control Machines [DVD]. V. Grubinger and M.J. Else. 1996. University of Vermont Extension. Available for purchase at http://www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry/Videos/weedvideo.htm (verified 31 Dec 2008).

This is a Vegetable Farmers and their Weed Control Machines video clip.

Watch the video clip on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8INi3UIjObg

Featuring

Bob Gray, Four Corners Farm. Newbury, V

Audio Text

I want to talk about these cultivator sweeps and what they do but as I look here I want to remind you of something very important. You should never let your cultivator sweeps rust, and I always do because I seem to get too busy to clean them up. They’ll rust literally over night because of the acidity of the soil or something. Once they rust the dirt doesn’t slide smoothly over the cultivator, it boils over, so it doesn’t do nearly as nice a job of cultivating. You really want to slice just under the ground with a cultivator, an inch or half inch deep. Once you get dirt sticking to it, it begins to boil and roll and doesn’t do nearly as nice a job. That’s just because it rusted. It gets sticky. By rights they should be cleaned off every time you get through and oiled. And if you have rust on there it should be sanded until they’re really smooth. We have a problem where we don’t cultivate enough; we don’t have enough acreage at one time so that they get smoothed up. If you’re cultivating ten acres then by that time they’ll finally get all shiny and smooth. But here the rust lasts from one time to another.

We try to set these cultivator shanks, sweeps they’re called, so that they’ll throw dirt underneath the plant and bury up any weeds. Lots of times my dad used to say there are two ways to kill a weed, you know, you can cut it off or you can bury it up. I think sometimes burying up a weed is just as successful as actually digging it up. When you dig it up it still has a root. When you cover it up you smother it and it’s just not going to grow. So all you want to do is throw dirt over the weeds with your cultivator sweeps like this and bury them up. If you get them when they’re an inch or so tall it works very very well. So you can move these in or out so they do just what you want them to do.

Speed is important. The Lilliston likes to go fast, that’s the cultivator in the rear, and if you can go fast and not hit the plants with these why then it will work even better because it will throw the dirt more.

This video project was funded in part by the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (USDA).

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

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Video Clip: Lilliston Rolling Cultivator from Vegetable Farmers and their Weed Control Machines

Source:

Vegetable farmers and their weed-control machines [DVD]. V. Grubinger and M.J. Else. 1996. University of Vermont Extension. Available for purchase at http://www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry/Videos/weedvideo.htm (verified 31 Dec 2008).

This is a Vegetable Farmers and their Weed Control Machines video clip.

Watch the video clip on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3U2bEXISHk

Featuring

Bob Gray, Four Corners Farm. Newbury, VT

Audio Text

This piece of equipment here is a Lilliston Rolling Tine Cultivator and it’s a very versatile tillage tool because it adjusts so many ways and will do so many things. You can adjust it this way, like you want to hill potatoes. You can crank it up pretty steep and it will throw dirt up. You can adjust it back and forth this way for more action. If you want it to dig more and move more dirt then you turn this backwards. You can slide it this way to get it closer to the plants or further away from the plants. We like it a lot and use it on many many crops. Right here on broccoli we use it to actually throw dirt underneath the plant to bury weeds. We have the front sweeps on which will move the dirt under the plant and this will actually throw dirt behind and throw it over the plant. And if you watch your timing, if the weeds aren’t too big, you can keep this crop absolutely clean. I think I can get ninety nine percent of the weeds in this crop every time as long as I’m there when I’m supposed to be there.

This video project was funded in part by the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (USDA).

 

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

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Video Clip: Custom Field Cultivator from Vegetable Farmers and their Weed Control Machines

Source:

Vegetable Farmers and their Weed-Control Machines [DVD]. V. Grubinger and M.J. Else. 1996. University of Vermont Extension. Available for purchase at http://www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry/Videos/weedvideo.htm (verified 31 Dec 2008).

This is a Vegetable Farmers and their Weed Control Machines video clip.

Watch the video clip on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgHsWPZ5rx0

Featuring

Bob Gray, Four Corners Farm. Newbury, VT

Audio text

This machine we are using now is something we modified from a, well we got it from Canada, it’s a Canadian field cultivator they call it and we use it basically just for week control. We had to modify it from a larger size; actually these were wings that came from a fourteen foot model or something. Someone had sold the eight foot center portion and these are the outside wings - we had to weld it together and made it so it would fit between the rows of plastic.

When we lay down our plastic we always try to put our plastic just a tractor width or a little more apart. We use a lot of space between our plastic mainly just for weed control because we found when we had to do it by hand with a hoe or a hand push cultivator it just never got done. But if we can jump on a tractor we could easily do three, four, five acres in an afternoon or do ten lengths of plastic in a half an hour. And the advantage of this field cultivator over a tiller, we used to take the tiller and crank it up so it was really shallow and just cut the top two inches of the soil, it worked very well but it was slow. The beauty of this piece of equipment here is that you can adjust the depth and so we can use it as a primary tillage tool to loosen the soil and go six to eight inches deep if that’s what we want to do but when we’re controlling weeds we just want to skim the surface of the soil, the top two inches. And so with this adjusting wheel right here we can raise these tines up or down so they just barely skim because we don’t want to bring up more soil, we want to just sterilize the soil, the top two inches of soil and kill those weeds that are in that zone. So this is just simply a spring loaded or spring shank cultivator tooth, it vibrates, and creates a little more tillage action.

The thing I like the best is this reel in the back in that once you’ve broken the soil up there’s some clods of dirt just like this, that some weeds are actually growing in and by the time it gets through this thing rolling over it, it breaks it apart and exposes the root and literally hangs the weed up to dry and as you can see some of them hanging on the basket there. That’s important that you get the soil off the bare root of the small weed, and it’ll flip it over and lay it on top of the ground where the sun can bake it and kill it.

We’ve been trying to figure out a system for the edge of the plastic for as many years as we’ve used plastic. This is coming closer to what we want all the time. We used to use shovels, sweeps they call them, off the cultivator, but that would either go above the plastic and just skim along and not kill the weeds or go below the plastic and loosen it up and not kill the weeds either. We find with this we can run right over the top of the plastic and in fact sometimes I think it even stretches the plastic tighter and makes the plastic better because it will roll over the top and push little holes in it and punch it down further in the soil. So this is the zone, if you understand, on the edge of the plastic where the plastic curls down under where you secure it to the soil - there’s always a weed problem. Even with a hoe you end up tearing the plastic whereas this thing seems to go over and flick the weeds off, if they’re small. As I said, again these weeds are too big, we had a problem here and we missed them the first time through. Under ideal conditions if you time it right it works quite well.

This piece of equipment here actually came off a Lilliston Cultivator, some of your larger Lilliston setups have what they call an inner wheel, it’s a smaller spider wheel it runs very close to the plant. We just took it and modified it with the same hookup to this cultivator set up here. We’ve got an adjustment here so you can swivel it at an angle, the more angle you get the more action you get. We think it works pretty well.

I’ve got some weeds here in front of me and the time to get weeds is before you see them or just when they’re an inch or less tall because the root system isn’t very strong. By just flicking the dirt we can roll the soil over and get the weed exposed to the surface where it will die in a half an hour or less in the sun. Take a larger weed here, which is one we missed from the last cultivation. This weed has so much reserve of moisture and nutrients in the stalk itself that it will sacrifice that. That weed right there will not die in an hour in the sun, it may not die out all day in the sun. So you’ve missed it, once they get this big you’re in real trouble. It means hand work. So timing is everything. We always have problems, it rains four days in row and it’s warm and you can’t cultivate anyway, then the weeds get away from you.

I guess that leads me to another point, we have lots of cultivators and lots of tractors and I think you can almost never have too many. I like to have each piece of cultivation equipment on each tractor so I don’t have to stop and adjust and mount up because sometimes you don’t have the time to do that. It would be nice just to be able to jump from one tractor onto another one. It’s kind of extravagant but you can usually find a used tractor that if you don’t use it too heavily it will last for years. Just mount a certain piece of equipment on that tractor and get it set up perfectly and leave it.

This video project was funded in part by the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (USDA).

 

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 5962

CSI: Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) Egg Mass Damage

eOrganic authors:

Rob Morrison, USDA-ARS Appalachian Fruit Research Station

Clarissa Matthews, Shepherd University

Watch the video clip on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czzwuaqO1ec

Introduction

In this video, we highlight research being funded by USDA-NIFA OREI program on Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs in Organic Farming Systems. 

The goal of this research has been to quantify who the main predators of BMSB egg masses are, the kinds of damage they cause, and  link the types of damage to specific predator groups. We have found that feeding damage by predators can be sorted into several different categories. These primarily depend on predator mouthpart morphology (e.g. the structures used for eating) and prey handling behavior (e.g. how predators eat their food).

More recently, this research has expanded to look at how different stages of BMSB have different communities of natural enemies. Ultimately, we hope to be able to better characterize the natural enemy community so that we can start designing landscapes to improve their effectiveness in managing BMSB.

Drs. Rob Morrison and Clarissa Mathews created the video, and Emily Fraser performed the narration. Research technician Brittany Poling made a guest appearance.

Video Transcript

When you think of insects, you might think of creepy crawlies infesting your home. But, not all insects are pests. In fact, many insects are beneficial and actually kill pests. These so-called "natural enemies" of pests are naturally-occurring predators or parasitoids that make their living by attacking various stages of other insects, and as a result, are beneficial to you and me.
Researchers studying an invasive pest from Asia, the brown marmorated stink bug, have been facing a dilemma. This smelly bug is a nuisance to homeowners and is wrecking havoc on farms across the mid-Atlantic region where it inserts its straw-like mouthparts into luscious fruits and vegetables, causing major economic losses. To better understand if our native natural enemies are starting to eat this invasive bug, researches have been placing eggs of the pest in agricultural crops and waiting to see what happens.

It was expected that parasitoids would attack the stink bug’s eggs. However, researchers have been noticing inexplicable damage to the eggs that is not caused by parasitoids. Increasingly, scientists have begun to think this damage may be caused by another natural enemy -- the predators.

Because it is not possible to watch the BMSB eggs while they are exposed in the field, we’ve embarked on a case of entomological whodunit. Think CSI meets Bill Nye. In the lab, we have been carefully photographing egg masses before allowing specific predators to feed, and then taking photographs afterwards to document specific types of damage caused by specific predator groups. This catalogue of photos will be helpful to ascribe certain types of egg damage we see in the field to specific predator groups and will help us quantify the impact of native predators in controlling BMSB populations.
Here are some highlights. It turns out that the way that a predator eats its dinner is important for the fate of an egg mass. Some predators, such as jumping spiders will completely remove an egg mass from the substrate, invert it, and eat the eggs individually, very slowly sucking the fluids out of the egg, with many of the eggs remaining after it is done.

Other predators, such as earwigs, are voracious and will mostly devour an egg mass, leaving only small fragments of egg shells, but still in the restricted area of the original egg mass. Yet other predators will pull off eggs individually, consume them, drop the remains elsewhere and repeat, such as ground beetles.

The damage caused to an egg mass, number of eggs affected, pattern of fragmentation, and sometimes whether an egg mass in the field is even present when retrieved, can all suggest a specific predator group. This information can be used by other researchers to get a better idea of the good work our native predators are doing to help control the invasive BMSB.
Our work has expanded more generally to understand how the native predator communities use different stages of BMSB. For instance, while assassin bugs won’t eat the eggs, they will readily attack the nymphs. Other predators, for example, the predatory spined soldier bug, eats eggs AND nymphs of the pest.

Ultimately, we hope this research will allow us to identify key predator groups, so we bolster these natural enemies in the field, and in the end, stop the stink bug invasion.
 

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

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