- Fruits: apples, berries (other), berries (strawberries)
- Vegetables: beans, cabbages, greens (leafy), sweet corn, tomatoes
- Additional Plants: herbs
- Crop Production: foliar feeding, no-till, organic fertilizers
- Education and Training: extension, workshop
- Pest Management: biorational pesticides, botanical pesticides, chemical control, integrated pest management
Smaller-scale horticultural farmers grow a diversity of crops requiring an array of products for pest control and fertility, most frequently applied as liquids. A review of traditional and OMRI approved materials used in organic farming indicates significant deficiencies: a) detailed application instructions are generally not provided, only use rates; b) product formulations vary widely in viscosity and particle size; and c) agricultural professionals and farmers receive safety training, but have limited knowledge of smaller-scale liquid application technologies. This project provides “deployable” technical resources for agricultural professionals’ use. Sprayer manufacturers do not provide wide assortments of nozzle tips, strainers, filters and regulators. Other companies specialize in these accessories. This disconnect has consequences for farmers’ minimizing input use while maximizing efficacy. Accurate, timely, efficacious application of materials provides healthy products, while inadequate or inappropriate applications reduce consumer safety, product quality, and farm profits. Three one-day hands-on training sessions will be conducted in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Two training hardware kits with instructional curriculum will be provided each state. Training kits will consist of a sprayer and an array of nozzles, filters and regulators. Sixty individuals will attend the training sessions and 40 individuals will utilize knowledge and equipment provided to advance farmer educational programs through meetings and farm demonstrations. In the following year, 250 farmers will benefit through hands-on participation and instruction material. A one-year follow-up survey will be conducted assessing impact related to performance targets.
Performance targets from proposal:
Of the 60 professional agricultural educators trained at the three state training sessions, 40 utilize the sprayer training kits both on farm and at grower meetings. They will train 250 farmers within the next 2 years.
In addition, to advance performance targets, the original project participants will be encouraged through continued surveying to train second level agricultural education professionals in the use of training kits. These individuals will be composed of not yet identified educators who reside within university extension with vocational training skills (research farm technicians, etc.).