- Crop Production: conservation tillage
- Soil Management: general soil management
Sustainable tillage practices that promote soil health are an integral part of sustainable agriculture. Annual vegetable production is very tillage-intensive, and growers are increasingly interested in tools and techniques that will protect soil structure and long-term productivity. On most commercial vegetable farms in the Northeast, aggressive tillage with rotovators, heavy disks, and/or plows is common, and much of the soil surface is left uncovered during the season. There is a need for agricultural service providers to conduct more education about alternative tillage tools and strategies, the benefits they offer, and how to best use them. This project will produce a broadcast quality, one-hour video that features ten experts filmed in the field. Half the experts will be vegetable farmers from different states who describe and demonstrate soil spaders, chisel plows, subsoilers, and other equipment, and how they fit into the farm’s cropping system. In addition, research and extension specialists will explain the principles of soil physical health, tillage effects on soil, and the use of alternative tillage systems. They will demonstrate and explain the tools and techniques associated with no-till, ridge-till, zone-till and other high-residue cropping systems for vegetables, based on the results of research and education projects previously funded by NE-SARE. An advisory group will help plan the video, review video drafts and make suggestions, and assist with promotion during video distribution. A professional video company will film, edit and produce the video. Using list-serves, E-mail and web site promotion, the video will be distributed free-of-charge to 400 agency personnel and agricultural educators in 2007 and 2008.
Performance targets from proposal:
Of the 400 agricultural service providers that receive the sustainable tillage video, 200 will use it in their programs, reaching at least 2,000 farmers.