- Agronomic: corn, wheat
- Crop Production: cover crops, no-till
- Production Systems: organic agriculture
Organic dairy farmers must feed organically grown corn and wheat to their dairy herds in order to sell organic milk. Due to the unavailability of organically grown corn and wheat, Virginia feed mills supplying organic feed to dairy producers must import organic corn and wheat from neighboring states. A feed mill in Lancaster, PA purchases organic wheat and corn from neighboring states and the Midwest because Pennsylvania is a grain deficient state. The wheat will be used as milling flour for human consumption. If the wheat does not meet the standards for milling wheat then the wheat is used in dairy feed.
The organic methods for corn production which rely on extensive tillage have been unsatisfactory. Organic and sustainable production of corn demands a lush cover crop. The incorporation of this cover crop in preparation for planting has been proven to be problematic
The field production of organic no till corn and wheat using cover crops has not been tested to a large degree in Virginia. Farmers do not have do not have information on the practicality of these production methods and the financial costs and returns of organic no till production of corn and wheat using cover crops.
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We will establish side by side plots in Syria, Virginia to document the profitability and yields of growing organic corn in a no till system by comparing the effectiveness of using four cover crops for weed suppression.