- Additional Plants: other
- Crop Production: conservation tillage, cover crops, crop rotation, cropping systems, intercropping
- Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, participatory research, workshop
- Pest Management: mulches - living, mulching - vegetative, weed ecology
- Production Systems: agroecosystems, holistic management, organic agriculture
- Soil Management: green manures, organic matter, soil analysis, soil microbiology, soil quality/health
In 2018, turmeric was reported to have the second highest farm value in published crops ($1.2 million) in Hawaii (USDA NASS, 2020). Despite its value as a crop, organic turmeric producers in Hawaii are limited by agricultural land availability, as well as fertilizer and pesticide options. As global agricultural production demands continue to climb and the need for regenerative, limited-input agricultural systems becomes more urgent, sustainable intensification via a thorough understanding of ecological processes merits critical examination.
Cover crops implemented in an intercropping system are a valuable tool for increasing productivity and profitability through decreased reliance on external inputs, increased yields, and enhanced ecosystem function. We propose to approach the issue of sustainable intensification with cover cropping through a collaborative partnership with a local turmeric cooperative. The intention of this project is to improve production ease and economic prospects for turmeric producers, in addition to conserving and enhancing natural resources, through the pursuit of novel cover crop research.
This collaborative project co-developed with a turmeric grower and processor will test 5 different cover crop species mixes as intercrops within a turmeric production field. Data on biomass (quantity and C:N ratio), ecological function (weed suppression, free-living nematode populations, and CO2 respiration), and turmeric yield as influenced by the different mixes will be collected over a total of 2 turmeric seasons. Project results will be communicated to growers, agricultural professionals and the public through multiple in-person and online communication styles and materials (see education plan for details).
Project objectives from proposal:
- To identify optimal species composition for intercropping cover crops in turmeric (Curcuma longa cv. Roma) production systems in Hawaii by assessing (1) biomass production, (2) ecological function, and (3) turmeric yield by 5 May, 2023.
- To disseminate project results to 200 local producers, as well as agricultural professionals, researchers, students, and interested community members through a series of workshops, online videos, and newsletter extension bulletins.