- Fruits: grapes
- Crop Production: foliar feeding, organic fertilizers, application rate management, tissue analysis
- Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
- Pest Management: biological control, biorational pesticides, chemical control, compost extracts, field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management, mulches - killed, mulches - living, mating disruption, mulching - plastic, traps
- Production Systems: holistic management, integrated crop and livestock systems
- Soil Management: organic matter, soil analysis
The principal goal of the project is research and demonstration of a suite of crop and pest management tactics that will, when adopted, improve economic viability, maintain and enhance environmental quality, and protect worker and consumer health. The intent is to change the wine grape production system, not just to demonstrate one particular production practice or another.
The project will have a 4-year total duration and consist of the following general components: an initial three-state survey to precisely document the crop and pest management practices and inputs now in use by commercial wine grape growers in the three Southern New England (SNE) states; on-farm demonstration and applied research of several sustainable management tactics; training of field personnel by University-based faculty and professionals; frequent assessment of participating sites by trained field personnel; regular provision of useful crop and pest information to all SNE wine grape growers through a newsletter and other means; implementation of educational meetings and tours during the growing and dormant seasons; and a post-project evaluation survey of all SNE wine grape growers to determine specific practices changed and extent of change by comparisons between baseline practices/problems to those after project implementation. Rather than being a "shotgun approach" we believe that by demonstration of a number of system components, growers will have available the core of an integrated and sustainable production system for Southern New England wine grapes.
Performance targets will be accomplished through research and outreach on two farms each in MA, RI and CT over 3 growing seasons. The program shall include seasonal on-farm meetings at demonstration/research sites, dormant season workshops and conferences, newsletters, hard copy reports, fact sheets and information on Extension web sites.
Performance targets from proposal:
1. At least 50 southern New England wine grape growers/vineyard managers managing over 600 acres will participate in on-farm and other educational opportunities, research studies or tactic demonstrations and at least 25 will adopt 2 or more integrated and sustainable tactics on the majority of their acreage.
2. Six college-level individuals will receive training in grape production and scouting, and will participate in collecting, summarizing and evaluating data from the demonstration/research sites. At least one individual trained during the project will continue to offer fee-based vineyard monitoring and consulting services after the project ends.
Project activities will support the NESARE outcome statement by demonstrating realistic tactics which growers have expressed interest in and which they will actually adopt. In the process, beneficiaries will improve their profitability and have a positive influence on the environment by reducing unnecessary inputs and/or optimizing management of financial and natural resources.