Accelerating the Adoption of Low-input Sustainable Systems for Field Crops
The Western New York Crop Management Association (WNYCMA) is a grower-owned, non-profit cooperative providing on-farm consulting services to 115 farmers on 30,000 acres of field crops across seven counties in the region. Established in 1986, the program is designed to provide a complete service package resulting in the successful use of Best Management Practices on member farms, exclusively using land-grant-based recommendations for integrated pest management; on-farm nutrient management system; and cultural practices. Additionally the cooperative provides a most comprehensive crop enterprise data base program on each field in the program. Growers enrolled in this cooperative are presently implementing best management systems, and continue to explore new avenues to further develop systems which reduce dependence on chemically based inputs. This collective group also provides a working demonstration of the benefits, both economic and environmental, associated with alternative agriculture practices. A close working relationship with Cornell University and Cooperative Extension provides a mutual exchange of information benefiting members and non-members alike.
The WNYCMA participated in the LISA program's 1988 project year, and successfully established six on-farm demonstration projects. During 1990, the WNYCMA carried out another successful year of LISA activities, including a summer tour attended by 117 farmers and agency representatives, co-sponsored by Cornell University and several USDA agencies, geared to Integrated Crop Management and LISA demonstrations.
(1) Continue to establish unique and applicable field-scale trials using selected low-input strategies and variations on Crop Management Association farms.
(2) Monitor crop development and measure seasonal progress through intensive scouting programs implemented by the CMA.
(3) Measure yields, quality, and other factors and compare the practices using portable scales and/or small plot yield assessments.
(4) Develop an economic analysis of each practice.
(5) Hold co-sponsored field days at the field locations to demonstrate these and other related practices.
(6) Publish project findings and related information annually in booklet form for dissemination to growers in the CMA, the local region, New York State, and the northeast.
(7) Develop a high-quality publication at the project's conclusion, outlining the transitional factors necessary to changing management practices toward reducing chemical input dependency.
(8) Continue to develop slide presentation materials and other audio-visual products to be used by interested educators across the region.
(9) Continue disseminating practice recommendations through extension publications, CMA newsletters, and other available media.
(10) Further expand the development of quality private sector services which align themselves with sustainable management practices and adhere to the land grant system of research and education.