Evaluation of Crop Rotation for High Value Cool Season Horticultural Crop Production in Organic and Sustainable Systems

2011 Annual Report for LS10-225

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2010: $200,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2014
Region: Southern
State: Georgia
Principal Investigator:
Dr. George Boyhan
University Of Georgia

Evaluation of Crop Rotation for High Value Cool Season Horticultural Crop Production in Organic and Sustainable Systems


We have collected data from both locations, in Watkinsville and Lyons, GA. This data has included information on soil fertility, crop yields, diseases, and economic data. The first year was not without problems. There were issues with establishing stands, proper fertilization, date of planting and weed control.
Beginning this fall (September) for the second year has gone much better, particularly in Athens. We harvested an excellent crop of carrots and broccoli. In addition, the establishment of onions and strawberries has gone well. Both are on plastic and are thriving. We have direct seeded English peas and plan on transplanting lettuce and planting potatoes next week (1st week March 2012). We continue to collect economic data on material costs and labor requirements. In addition, data on soil fertility and diseases continues.
The experiment at the Vidalia Farm in Lyons, GA has not been without struggles. The site selected for the experiment, although certified organic, has not been ideal. We continue to be plagued by wet conditions. It is at a low point in the field. Overall things are going better in the second year. Communication between all parties has increased with much better outcomes.

Objectives/Performance Targets

Problems with wet conditions at the Vidalia Farm are going to be addressed as best we can. First better communication with the Farm staff to insure they don’t overwater this part of the field. Second, a better drip irrigation system is to be installed at the Vidalia Farm that will allow us to control watering for individual plots. Better oversight is ongoing at the Vidalia Farm as well to insure the plots are better cared for and that the necessary economic data is being collected.
Students in the Organic Certification program are being brought in as an integral part of handling chores in this experiment as well as being taught about crop rotation and its benefits.
We have had meeting with both the south (Coastal Organic Growers, July 12, 2011) and north Georgia farmers (August, 2011) to review the results of the first year of the study and solicited their advice on how to correct some of the production problems.


Data for the first year has been collected and compiled in a machine readable format. Limited results have been shared with students and growers at the Horticulture Farm Field Day on October 7, 2011, South Georgia Small Farmers Conference on January 14, 2012, and Georgia Organics conference in February 25, 2012.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

We have been sharing results with growers and there has been positive feedback and helpful suggestions concerning the research as we move forward.


Dr. Elizabeth Little

Assistant Professor
University Of Georgia
2105 Miller Plant Science Bldg.
Athens, GA 3060-3052
Office Phone: 7065424774
Dr. Greg Fonsah

Associate Professor
University Of Georgia
15 Rural Development Center Road
Tifton, GA 31793
Office Phone: 2293863512
Julia Gaskin

Land Application Specialist
University Of Georgia
619 Driftmier Engineering Center
Athens, GA 30602
Office Phone: 7065421401