Integrating Canola and Sunflower with Organic Grain Production and Southeastern United States

2012 Annual Report for LS10-232

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2010: $245,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2013
Region: Southern
State: Georgia
Principal Investigator:

Integrating Canola and Sunflower with Organic Grain Production and Southeastern United States


  • September 2012: Advisory Committee, including Donn Cooper with Georgia Organics, Ray Hicks, the County Agent for Screven County, Al Clark, an organic grower, and Charlotte Swancy, an organic grower, was assembled.

    Found one of UGA’s Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network Weather Stations located less than 500 m from the experimental plots. We are periodically downloading and compiling daily temperature and rainfall from this weather station. Monthly rainfall in inches since Sep. 2012 has been: 3.84 (Sept.), 1.56 (Oct.), 1.28 (Nov.), and 4.13 (Dec).

    10/3/2012: We held a conference call with our Advisory Committee. An overview of the objectives of the project was presented by the researchers. One of our challenges was identifying and finding varieties of organic wheat suitable to this area. Ray suggested Pioneer and Southern States, or contacting breeders at the Griffin campus and Auburn. Harry indicated David Marshall at ARS in NC might have some adapted organic seed. The group decided to look at relay cropping soybean into wheat because of concerns about weeds especially as wheat senesces and weeds begin to grow. We decided to no-till soybean in living wheat late-April early-May for June 1 wheat harvest. There was discussion about how we can harvest wheat profitably after soybeans are planted. Ray thought we would lose 60 to 70% of wheat yield. We decided to have another discussion with farmers and the NC researchers later this winter to discuss details of how this might be best done. Ray recommended monitoring for the newly-invasive kudzu bug on soybean. He also mentioned that sunflowers can become infested with seed maggots.

    Early Oct.: Field plots were established. They were first tilled to bury weed and crop debris and then deep turned and bedded to establish similar soil conditions for all plots at the beginning of the experiment.

    Mid. – Late Oct.: Soil sampling was done in all plots to determine soil fertility. Based on the results of these tests, Nature Safe fertilizer was applied to wheat plots at 1000 lbs/A 10-2-8 at preplant and to Rye/clover plots at 800 lbs/A 10-2-8 at preplant.

    Soil sampling was also done to get baseline information on soil C and N and mineralization rates. Soil cores were collected down to 4 ft from 6 locations per field. After storage in coolers for a time, cores were sectioned into 0-5, 5-15, 15-30, and 30-60 cm depth. Soil samples were then air-dried and weights were taken. Samples are being composited by plot.

    Early Nov.: Wheat and then rye/crimson clover plots were planted. Crops have grown well.

    Dec.: Soil water was monitored after planting. Soil water sensors were installed in each field (reps 1-3). Measurement was for 0-15, 15-30, 30-45, and 45-60 cm depths. We noticed values were approximately 25% of what they should be; therefore, a calibration process was initiated. These calibrations will be used to convert row reading to actual water contents.

    Organized and scheduled date and speakers for an organic grain production training workshop for county agents to be held on June 27, 2013 in Tifton, Ga.

Objectives/Performance Targets

  • Develop systems of organic grain production that integrate sunflower into traditional grain rotations using either conservation or conventional tillage
    Determine effects of different tillage systems for organic grain production on soil quality and soil physical properties.
    Transfer organic grain production technology to producers, technical service providers, and students.


  • Assembled Advisory Committee
    Held conference call with Advisory Committee
    Established field plots
    Sampled soil in plots to determine initial soil fertility
    Obtained baseline soil samples for soil quality information
    Fertilized plots
    Planted wheat
    Planted rye/crimson clover
    Monitored soil water after planting
    Downloaded daily rainfall and temperature data from a weather station near the field plots
    Scheduled date and speakers for organic grain production training workshop for county agents

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

This project is providing a better understanding of the challenges of organic grain production in this area and is in the process of developing methods to overcome these challenges.


Wes and Charlotte Swancy

[email protected]
Riverview Farms
954 White Graves Road
Ranger, GA 30734
Office Phone: 7063342926
Ray Hicks

[email protected]
Screven County Extension Coordinator
University of Georgia
321 Rocky Ford Road
Sylvania, GA 30467
Office Phone: 9125642064
Dinku Endale

[email protected]
Agricultural Engineer
1420 Experiment Station Road
Watkinsville, GA 3067-2373
Office Phone: 7067695631
Donn Cooper

[email protected]
Farmer Services Coordinator
Georgia Organics
200-A Ottley Drive
Atlanta, GA 30324
Office Phone: 6787020400
Dr. W. Carroll Johnson, III

[email protected]
Research Agronomist
Crop Protection and Management Unit
Tifton, GA 31793-0748
Office Phone: 2293872347
Dr. Alan Franzluebbers

[email protected]
NCSU Campus Box 7620
Raleigh, NC 27695
Office Phone: 9192089344
Tim and Liz Young

[email protected]
Natures Harmony Farm
1978 Baker's Ferry Road
Elberton, GA 30635
Office Phone: 7708428983
Al Clark, III

[email protected]
Clark & Sons Organics
526 Clark Farm Rd.
Twin City, GA 30471
Office Phone: 9128653200
Julia Gaskin

[email protected]
Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Driftmier Engineering Center
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602
Office Phone: 7065421401
Robert Davis

[email protected]
AgStrong Inc
P.O. Box 793
Winterville, GA 30683
Office Phone: 7067422229