- Agronomic: rye
- Vegetables: sweet corn, tomatoes
- Animal Production: manure management
- Crop Production: cover crops, municipal wastes, nutrient cycling, organic fertilizers
- Education and Training: demonstration, extension, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
- Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns
- Production Systems: holistic management
- Soil Management: composting, organic matter, soil analysis, nutrient mineralization, soil quality/health
A comparison of the agronomic, economic and environmental effects of compost, poultry litter, and inorganic fertilizers on three organic farms demonstrated that soil chemical and physical properties were improved with agronomic rates of compost compared with low rates of compost, poultry litter or fertilizer. Accurately estimating nitrogen availability, not the source of nitrogen, was most critical to preventing groundwater contamination by nitrate-N and increasing yields.
The goals described above will be achieved by assessing the effects of compost, manure, and fertilizer on:
1. soil biological, chemical and physical properties indicative of soil quality;
2. nutrient leaching and runoff;
3. Average yield levels, net economic returns, and the variability of both yield and net economic returns over multiple production periods.