- Crop Production: agroforestry, pollination, pollinator health
Diverse Agroforestry (DA) systems offer many benefits for farmers and society. Despite the increasing implementation of these systems at relatively large scales, there has been no rigorous on-farm evaluation of the impact of various management strategies on the growth and yield of these systems. The inherent complexity of DA systems makes effective research and outreach difficult, especially when working with a distributed network of farms. As of 2015, seventeen Midwest farmers participating in the Savanna Institute’s Case Study Program voluntarily document cash flow, labor, inputs, and management techniques in their DA enterprise. Four of these farms, representing a range of DA management strategies, are selected here to conduct more intensive research and outreach. Collaborating farmers will partner with Savanna Institute staff and a new entomologist intern to evaluate the growth and yield of DA systems across a range of management strategies, identify baseline pollinator communities, and monitor crop pests/pathogens. Outreach to current and potential DA farmers will take place via on-farm field days as well as through printed and online documentation of results.
Project objectives from proposal:
1) Evaluate the growth and yield of DA systems across a range of management strategies
2) Identify baseline pollinator communities present in and interacting with DA systems compared to an adjacent natural area
3) Identify & monitor pests and pathogens affecting the novel woody perennial crops included in DA systems
1) Document the establishment & growth of DA systems via time-lapse photography
2) Distribute results via printed materials, online media, and field days