- Vegetables: beans, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet corn
- Crop Production: conservation tillage
- Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, focus group, mentoring, networking, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
- Pest Management: biological control, chemical control, field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management, trap crops
- Production Systems: holistic management, integrated crop and livestock systems
- Soil Management: earthworms, green manures, organic matter, soil analysis, soil quality/health
In collaboration with farmers, we investigated the integration of four practices: winter cover crops, reduced tillage, pesticide refuges, and integrated pest management. The results showed that cover cropping had the biggest impact on improving soil quality, which promoted earthworms (even in tilled soils) and other soil biological and physical properties. Although strip tillage stimulated soil biological properties, there was a concurrent decrease in soil physical properties, which caused an increase in compaction. This resulted in decreased yields for snap beans, but broccoli and sweet corn were unaffected. Extension activities using the soil quality kit have been done. Reduced tillage seemed to promote the reduction of pesticide use but we had evidence that slugs and symphylans may be more problematic in these systems.
Project objectives:div style="margin-left:1em;">
1. To fully integrate farmer/scientist contributions to research, evaluation, and dissemination of findings related to the use of cover crops, reduced tillage, establishment of tillage and pesticide refuges, and the use of more integrated pest management tactics on vegetable production farms.
2. To establish a network of on-farm research and demonstration sites where large-scale, long-term studies compare conventional and integrated vegetable production systems.
3. To track changes and validate the utility of soil and biological indicators of agroecosystem integrity we have identified in our past research efforts.
4. Disseminate findings to promote integrated vegetable systems to farmers and agricultural professionals.