|Improve Organic Nutrient Management|
|Improve Organic Pest Management|
|Train Future Organic Leaders and Workers|
|Educate Marketers, Public, and Policy Makers on Organic Opportunities and Needs|
Mineralization Rates of Pelletized Organic Fertilizers
Organic fertilizers are composed of complex blends of organic materials including blood, bone and feather meal, composts, and vegetable components. This project, organized by Dr. Charlotte Decock of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, evaluates commercially available fertilizers in the laboratory to determine their rates of nitrogen mineralization at different temperatures. Understanding nitrogen mineralization rates is important so that growers can match crop Nitrogen demands with an appropriate fertilizer rate.
Performance of Organic Plant Protectants
The plant protectants (insecticides and fungicides) used in organic production are largely derived from biological sources and often consist of living organisms. Understanding which products work on which pest complexes is complicated. In this project, we are working with Dr. Shunping Ding of Plant Sciences and Wine & Viticulture to develop a database of existing organic plant protectants used in vegetable crops and the existing efficacy data for them. This will be used to develop simple look-up charts for growers that indicate how different products are likely to perform on the pest complexes of specific vegetable crops. This project will guide future plant protectant efficacy work by the center.
Helping Organic Consumers Recognize "Good Bugs"
Organic insect pest management is heavily reliant on biological control, or the use of "good bugs" to manage "bad bugs." Many organic growers plant specific flowering plants such as sweet alyssum, dill, or cilantro to provide habitat for these insects. However, produce buyers and consumers sometimes have a hard time telling these "good bugs" from the bad ones. In this project, we are working with Dr. Moses Mike of Agriculture Education and Communication to develop social media pieces to educate organic consumers about why finding "good bugs" on their produce indicates that they are getting the synthetic pesticide-free products they are paying for!