A reduced-tillage toolbox: Alternative approaches for integrating cover crops and reduced tillage in an organic feed and forage system

Project: Research project

Project Details


NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Our long-term goal is to develop organic cover crop-based, reduced-tillage annual cropping systems that overcome production constraints associated with abundant cover crop residue and narrow planting windows. Research station and complementary experiments on three organic farms will address production constraints by integrating our existing approach, no-till planting of cash crops into rolled cover crop mulch, with three alternatives: relay planting of cover crops into standing row crops using inter-seeder technology; no-till drill-seeding cover crops into a cereal grain in late winter; and manure injection using subsurface banding technology, enabling no-till cash crop management. These strategies may lengthen cover crop and cash crop growth windows, and provide nutrient management flexibility (incorporation of cover crops, manure timing and placement) for maximizing crop yields, while reducing tillage frequency and intensity. This information will be integrated into a concept-driven, decision support tool beta-version available online and in print to help growers manage crops, cover crops, soil fertility, and pests in organic cover crop-based, reduced tillage cropping systems. Outreach programs and materials will be developed and delivered to a broad audience by the project team and farmer cooperators through a variety of means, including interactions with two organic crop grower networks, and establishment of a third. Effectiveness of all extension products and activities will be evaluated. This project addresses the development and improvement of organic production; potential economic benefits of organic production; advanced on-farm research; and optimal conservation and environmental outcomes from organically produced products.

Effective start/end date9/1/148/31/19


  • U.S. Department of Agriculture: $1,999,760.00
  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture: $1,999,760.00


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