Soil Health in Organic Farming
One challenge of all specialty crops, especially in organic systems, is trying to reduce soil disturbance as much as possible. Dr. Jeff Mitchell is a Vegetable Crops Specialist with the UC Cooperative Extension and the Director of the Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation Center. He is working with some long-time organic farmers throughout the state to research practices that may help them improve their soil health.
Mitchell… “A lot of them recognize that they had, maybe pushed things forward and maybe reached a bit of a plateau with their management practices in the organic system after a while there. Many of these guys have been doing this for 30 years already there, so they've got the organic fertility, the organic weed management, the crop rotation elements of their systems down pretty well, and they all are and have been very successful farmers. But they realize that one of the things that they were still relying on was soil disturbance, soil tillage. And it's customarily very much needed in organic production systems. So how could they individually and collectively push forward and reduce that tillage disturbance in their system? That was the unifying bond, I guess.”
Dr. Mitchell says the group is partially supported by a USDA/NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG). I’ll be sharing more about their soil health work and findings on upcoming reports.