Jan 6, 2023
OFRF & FFAR fund research of best practices for cover crops
The Organic Farming Research Foundation and the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research announced its fifth award for the 2021/22 OFRF organic research grant cycle.
Axel Garcia y Garcia of the University of Minnesota, was awarded $20,000 to research effective management practices to include cover crops into long-season cash crops.
Inclusion of cover crops continues to be a priority for organic farmers, but many struggle with successful establishment in long-season cash crops, especially in the upper Midwest. Typical practices of aerial seeding into standing corn and drilling after fall harvest have yielded inconsistent results leading to low adoption rates. Farmer ingenuity has fueled many independent investigations that spark interest, but have lingering questions on timing, species selection, and methods that demand answers to make the outcomes repeatable and consistent.
This project will address these needs by evaluating how well different cover crop species establish depending on method of seeding. It will help determine the effects of cover crop species on corn yield, soil fertility and weed incidence. By including several species, this research will evaluate treatment interactions to help understand best management practices for individual cover crop species. Researchers hope that this information could potentially help growers select species based on their production system and available equipment.
This year’s research grant program prioritized farmers, early career researchers, and BIPOC applicants. The six projects chosen focus on climate mitigation and building on-farm resilience and have been awarded a grand total of $119,817 in funding. The 2021/22 cycle was made possible by a $66,000.00 grant from FFAR and matching funds from OFRF and its research partners.
To date, OFRF has invested over $3 million in 361 grants across North America to advance scientific knowledge and improve the ecological sustainability and economic prosperity of organic farming systems. All OFRF-funded research must involve farmers or ranchers in project design and implementation, take place on certified organic land, and include strong education and outreach components. All research results are freely available in OFRF’s online database.