What's new in organic farming?
Roots showing damage by cabbage root fly
Using module companion planting of birdsfoot trefoil to control cabbage root fly
Cabbage root fly is a serious pest in brassica crops. It has been well documented that maintaining an under storey reduces the ability of pests to ’seek out’ the crop, but it is often difficult to achieve this at a level that will reduce pest infestation without reducing the yield through competition. Growers’ experience suggests that birdsfoot trefoil may be effective in controlling cabbage root fly, and there is the need to investigate this further. Further details here
Coriander interplanted in cabbage crop
Using umbelliferous species to attract predatory insects against cabbage aphid
Cabbage aphid can seriously reduce the quality of a range of brassica crops, especially later in the season. One method of reducing infestation is to encourage beneficial predatory insects such as hoverflies by planting strips of species that attract these insects. Further work is needed to investigate appropriate species for specific crops and other factors such as spatial arrangement within the crop.Further details here
Ashlyns training kitchen
Monitoring alternative marketing processes
Ashlyns launched the ’Feeding our Future’ scheme in 2004, an initiative to supply organic food to schools and improve the quality of school meals. Starting with just a handful of schools in Essex, this highly innovative scheme has mushroomed, dealing with over 100 schools by the end of the second year and running a training kitchen for school cooks. It has provided a role model for other regions to follow.Further details here
Asparagus crop at Church Farm, Bedford.
Monitoring feasibility of organic asparagus production
David Catlin decided to take on the challenge of growing organic asparagus. Although there were some hurdles to overcome, he is now reaping the benefits as it is very popular and is effective at drawing people into his farm shop where they buy his other produce too.
Read about his experiences and outcomes here. Further details here
Using alternative grasses in fertility building leys
Although ryegrass performs well under conditions of plentiful moisture, on lighter soils or areas of low rainfall, other grasses such as cocksfoot or timothy may show better establishment. Further work is needed to evaluate the use of these grasses in fertility building leys.Further details here
Price Exchange Group
Currently there is no provision for price information of organic vegetables as there is in the conventional sector. Therefore a mini pilot, price exchange group was set up in within the network to test the logistics of running such a group. The scheme proved very popular with the growers and there is still a strong demand for it to continue on a wider scale.Further details here
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