Project Details


The use of diverse cover crop mixtures is a rapidly expanding area of grower interest, yet there islittle science-based information to guide farmers toward mixture designs that meet their needs. To fill this gap, our long-term goal is to fine-tune, quantify, translate, and extend the benefits andtrade-offs of using cover crop mixtures across a range of soil, climate, and management conditions. Our recent research revealed that cover crop mixtures can serve multiple functions in organic feed systems, but the realized benefits depend on the mixtures' response to environment and management. Thus our goals are to: 1) reliably predict benefits and costs of cover crop mixtures in the context of regional climate, soil, and management variability, 2) empower organic grain farmers to use mixtures to meet farm-specific goals, and 3) integrate research intoundergraduate organic education. Our multidisciplinary research, extension, education, and farmer team will integrate experiments on one research station and seven organic farms in New York and Pennsylvania with a suite of innovative outreach activities. We will assess cover crop mixture performance based on profitability, yield, nutrient management, soil health, and pest management. We will foster co-learning with farmers and extension educators at events focused on "farm-tuning" mixtures to meet grower goals. Outreach will be a collaborative effort with two grower networks and two regional sustainable agriculture non-governmental organizations. Three universities (Penn State, Deleware State, and University of Maryland Eastern Shore) will collaborate to design research-based educational materials that strengthen undergraduate curricula.

Effective start/end date9/1/158/31/20


  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture: $999,972.00


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