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Systems Strategies for Weed Management on Organic Grain Farms

Principal Investigator:  Joel B. Gruver, Assistant Professor of Soil Science and Sustainable Agriculture, School of Agriculture, Western Illinois University

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Weed management is commonly identified as the most serious challenge faced by organic grain farmers; yet, discussion with organic inspectors active in the Midwest region consistently indicates that some organic grain farmers are very effective weed maangers. With the support of funding from the Ceres Trust, we used in-depth interviews with 24 organic farmers (and 3 organic crop consultants) recognized for excellent weed management skills to explore the on-farm dimensions of successful weed management. In addition, we conducted 3 field experiments at the WIU organic research farm to investigate the impacts of tillage intensity and intercropping on weed and crop performance. Lastly, we employed a wide variety of outreach methods including field days, conference presentations, internet forum discussions and a compilation of 9 farmer/consultant profiles titled Excellence in Organic Weed Management: insights from the field to share the information gathered through this project.

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