SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE RESEARCH AND EDUCATION IN THE FIELD

A PROCEEDINGS

Board on Agriculture

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1991



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SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE RESEARCH AND EDUCATION IN THE FIELD: A PROCEEDINGS SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE RESEARCH AND EDUCATION IN THE FIELD A PROCEEDINGS Board on Agriculture National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1991

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SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE RESEARCH AND EDUCATION IN THE FIELD: A PROCEEDINGS NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Frank Press is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Samuel O. Thier is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Frank Press and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. Support for the workshop and the proceedings was provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative State Research Service, under Agreement No. 90-COOP-2-5028. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 91-62492 ISBN 0-309-04578-9 A limited number of copies are available from: Board on Agriculture National Research Council 2101 Constitution Avenue Washington, DC 20418 Additional copies are available for sale from: National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Avenue Washington, DC 20418 S-417 Printed in the United States of America

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SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE RESEARCH AND EDUCATION IN THE FIELD: A PROCEEDINGS BOARD ON AGRICULTURE THEODORE L. HULLAR, Chairman, University of California, Davis PHILIP H. ABELSON, American Association for the Advancement of Science DALE E. BAUMAN, Cornell University R. JAMES COOK, Agricultural Research Service at Washington State University ELLIS B. COWLING, North Carolina State University ROBERT M. GOODMAN, University of Wisconsin, and National Research Council Scholar-in-Residence PAUL W. JOHNSON, Iowa House of Representatives NEAL A. JORGENSEN, University of Wisconsin ALLEN V. KNEESE, Resources for the Future, Inc. JOHN W. MELLOR, International Food Policy Research Institute DONALD R. NIELSEN, University of California, Davis ROBERT L. THOMPSON, Purdue University ANNE M. K. VIDAVER, University of Nebraska CONRAD J. WEISER, Oregon State University JOHN R. WELSER, The Upjohn Company JAMES E. TAVARES, Acting Executive Director CARLA CARLSON, Director of Communications BARBARA J. RICE, Editor

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SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE RESEARCH AND EDUCATION IN THE FIELD: A PROCEEDINGS Preface With the Office of Science and Education, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Board on Agriculture cosponsored the workshop, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education in the Field—1990, April 3 – 4, 1990. It included research reports from around the country that summarized recent progress in understanding the scientific and technological basis of sustainable and profitable agricultural production systems. The regional panels demonstrated the vastly different challenges facing farmers in different regions of the country. In addition, the workshop explored gaps in ongoing research efforts, common themes and approaches in successful research programs, and areas in need of additional effort or new research strategies. A mix of nationally recognized experts, including academic scientists, farmer-innovators, and agribusiness leaders, placed into perspective the scientific and technology challenges facing the nation in striving toward sustainable, profitable, and resource-conserving production systems. The workshop provided a forum for discussing field research results since the inception of the Low-Input Sustainable Agriculture (LISA) program in 1988. In the 1990 farm bill, the LISA program was renamed by Congress to be Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education. During its first 3 years of operation, the program has supported more than 100 projects on many topics essential to the development and profitable adoption of sustainable farming systems. Only a few of the projects were selected for presentation at the workshop. Other sustainable agriculture projects funded by USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and INFORM, a private nonprofit environmental research organization, were also selected for presentation.

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SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE RESEARCH AND EDUCATION IN THE FIELD: A PROCEEDINGS The workshop fostered dialogue about and understanding of the new research priorities and directions emerging across the country, not only in land-grant universities, but also in ARS and private organizations. Information and suggestions during the workshop will assist in setting research priorities in future years. The introduction to the report of the proceedings is followed by six parts. Part one presents an overview of general information and issues, including USDA's commitment to sustainable agriculture, the background and status of the program, challenges and rewards of research and education efforts, and economic considerations, as they pertain to midwestern farmers. Parts two through five present the findings of research projects in the western, southern, north central, and northeastern regions, respectively, along with reactors' comments. Part six is a summary of the workshop followed by appendixes that contain two poster session papers and a special topic paper. The contributions of several individuals warrant special mention. Paul O'Connell, deputy administrator of USDA's Cooperative State Research Service; Charles Benbrook, former executive director of the Board on Agriculture; and Patrick Madden, consultant, were instrumental in organizing the workshop and the report of the proceedings. All conference speakers and reactors are gratefully acknowledged for the timely submission of their contributions. THEODORE L. HULLAR, Chairman Board on Agriculture

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SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE RESEARCH AND EDUCATION IN THE FIELD: A PROCEEDINGS Contents     Introduction Charles M. Benbrook   1  PART ONE:   OVERVIEW       1  The U.S. Department of Agriculture Commitment to Sustainable Agriculture Charles E. Hess   13     2  Background and Status of the Low-Input Sustainable Agriculture Program Neill Schaller   22     3  Challenges and Rewards of Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education R. James Cook   32     4  Overview of Current Sustainable Agriculture Research John C. Gardner, Vernon L. Anderson, Blaine G. Schatz, Patrick M. Carr, and Steven J. Guldan   77     5  Economic Considerations in Sustainable Agriculture for Midwestern Farmers Michael Duffy   92  PART TWO:   RESEARCH AND EDUCATION IN THE WESTERN REGION       6  Comparative Study of Organic and Conventional Tomato Production Systems: An Approach to On-Farm Systems Studies Carol Shennan, Laurie E. Drinkwater, Ariena H. C. van Bruggen, Deborah K. Letourneau, and Fekede Workneh   109

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SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE RESEARCH AND EDUCATION IN THE FIELD: A PROCEEDINGS     7  STEEP: A Model for Conservation and Environmental Research and Education Robert I. Papendick   133     8  Soil Moisture Monitoring: A Practical Route to Irrigation Efficiency and Farm Resource Conservation Gail Richardson   145     9  Reactors' Comments   158      Research and Education in the Western Region, Dale R. Darling   158      A Farmer's Perspective, Robert A. Klicker   161  PART THREE:   RESEARCH AND EDUCATION IN THE SOUTHERN REGION       10  Southeastern Apple Integrated Pest Management Dan L. Horton, Douglas G. Pfeiffer, and Floyd F. Hendrix, Jr.   165     11  Low-Input Crop and Livestock Systems in the Southeastern United States John M. Luna, Vivien Gore Allen, W. Lee Daniels, Joseph P. Fontenot, Preston G. Sullivan, Curtis A. Laub, Nicholas D. Stone, David H. Vaughan, E. Scott Hagood, and Daniel B. Taylor   183     12  Solarization and Living Mulch to Optimize Low-Input Production System for Small Fruits Kim Patten, Jeff B. Hillard, Gary Nimr, Elizabeth Neuendorff, David A. Bender, James L. Starr, Gerard W. Krewer, Randall A. Culpepper, Mike Bruorton, and Barbara J. Smith   206     13  Reactor's Comments   226      Research and Education in the South, Raymond E. Frisbie   226  PART FOUR:   RESEARCH AND EDUCATION IN THE NORTH CENTRAL REGION       14  New Strategies for Reducing Insecticide Use in the Corn Belt Gerald R. Sutter and David R. Lance   231     15  On-Farm Research Comparing Conventional and Low-Input Sustainable Agriculture Systems in the Northern Great Plains Thomas L. Dobbs, James D. Smolik, and Clarence Mends   250     16  Low-Input, High-Forage Beef Production Terry Klopfenstein   266

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SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE RESEARCH AND EDUCATION IN THE FIELD: A PROCEEDINGS     17  Reactor's Comments   279      Low-Input Sustainable Agriculture Projects, Alternative Agriculture, and Related Issues, Harold F. Reetz, Jr.   279  PART FIVE:   RESEARCH AND EDUCATION IN THE NORTHEASTERN REGION       18  Long-Term, Low-Input Cropping Systems Research Rhonda R. Janke, Jane Mt. Pleasant, Steven E. Peters, and Mark Böhlke   291     19  Perspectives for Sustainable Agriculture from Nutrient Management Experiences in Pennsylvania Les E. Lanyon   318     20  Use of Fungal Pathogens for Biological Control of Insect Pests Raymond I. Carruthers, Alan J. Sawyer, and Kirsten Hural   336     21  Reactors' Comments   373      Time Frame for Sustainable Agriculture and Pollution Prevention Research, Clayton W. Ogg   373      Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education in the Northeast, James F. Parr   377      Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education in the Field, Neil H. Pelsue, Jr.   380  PART SIX:   SUMMARY       22  Assessing the Progress of Sustainable Agriculture Research Jonathan H. Harsch   387     APPENDIXES    A   Poster Sessions   393      Low-Input Sustainable Agriculture Farm Decision Support System, John E. Ikerd   393      Voison Controlled Grazing Management: A Better Way to Farm, William M. Murphy   400  B   Expert Systems: An Aid to the Adoption of Sustainable Agriculture Systems Edwin G. Rajotte and Timothy Bowser   406     Authors   428

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