Presenter: Katie J. Linder
Advisor: Dr. Doug Doohan, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science
Proposal Type: MS Proposal
Title of Presentation: Balancing soils and rotating crops as a form of weed control
Abstract: Organic farmers face the staggering task of controlling weeds without the use of herbicides. To accomplish this task, mechanical, physical methods, and cultural forms of weed control, such as crop rotation, are used. Crop rotation, interseeding and cover crops are important to a successful weed control program, as well as soil health. Many organic farmers believe that weeds indicate an imbalance, or deficiency, in the soil. In my research to balance the soil, proprietary amendments from Green Field Farms Cooperative in Wooster, Ohio will be used, and gypsum and limestone will also be studied. Gypsum is of particular interest because it is quickly infiltrates through the soil, allowing calcium saturation at deeper levels and neutralizing toxic cations. The proposed research aims to determine whether the aforementioned soil amendments are effective aids in weed control in conjunction with a crop rotation of corn, soybeans and wheat and/or oats underseeded with clover in organic systems. By achieving balance in the soil, crop health will improve and allow crops to grow more vigorously. In addition to improved vigor, crops will be able to close the canopy more quickly, thus, the crops will be able to out-shade weed species or prevent germination of weed species. Using preventive methods of weed control are long-term solutions and can reduce the weed seed bank over time. A healthy, balanced soil, some organic farmers believe, will prevent weed issues. Several agricultural companies claim to have soil amendments that will aid in weed control, which can sometimes lead to beliefs that are not well-backed in scientific data. The proposed research will provide more data for organic farmers to base their beliefs on and to open a communication pathway through which these producers can receive reliable information.
January 29, 2014
121 Fisher in Wooster
244 Kottman in Columbus