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The Gates Farm Long-Term Soil Health Research Site: What, How and Results To-Date... G.S. Abawi Department of Plant Pathology G.S. Abawi Department of.

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Presentation on theme: "The Gates Farm Long-Term Soil Health Research Site: What, How and Results To-Date... G.S. Abawi Department of Plant Pathology G.S. Abawi Department of."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Gates Farm Long-Term Soil Health Research Site: What, How and Results To-Date... G.S. Abawi Department of Plant Pathology G.S. Abawi Department of Plant Pathology

2 Goals for Gates Farm: Establish a long-term soil health research site to promote multi-disciplinary research Assess the impact of soil management practices on soil quality... Crop rotation, cover crops, and tillage Living laboratory for hands-on training

3 Long-term soil health research site Located at NYSAES, Geneva, NY 14-acre site (previously in cabbage production) Split-split plot design with 4 reps 3 tillage treatments (plow, no-till, strip-till) 3 cover crop treatments (none, rye, vetch) 2 crop rotations (continuous vegetable vs. soil-building crops)

4 Rep 1 Rep 2 Rep 3 Rep 4 CROP ROTATION: COVER CROP: Continuous vegetable Veg w/ soil-building crops No cover Rye cover crop Vetch cover crop Strip-till Plow till No-till Each block is 400ft x 120ft N

5 No-till Rye cover Vetch cover No cover Plow till Strip-till REP 3 NYSAES, Geneva, NY

6 Gates Farm: Crop Rotations Continuous vegetable rotation Soil-building rotation 2003 Bean 2004 BeetField corn 2005 Sweet cornOats/sweet clover 2006 Peas?Soybean? 2007 Bean

7 Gates Farm: Cover Crops Continuous vegetable rotation Soil-building rotation Fall 2003 No cover, Rye grain, Vetch Fall 2004 No cover (late harvest) Fall 2005 No cover, Rye grain, Vetch Barley/sweet cover Vegetable Soil-building Vetch No cover Rye grain

8 Strip-Tillage Equipment

9 Ridge Building and Planting Equipment

10 No-till planting equipment

11 Soil Health Indicators Tier 1 indicators Water stable aggregates ( mm) Bulk density Available water capacity Texture by feel Field penetration resistance Root heath bioassay Active Carbon PMN Standard chemical analysis Physical Chemical Biological

12 Results so far.... Minimal changes in soil physical indicators (bulk density, aggregate stability, penetration resistance, etc.) Suggests a minimum transition period May reflect reduced sampling in spring 2005 Significant changes in soil biological indicators Soil microbes are able to respond to environmental changes more rapidly

13 Soil Bioassay w/ Bean for Assessing Soil Health Soil collection Root rot severity rating (1 = healthy to 9 = primary roots rotted) Beans grown in greenhouse 5 to 6 weeks Beans grown in greenhouse 5 to 6 weeks Bean roots are washed Bean seed planted in field soil

14 Root rot severity rating Tillage and cover crop system Plow-till Strip-till No-till Root health assessment NYSAES, Gates Farm 2004 and Root health assessment NYSAES, Gates Farm 2004 and – back 2005 – front

15 Gates Farm: Plow-Till, Vetch Cover Crop 2004

16 Gates Farm: Strip-Till, Vetch Cover Crop 2004

17 Gates Farm: Yield Data 2004 Yields2005 Yields Tillage System Beet root wt (lb/10ft) Field corn top wt (lb/ 10 plants) Sweet corn (ears/10ft) NumberWt (lb) No-till/ ridge till 12.5a22.3a13.2a8.3a Plow till 11.7a24.8a9.7b4.9b Strip-till 8.3b22.1a12.5a7.6a P -value <0.0001

18 2004 Yields2005 Yields Cover crop Beet root wt (lb/10ft) Field corn top wt (lb/ 10 plants) Sweet corn (ears/10ft) NumberWt (lb) Vetch 12.7a25.0a12.1a7.2a No cover crop 10.5ab21.8b11.9a7.1a Rye grain 9.3b22.4ab11.4a6.5a P -value Gates Farm: Yield Data

19 Growth/vigor/color Vigor ratings of sweet corn under different tillage systems and cover crops (1=least, 5= greatest vigor). NYSAES, Gates Farm July 05. Vigor ratings of sweet corn under different tillage systems and cover crops (1=least, 5= greatest vigor). NYSAES, Gates Farm July 05. Tillage system Cover crop

20 The Gates Farm: What’s next...

21 Acknowledgements Research Labs David Wolfe George Abawi Harold van Es Janice Thies Renuka Rao Cornell Cooperative Extension Educators New York Grower Cooperators The Farm Research Unit Staff - NYSAES Soil Health Team (partial list) Funding Sources: NE-SARE NYS/CU IPM FFF Hatch Program CCE/Smith-Lever NNY – Ag & Markets Program Funding Sources: NE-SARE NYS/CU IPM FFF Hatch Program CCE/Smith-Lever NNY – Ag & Markets Program


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