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Crop Production Sustainable Small Farming & Ranching Crop Management.

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Presentation on theme: "Crop Production Sustainable Small Farming & Ranching Crop Management."— Presentation transcript:

1 Crop Production Sustainable Small Farming & Ranching Crop Management

2 Managing Crops  Water  Climate  Soil  Pests  Rotations and cover crops  Tillage  Harvest/Post Harvest  Equipment

3 Water MS clipart photo

4 Water  Quantity available Average annual rainfall and what times of year Alternative water sources – volume, timing  Check regulations – water rights  Crop requirements – specific to crop Overall crop moisture needs Drought tolerance – root depth, leaf structure Critical water times – fruit set, root development Consistency important for most

5 Climate  First and last frost dates (growing season)  Average low temperatures (Hardiness zones)  Growing degree days (no. of days accumulated above a certain temperature) Fruit ripening Monitoring insects

6 Working around the Climate  Appropriate varieties/cultivars  Cultural practices Raised beds Transplants instead of direct seeding  Season extension tools Greenhouses Tunnels Cold frames Row covers Plastic mulches

7 Season Extension Tools ToolAdvantagesDisadvantages Heated double poly greenhouse Long season; environmental control High initial costs; high utility costs to maintain Single poly high tunnel, unheated Lower cost; extends season Minimal frost protection Cold framesHardening off transplants Limited volume restricts uses


9 Season Extension Tools (cont.) ToolAdvantagesDisadvantages Solid row coversEnhance early growth Can overheat; require hoops Floating row covers Enhance growth in field; exclude insect pests Must be removed for pollination; May tear in wind Plastic mulchesEnhance early yield; easy to use Annual removal and disposal cost

10 Hoop Houses

11 Hoop Houses / Greenhouses

12 Floating Row Covers


14 Plastic Mulches

15 Crop Rotations  Numerous ecological and other benefits to the farm  Consider plant characteristics to help you develop a plan Plant families Moisture requirements Rooting depths Nitrogen fixing plants Warm season - cool season crops Allelopathic crops Cover crops/green manures

16 Cover Crops and Green manures  Keep it covered: Prevent erosion Shade out weeds Prevent freezing and thawing of soils Hosts for beneficial insects  Incorporate it: Add nitrogen Increase organic matter

17 Cover Crops and Green manures

18 Use of Cover Crops/Green Manures  Identify your problem N source, fight weeds, soil builder, erosion  Identify when you could fit them into your rotations late summer, winter, spring ?  Identify the right type of cover crop Depending on use, what does well

19 Use of Cover Crops/Green Manures Click on image to start video

20 Types of Cover Crops  Sweet clovers  Hairy Vetch  Winter rye  Barley  Black medic  Winter peas  Mustards  Buckwheat Click on image to start video

21 Use of Cover Crops N Source Soil Builder Erosion fighter Loosen subsoil Weed fighter Pest fighter Winter peas Hairy Vetch Medic Rye Clover Barley Rye Barley Sorghum cross Clover Rye Wheat Barley Rye Sorghum

22 Cover Crops as Living Mulches Click on image to start video

23 Soil Cultivation

24 Soil Cultivation Methods  Different types: deep tillage, shallow tillage, surface cultivation  Equipment varies  Used for different purposes

25 Impacts of Excessive Tillage  Decrease soil organic matter  Reduction in soil biological activity  Destruction of soil aggregates  Reduction of nutrient & water holding capacity  Loss of soil pore space and decreased gas exchange

26 Conservation Tillage  Reduced tillage by planting directly into last year’s crop residues.  Ridge tillage and no-till are different types  Other methods include: mulch tillage kill mulch living mulch zone tillage

27 Minimum Tillage of Vegetables?  Check out Steve Groff’s web site: Cedar Meadow Farm Permanent Cover Cropping System

28 Harvesting considerations  When and how to harvest  Labor requirements

29 Handling and Storage  Proper equipment and process  Sorting/packing  Storage

30 Crop production summary  Management of sustainable cropping systems relies on planning ahead. Things to consider in your plan include: Planting methods Crop rotation plan Use of cover crops/green manure Tillage strategies Timing of harvest and post-harvest handling procedures

31 Credits Presentation developed by Cultivating Success TM : Sustainable Small Farms Education. Photos provided by Cultivating Success staff, unless otherwise noted. Video segments taken from: “Weed ‘Em and Reap, Part 2: Reduced Tillage Strategies for Vegetable Cropping Systems.” Produced by Alex Stone, Oregon State University, Department of Horticulture. Copywrite 2005, Oregon State University.

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