Sustainable Farming Educational Resources
The sustainable farming educational resource is a compilation of research articles, podcasts, presentations, videos and handouts. The search box allows for easy browsing and research. Or you can search by topic or resource type using the navigation on the left.
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David R. Montgomery defines regenerative agriculture as leaving the land better off and more fertile as a consequence of cultivation. In this research, he has defined three principles to build soil fertility; minimal disturbance, cover cropping, and growing a diversity of crops. David has studied the success of these principles around the world, from subsistence farmers to large commodity crops in North America. Healthy soils support more crop growth, have less erosion, and even look and smell healthier.
Imagine improving both the efficiency and safety of your team with autonomous drone vineyard spraying. That is exactly what David Goldfarb and the team at Clos de la Tech are trialing in their vine rows. Initially, they looked to drones as a way to scout for pests. Spraying was limited due to the small capacity of the machines. Then an advancement inspired by COVID stadium sanitation standards changed the game. A tethering system was created to attach the drone to a full-sized tank with a lightweight hose.
Emily Symmes, Entomologist and Technical Field Manager at Suterra, addresses the basics of vine mealybug (VMB) in grapes. VMB are phloem eaters, piercing the trunk, canes, and berry clusters and vectoring leafroll-associated viruses. In high populations, they will weaken the vines and can cause vine decline and death. Proper species identification is vital to understand biologies and seasonal cycles of the VMB. Monitoring should be managed with both pheromone trapping and scouting throughout the year.
When it comes to vertebrate pests, an integrated pest management plan is important for any crop, including vineyards. Roger Baldwin, Cooperative Extension Specialist with in the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology at the University of California at Davis explain the various ways growers can manage vertebrates including rodenticides, traps, beneficials, burrow fumigants, exclusion, and, exciting new opportunities with chemical repellants.
David Gadoury, Plant Pathologist at Cornell University, is part of a large team of international researchers testing UV light to control powdery mildew on a variety of crops including grapes. Scientists found that UV light for pest management is much more effective at night when microorganisms cannot employ their repair process which requires blue light. So far, trials have found that UV light is most effective against powdery mildews. In the best treatment scenarios, control is on par with best available fungicides. And now, UV light treatments are being paired with autonomous robots, providing potentially even greater efficiencies to growers.