Cooperative Farmer–Scientist Evaluations of Biologically Integrated Soil and Pest Management Practices

in HortScience
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  • 1 1Univ. of California, Calif.
  • | 2 2USDA NRCS Fresno Field Office, Calif.
  • | 3 3Five Points, Calif.

In Fall 1995, 12 row crop farmers in conjunction with Univ. of California, NRCS and private agency advisors established the West Side On-Farm Demonstration Project to conduct demonstrations of soil and pest management options aimed at sustained profitability and environmental stewardship in the western San Joaquin Valley of California. Monitoring of soil physical, chemical, and biological properties is done in side-by-side on-farm comparisons of plots amended with organic inputs and unamended plots. Intensive monitoring of beneficial and pest insects is carried out within each comparison block, and the data generated is used to guide pest management decision-making at each site. Yields and soil characteristics of the amended plots did not differ from those of unamended plots after the first year. The on-farm context and the cooperative farmer–scientist interactions of this project facilitate the development of timely and relevant research directions to be pursued beyond the core set of monitoring activities.

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