Growing Magazine - June, 2009

DEPARTMENTS

Organic Update

Sulfate of Potash and Sweet Potato Crop Yields

University studies sponsored by Great Salt Lake Minerals Corp. (GSL) indicate that sulfate of potash may be a more effective potassium fertilizer for sweet potato crops than traditional muriate of potash (MOP), increasing the yield of U. S. No. 1 sweet potatoes by as much as 32 percent in preliminary studies.

Ongoing crop trials at Louisiana State University Agricultural Center compared the effect of different sources of potassium fertilizer on the yield and quality of sweet potatoes. In the crop trials, SOP treatments produced more bushels per acre of sweet potatoes and more U.S. No. 1 sweet potatoes than treatments of MOP. Additional sweet potato trials are currently underway with the University of California, Davis,  and North Carolina State University.

GSL offers an organic SOP that is listed as an approved source for potassium and sulfur by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI).

USDA to Conduct Organic Ag Survey

USDA will conduct the first-ever, wide-scale survey of organic farming in the United States to find out how the growth of organic farming is changing the face of U.S. agriculture. The 2007 Census of Agriculture counted more than 20,000 U.S. farms engaged in organic production. The new survey will look at many aspects of organic farming during the 2008 calendar year—from production and marketing practices, to income and expenses. It will focus not only on operations that are currently engaged in organic production, but also on those making the transition to organic agriculture.

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) mailed the survey in early May to all known organic producers in the United States, who are asked to respond by June 17. NASS will publish results in winter 2009.

Participants can mail back their forms or complete the survey online at www.agcensus.usda.gov. Survey participants are guaranteed by law (Title 7, U.S. Code) that their individual information will be kept confidential. NASS uses the information only for statistical purposes and publishes data only in tabulated totals.

New Organic Nematicide

Monterey AgResources announced that Nema-Q, an organic nematicide, is now  registered by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. Nema-Q is the only nematicide based on Quillaja, an extract from a tree native to Chile. The nematicide has been used successfully in Chile for several years.

Nema-Q is listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) for use in organic production. It acts directly on the plant parasite nematodes that cause damage by feeding on roots, and is highly effective in a wide range of agricultural applications, including vegetables, tree fruit, nuts, vine crops, ornamentals and turf. Nema-Q can be applied through the irrigation system by drip, micro-sprinkler, or band application.

Marrone Organic Innovations Changes Identity

Marrone Organic Innovations, Inc. has revised its name to Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. (MBI) in a move to more accurately represent the company’s leadership in the discovery and development of effective and environmentally responsible pesticide active ingredients from novel biological sources.

Despite the broader scope of the company’s target audience, the development of safe and effective pest management products that are approved for organic markets continues to rank high in importance at MBI. Several new products are in the development pipeline at MBI for organic and conventional ag, as well as for other uses.

Information on the company and its products can be found at the Web site www.marronebioinnovations.com.