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Webinars by eOrganic

Live and archived webinars on organic farming and research

Learn the latest in organic farming practices and research by attending or watching an eOrganic Webinar. Sign up for upcoming webinars to watch slides, listen to the presenter, and type in questions during the live events. To receive notices about upcoming webinars, and find out when we post the archived sessions, sign up for the eOrganic newsletter.

Register for upcoming webinars or browse our extensive archive of past webinars in chronological order below, or view them by topic

You can also find the webinar recordings on the eOrganic YouTube channel.

Registration is now open for upcoming 2017 webinars at the links below. 

Upcoming Webinars Presenters Date Organic Seed Production Six Webinar Series 2017 Organic Seed Alliance and Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture May 16, June 10, 

 

 

Archived Webinars Presenters Date Use of High Glucosinolate Mustard as an Organic Biofumigant in Vegetable Crops Heather Darby and Abha Gupta, University of Vermont Extension; and Katie Campbell-Nelson, University of Massachusetts April 11, 2017 Taking Stock of Organic Research Investments 2002-2014 Diana Jerkins and Joanna Ory, Organic Farming Research Foundation; Mark Schonbeck, Virginia Association for Biological Farming April 6, 2017 Using Biofungicides, Biostimulants and Biofertilizers to Boost Crop Productivity and help Manage Vegetable Diseases Giuseppe Colla, Tuscia University, Mariateresa Cardarelli, Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Dan Egel, Laurie Hoagland, Purdue University March 30, 2017 Tomato Varietal Improvement Julie Dawson, University of Wisconsin; Lori Hoagland and Dan Egel, Purdue; James Myers and Kara Young, Oregon State, Laurie McKenzie, Jared Zystro, Organic Seed Alliance March 7, 2017 Integrated Clubroot Management for Brassica Crops Aaron Heinrich and Alex Stone, Oregon State University February 15, 2017 Providing Habitat for Wild Bees on Organic Farms Elias Bloom and Rachel Olsson, Washington State University; Bridget McNassar, Oxbow Farm February 7, 2017 Management of Spotted Wing Drosophila Using Organic Strategies Ash Sial, UGA; Mary Rogers, UMN; Christelle Guedot, UWisc; Kelly Hamby, UMD;Rufus Isaacs, MSU; Tracy Leskey, USDA; Vaughn Walton, OSU February 1, 2017 Management Options for Striped Cucumber Beetle in Organic Cucurbits Abby Seaman, Jeffrey Gardner, Cornell University January 11, 2017 Managing Cucurbit Downy Mildew in Organic Systems in the Northeast Christine Smart, Cornell University Dec 6, 2016

Organic Seed Production Six Webinar Series:

  1. Introduction, Field Planning, Recordkeeping. Recording
  2. Trials and Selection.
  3. Diseases and Pests 
  4. Seed Quality, Harvesting, Equipment
  5. Cleaning and Recordkeeping Redux, Case Study
  6. Seed Contracting, Economics and Policy
Organic Seed Alliance and Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture June-November 2016 Viral Diseases in Cucurbits: Identification and Management Strategies John Murphy, Auburn University October 19, 2016 Targeted Sheep Grazing in Organic Dryland Systems Fabian Menalled, Devon Ragen, Perry Miller, Montana State University October 11, 2016 How to Implement and Verify Biodiversity Conservation Activities in Organic Agricultural Systems Jo Ann Baumgartner, Wild Farm Alliance; John Quinn, Furman University October 5, 2016 Selecting "Modern" Heirloom Dry Beans Thomas Michaels, University of Minnesota July 13, 2016 Supplementing the Organic Dairy Herd Diet with Flaxseed Andre Brito, University of New Hampshire and Heather Darby, University of Vermont May 12, 2016 Evaluating Sprouted Grains on Grazing Dairy Farms Kathy Soder, USDA ARS April 7, 2016 Impacts of the Food Safety Modernization Act on Diversified Organic Vegetable Farms Erin Silva, University of Wisconsin; Dan Stoeckel, Cornell University March 29, 2016 Unique Fly Control Methods for Organic Dairy Production Roger Moon and Brad Heins, University of Minnesota March 24, 2016 Good Sense Food Safety Practices on Organic Vegetable Farms Chris Blanchard, Purple Pitchfork March 16, 2016 Working With Local Organic Grains Stefan Senders, Wide Awake Bakery; Peter Endriss, Runner & Stone Bakery and Restaurant; Dan Avery, Dakota Earth Bakery; Steve Gonzalez, Sfoglini Pasta Shop  March 8, 2016 Design and Management of Organic Strawberry/Vegetable Rotations Carol Shennan, Joji Muramoto, University of California Santa Cruz  March 2, 2016 New Times: New Tools: Cultivating Resilience on Your Organic Farm Laura Lengnick, Cultivating Resilience LLC February 23, 2016 Growing Vegetables and Fruit without Irrigation in Northern California and the Maritime Pacific Northwest Amy Garrett, Oregon State University; Jacques Neukom, Neukom Farm; Steve Peters, Seed Revolution Now and Organic Seed Alliance February 19, 2016 A Novel Nutritional Approach to Rearing Organic Pastured Broiler Chickens (Part 2) Michael Liburn, Larry Phelan, The Ohio State University/OARDC February 16, 2016 Grazing Systems and Forage Quality of Grasses for Organic Dairy Production Brad Heins, University of Minnesota February 11, 2016 Wild Bee Monitoring, Education, and Outreach in Organic Farming Systems Elias Bloom, Rachel Olssen, Washington State University; Rosy Smit, Camp Korey February 10, 2016 Organic Seed Growers Conference Live Broadcast of Selected Presentations various: Recordings coming soon! February 5-6, 2016 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium various: Recordings coming soon! January 20, 2016 Connections between Biodiversity and Livestock Well-Being Juan Alvez, University of Vermont January 14, 2016 Bovine Fatty Acids: From Forage to Milk Melissa Bainbridge and Caleb Goossen, University of Vermont December 17, 2015 Nitrogen Management in Organic Strawberries: Challenges and Approaches Joji Muramoto and Carol Shennan, University of California Santa Cruz; Mark Gaskell, UC Cooperative Extension December 16, 2015 An Integrated Approach to Managing Yellowmargined Leaf Beetle in Crucifer Crops Rammohan Balusu and Ayanava Majumdar, Auburn University; Elena Rhodes, University of Florida Gainesville December 9, 2015 Biological Control of Cole Crop Pests on the California Central Coast Diego Nieto, University of California Santa Cruz December 2, 2015 Extreme Weather: Challenges and Opportunities for Organic Farming Systems in the Midwest Region Joel Gruver, Western Illinois University November 17, 2015 Compost Carryover Effects on Soil Quality and Productivity in Organic Dryland Wheat Earl Creech and Jennifer Reeve, Utah State University  November 10, 2015 Making and Using Compost Teas Lynne Carpenter-Boggs and CeCe Crosby, Washington State University November 4, 2015 Innovative Approaches to Extension in Organic and Sustainable Agriculture Bruna Irene Grimberg, Fabian Menalled and Mary Burrows, Montana State University April 7, 2015 Baking evaluation, sensory analysis, and nutritional characteristics of modern, heritage, and ancient wheat varieties Lisa Kissing Kucek, Cornell; Abdullah Jaradat, USDA ARS; Julie Dawson, University of Wisconsin March 25, 2015 Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture Phillip Simon, USDA ARS and University of Wisconsin; Lori Hoagland, Purdue; Philip Roberts, UC Riverside; Micaela Colley, Jared Zystro and Cathleen McCluskey, Organic Seed Alliance March 24, 2015 Non-Antibiotic Control of Fire Blight: What Works As We Head Into a New Era Ken Johnson, Oregon State University; Rachel Elkins, University of California Extension, Tim Smith, University of Washington Extension March 17, 2015 Promoting Native Bee Pollinators in Organic Farming Systems David Crowder and Elias Bloom, Washington State University March 10, 2013 Using Participatory Variety Trials to Assess Response to Environment in Organic Vegetable Crops Alexandra Lyon, University of Wisconsin March 3, 2015 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium Selected Live Broadcasts various February 25 and 26, 2015 Blasting the Competition Away: Air-propelled Abrasive Grits for Weed Management in Organic Grain and Vegetable Crops Sam Wortman, University of Illinois; Sharon Clay and Daniel Humburg, University of South Dakota February 17, 2015 Building Pest-Suppressive Organic Farms: Tools and Strategies Used by Five Long-Term Organic Farms Helen Atthowe and Carl Rosato, Woodleaf Farm February 10, 2015 Organicology 2015: Selected Live Broadcasts various February 6, 2015 Heritage and Ancient Wheat: Varietal Performance and Managment Michael Davis, Cornell University; Steve Zwinger, NDSU January 27, 2015 Managing Bad Stink Bugs Using Good Stink Bugs Yong-Lak Park, West Virginia University January 22, 2015 Rotational No-till and Mulching Systems for Organic Vegetable Farms Jan-Hendrik Cropp, Under_Cover Consulting January 20, 2015 Systems Organic Management Suppresses Cabbageworm Outbreaks: Evidence from 4 Long-term Organic Farms Jake Asplund, Washington State University; Doug O'Brien, Doug O'Brien Agricultural Consulting January 13, 2015 Learning from Our Observations of Pastures & Livestock: Preventing Pasture Problems on the Organic Dairy Sarah Flack, Sarah Flack Consulting December 18, 2014 A Certified Organic Wint

How can I prevent coccidiosis in sheep?

Answer: Coccidiosis is a parasite infection caused by the protozoan organism coccidia (also known as cocci or by the scientific name, Eimeria), which causes damage to the animal’s intestinal tract so that food is not absorbed well. Recognizing coccidiosis and understanding how to manage livestock to prevent or minimize illness is important for the health and well-being of your animals.

The importance of prevention cannot be understated. Make every effort to reduce stress on the animals and improve sanitation and living conditions. Dry bedding (replenished often with additional fresh, dry bedding) is helpful. This allows the mothers to lie down on clean places, keeping udders and teats cleaner, which helps reduce mastitis and lower the risk of coccidiosis. Gravel or wood chips added to lots promotes dry areas. Provide shelter if weather is cold and rainy, handle animals calmly, and be aware that as the season progresses, numbers of coccidia are building. Clean water and feed troughs, and disinfect feed troughs if possible, to lessen exposure to cocci. Exposure to small numbers of cocci is actually beneficial, as it encourages the building of immunity. On the other hand, exposure to large numbers increases risk of infection.

Once you have an infection, it is necessary to consult with your veterinarian to devise a treatment plan. The plan may include the feeding of ionophores, treatment with sulfa drugs or amprolium, and/or using alternative treatments. Note that livestock that are treated with ionophores or other medications that are not approved for use in organic production systems cannot be certified organic. If it becomes necessary to use these medicines on a certified-organic animal to achieve effective treatment, that individual animal will lose its organic certification. Note also that most medications are not labeled for sheep or goats and, therefore, consulting your veterinarian is essential. Be sure to follow instructions carefully when using any treatment. Using medications in the wrong way will waste money and time and not solve the problem. For example, medications designed to act on early stages of the life cycle to disrupt the parasite (prevention) will not cure established infection. Also, preventive medications must be used at least 30 days before kidding or lambing to prevent the mothers from infecting the young. To be effective, preventive medications must also be used well before weaning to protect the young stock during that stressful event. Again, follow label instructions. Failure to follow all directions will greatly reduce the impact of the drugs. And keep in mind that using medications improperly can lead to residues in the animal. Be sure to follow dosage instructions and withdrawal times.

To learn more about both prevention and treatment options, consult the ATTRA publication Coccidiosis: Symptoms, Prevention, and Treatment in Sheep, Goats, and Calves.

Original post blogged on b2evolution.

Online Course: An Introduction to Organic Dairy Production

eOrganic author:

Debra Heleba, University of Vermont Extension

About the Course

An Introduction to Organic Dairy Production is a self-directed online course designed for Extension educators and other agriculture service providers, as well as farmers and students who want to better understand certified organic dairy farming. It is made of ten modules on key organic dairy topics, listed below. Each module combines required readings, narrated lessons, optional homework exercises and recommended resources, and end-of-module quizzes. Each module, the individual readings, and the overall course has undergone a peer review and certification check to ensure high quality, accurate certified organic information.

The course is currently being offered on eXtension’s campus site for $150 at: campus.extension.org. Participants do need a (free) eXtension online campus account to log in (see enrolment information below). Continuing education units (CEUs) are available to those Certified Crop Advisors (CCAs) interested; we are able to offer 15.0 units for those who successfully complete the course.

Course Design

The course is made of ten modules on key organic dairy topics. Each module combines required readings, narrated lessons, optional homework exercises and recommended resources, and end-of-module quizzes.

Module 1: Overview of Organic Dairy Production—An Integrated Approach

Module 1 introduces the subject of organic dairy through basic definitions and philosophies. Students will learn the history of the organic movement and current status of the organic dairy industry based on the most current statistics from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service.

Module 2: National Organic Program Standards Summary

The goal for Module 2 is to present an overview of the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) standards. This will be a summary of the standards, with emphasis on the sections which are livestock related. This summary will not be comprehensive and is not a substitute for the regulatory text. The full regulatory text can be found at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/.

Module 3: Organic Soil Management

Module 3 outlines the basic principles of organic soil management. Healthy soils are the foundation of organic production practices. A healthy soil produces high quality forages and crops that, in turn, create and sustain a healthy and productive herd.

Module 4: Nutritional Considerations for the Organic Dairy Cow

This module covers the nutritional requirements of the organically managed dairy cow, including all the essential nutrients needed to meet the required daily intakes (RDIs) at the various stages of development (i.e., dry cow, fresh cow, pregnant lactating dairy cow, weaned heifer, etc.). The module will also cover the basic process of balancing rations to meet the nutritional requirements under feeding systems typical of an organically managed dairy farm. Finally, the module will instruct participants on how feeds are sampled and submitted for a full nutritional analysis by certified laboratories.

Module 5: Pasture Management

Module 5 covers the basic principles of pasture management. It includes information on grazing system design and determining acreage needs based on livestock dry matter requirements. Also included is information on nutrition, health, soils, and plants as they relate to pasture.

Module 6: Growing and Storing Organic Livestock Forages

High quality forages are essential to successful dairy operations. Module 6 will give an overview of the importance of cropping systems other than permanent pasture. Producing and storing high quality forages increases herd health and overall profitability. This module will review the considerations in planning an organic forage production system.

Module 7: Holistic Herd Health

Organic herd health is based on a “holistic” approach where soil, nutrition, grazing management and animal handling methods merge into a fully integrated system to support the health and well-being of the herd. Benjamin Franklin's quote, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” truly applies to successful organic livestock programs. Module 7 details the essential components of the herd health program, including soil management as it impacts forage quality and mineralization of the herd; typical vaccination programs as insurance against disease; and when issues do occur, what you can do to address the problem organically.

Module 8: Udder Health and Milk Quality

This module will cover the essential components of milk quality, how it is defined, assessed and management factors that play critical roles in the outcome. In addition, we will cover what makes organic milk different from its conventional cousin in terms of residues and overall nutrient content based on available data.

Module 9: Basic Principles of Managing Calves Organically

Raising the next generation of replacements is a critical area that is often ignored on a busy dairy focused the milking, feeding, breeding of the lactating herd. Calf rearing methods vary throughout the industry and have a tremendous impact on the future success of the cow.

Module10: The Organic Transition and Certification Process

In this module, you will gain an understanding of the organic dairy certification and transition process. This includes the dairy transition process, the process of becoming certified, the roles of the certifier and inspector, and how (or if) the certifier grants certification.

Sneak Peaks

To get a better sense of what the course includes, see Figures 1 and 2 below.

Figure 1. Example of a module with required readings, the module lesson, and additional recommended resources.

Figure 2. Video welcome of the course.

Acknowledgements The course is a collaborative project of: With Funding Provided By:
  • USDA National Food and Agriculture Institute's Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative #2010-51300-21361
  • California State University Agricultural Research Institute
Authors and Contributors:
  • Cindy Daley, California State University, Chico
  • Heather Darby, University of Vermont Extension
  • Sarah Flack, Sarah Flack Consulting
  • Sidney Bosworth, University of Vermont
  • Audrey Denney, California State University, Chico
  • Debra Heleba, University of Vermont Extension
  • Karen Hoffman, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
How to Enroll

1. Login to the course portal. The course is housed at eXtension’s Online campus at: campus.extension.org. If you have not yet been to this site, you will need to create an account. To do so, go to “Login” and click on “Create new account.” You will need to complete some basic information and confirm your account via email.

2. Enroll in the course. On the home page of the eXtension Online Campus, you can find the course by clicking on “Organic Agriculture” under the "Agriculture & Animals" theme—the course is the last one listed. Or, simply go to http://campus.extension.org/course/view.php?id=253.

Further Information

For more information, please contact eOrganic Dairy Team Coordinator Debra Heleba at debra.heleba@uvm.edu.

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 8544

Resources from NEWBio: The Northeast Woody/Warm-season Biomass Consortium

Funded by AFRI. Learn More.

    The Northeast Woody/Warm-season Biomass Consortium (NEWBio) is a regional network of universities, businesses, and governmental organizations dedicated to building robust, scalable, and sustainable value chains for biomass energy in the Northeast. Driven by the broad societal benefits that sustainable bioenergy value chains could provide, NEWBio aims to overcome existing barriers and dramatically increase the sustainable, cost-effective supply of lignocellulosic biomass while reducing net greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing ecosystem services, and building vibrant communities.

     

     

     

    NEWBio Table of Contents Research Topics

    Topic 1. Leadership, Stakeholder Involvement, and Knowledge-to-Action

    Topic 2. Harvest, Preprocessing, and Logistics

    Topic 3. Human Systems

    Topic 4.Feedstock Improvement

    Topic 5. Sustainability Systems

    Topic 6. Safety and Health

    Topic 1. Leadership, Stakeholder Involvement, and Knowledge-to-Action

    Fact Sheets

    Research Summaries

    Webinars

    Instructional Video

    FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

    Journal Publications

    Take a Closer Look: Biofuels Can Support Environmental, Economic and Social Goals. Environmental Science and Technology
    Dale, B.E., J.E. Anderson, R.C. Brown, S. Csonka, V.H. Dale, G. Herwick, R.D. Jackson, N. Jordan, S. Kaffka, K.L. Kline, L.R. Lynd, C. Malmstrom, R.G. Ong, T.L. Richard, C. Taylor and M.Q. Wang
    2014. DOI: 10.1021/es5025433.

    Topic 2. Harvest, Preprocessing, and Logistics

    Fact Sheets

    Research Summaries

    Webinars

    Instructional Video

    FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

    Journal Publications

    Switchgrass yield and quality on reclaimed surface mines in West Virginia: II. Feedstock Quality and Theoretical Ethanol Production
    Brown, C., T. Griggs, and J. Skousen
    2015.  Bioenergy Research.  DOI 10.1007/s12155-015-9657-3

    Switchgrass biofuel production on reclaimed surface mines: I. Soil quality and dry matter yield
    Brown, C., T. Griggs, T. Keene, M. Marra, and J. Skousen
    2015. Bioenergy Research. DOI 10.1007/s12155-015-9658-2

    Planting rates and delays during the establishment of willow biomass crops
    Bush, C., T.A. Volk, M.H. Eisenbies
    2015. Biomass and Bioenergy. Vol. 83, December 2015. Pp 290-296. DOI: 10.1016/j.biombioe.2015.10.008

    Bark content of two shrub willow cultivars grown at two sites and relationships with centroid bark content and stem diameter
    Eich, S., T.A. Volk, M.H. Eisenbies
    2015. Bioenergy Research. DOI: 10.1007/s12155-015-9617-y

    Changes in feedstock quality in willow chip piles created in winter from a commercial scale harvest. Biomass and Bioenergy
    Eisenbies, M.H., T.A. Volk, A. Patel
    2016. DOI: 10.1016/j.biombioe.2016.02.004

    Evaluation of a Single-Pass, Cut and Chip Harvest System on Commercial-Scale, Short-Rotation Shrub Willow Biomass Crops
    Eisenbies, M. H., Volk, T. A., Posselius, J., Foster, C., Shi, S., Karapetyan, S.
    2014. BioEnergy Research, 1-13, June 3, 2014. DOI: 10.1007/s12155-014-9482-0.

    Quality and variability of commercial-scale short rotation willow biomass harvested using a single-pass cut-and-chip forage harvester
    Eisenbies, M.H., T.A. Volk, J. Posselius, S. Shi, and A. Patel
    2014. BioEnergy Research 14 Oct 2014, 1-14. DOI: 10.1007/s12155-014-9540-7.

    The effect of bio-carbon addition on the electrical conductive, mechanical, and thermal properties of polyvinyl alcohol/biochar composites
    Nan, N., D. DeVallance, X. Xie, J. Wang
    2015. Journal of Composite Materials, April 2016. 50(9), 1161-1168. DOI: 10.1177/0021998315589770

    Winter rye as a bioenergy feedstock: impact of crop maturity on composition. Biotechnology for Biofuels
    Shao X, K. DiMarco, T. Richard, and L. Lynd
    2015. February 27, 2015. 8:35. DOI: 10.1186/s13068-015-0225-z

    Establishment and growth of switchgrass and other biomass crops on surface mines. Journal American Society of Mining and Reclamation
    Skousen, J., C. Brown, T. Griggs, and S. Byrd
    2014. 3(1): 136-156. DOI: 10.21000/JASMR14010136

    Recently Bred Willow (Salix spp.) Biomass Crops Show Stable Yield Trends Over Three Rotations at Two Sites
    Sleight, N. and T. Volk
    2016. Bioenergy Research. DOI 10.1007/s12155-016-9726-2

    Enhanced enzymatic saccharification of shrub willow using sulfolane pretreatment
    Wang, K., X. Xie, J. Jiang, J. Wang
    2016. Cellulose. DOI: 10.1007/s10570-016-0875-4

    Microwave assisted hydrolysis of holocellulose catalyzed with sulfonated char derived from lignin-rich residue
    Wang, K., X. Xie, Z. Si, J. Jiang, J. Wang
    2014. Advances in Materials Science and Engineering. Vol. 2015, Article ID 106137. DOI: 10.1155/2015/106137

    Integrated Acidogenic Digestion and Carboxylic Acid Separation by Nanofiltration Membranes for the Lignocellulosic Carboxylate Platform
    Xiong, B., T.L. Richard and M. Kumar
    Journal of Membrane Science. Vol. 489, 1 September 2015. 275-283. DOI: 10.1016/j.memsci.2015.04.022

    Directional liquefaction coupling fractionation of lignocellulosic biomass for platform chemicals
    Xu, J., X. Xie, J. Wang, J. Jiang
    2016. Green Chemistry. DOI: 10.1039/c5gc03070f

    Topic 3. Human Systems

    Fact Sheets

    Research Summaries

    Webinars

    Instructional Video

    FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

    Journal Publications

    News Media Analysis of Carbon Capture and Storage and Biomass: Perceptions and Possibilities
    Feldpausch-Parker, A. M., Burnham, M., Melnik, M., Callaghan, M. L., Selfa, T.
    2015. Energies, April 2015. 8(4), 3058-3074. DOI: 10.3390/en8043058

    Topic 4. Feedstock Improvement

    Fact Sheets

    Research Summaries

    Webinars

    Instructional Video

    FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

    Journal Publications

    Genotype by environment interactions analysis of North American shrub willow yield trials confirms superior performance of triploid hybrids
    Fabio, E.S., Volk, T.A., Miller, R.O., Serapiglia, M.J., Gauch, H.G., Johnson, G.A, van Rees, K.C.J., Labrecque, M., Amichev, B.Y., Hangs, R.D., Kuzovkina, J.A., Ewy, R.G., Kling, G.J. and Smart, L.B.
    2015. DOI: 10.1111/gcbb.12344

    Whole-Genome sequences of thirteen endophytic bacteria isolated from shrub willow (Salix) grown in Geneva, New York
    Gan, H.Y., Gan, H.M., Savka, M.A., Triassi, A.J., Wheatley, M.S., Smart, L.B., Fabio, E.S., and Hudson, A.O.
    2014. Genome Announcements. 2(3):e00288-14. DOI: 10.1128/genomeA.00288-14.

    Development, characterization and cross-amplification of eight EST-derived microsatellites in Salix
    He, X., Zheng, J., Serapiglia, M.J., Smart, L.B., Shi, S., Wang, B.
    2014. Silvae Genetica. In press.

    Genetic evidence for three discrete taxa of Melampsora (Pucciniales) affecting willows (Salix spp.) in New York State
    Kenaley, S.C., Smart, L.B., and Hudler, G.W.
    2014. Fungal Biology 2014 Aug;118(8):704-20. doi: 10.1016/j.funbio.2014.05.001.

    Switchgrass yield on reclaimed surface mines for bioenergy production
    Marra, M., T. Keene, J. Skousen, and T. Griggs.
    2013. J. Env. Qual. 42: 696-703. DOI: 10.2134/jeq2012.0453

    Early selection of novel triploid hybrids of shrub willow with improved biomass yield relative to diploids
    Serapiglia, M.J., Gouker, F.E., Smart L.B.
    2014. BMC Plant Biology 2014, 14: 74. DOI:10.1186/1471-2229-14-74.

    Ploidy level affects important biomass traits of novel shrub willow (Salix) hybrids
    Serapiglia, M.J., F.E. Gouker, J.F. Hart, F. Unda, S.D. Mansfield, A.J. Stipanovic, and L.B. Smart.
    2014. BioEnergy Research. DOI: 10.1007/s12155-014-9521-x

    Evaluation of the impact of compositional differences in switchgrass genotypes on pyrolysis product yield
    Serapiglia, M.J., Mullen, C.A., Boateng, A.A, Cortese, L.M., Bonos, S.A., Hoffman, L.
    2015. Industrial Crops and Products 74:957-968. DOI:10.1016/j.indcrop.2015.06.024

    Variability in pyrolysis product yield from novel shrub willow genotypes
    Serapiglia, M.J., Mullen, C.A., Smart, L.B., and Boateng, A.A.
    2015. Biomass Bioenergy. 72:74-84. DOI: 10.1016/j.biombioe.2014.11.015

    Topic 5. Sustainability Systems

    Fact Sheets

    Research Summaries

    Webinars

    Instructional Video

    FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

    Journal Publications

    Living snow fences show potential for large storage capacity and reduced drift length shortly after planting
    Heavey, J.P. and T.A. Volk.
    2014. Agroforestry Systems 88(5): 803-814. DOI: 10.1007/s10457-014-9726-1.

    Uncertainties in Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Advanced Biomass Feedstock Logistics Supply Chains in Kansas
    Nguyen, L., K.G. Cafferty, E.M. Searcy, S. Spatari.
    2014. Energies 7(11), 7125-7146. DOI: 10.3390/en7117125

    Seasonal Dynamics of N, P, and K in an Organic and Inorganic Fertilized Willow Biomass System. Applied and Environmental Soil Science
    Quaye, A.K., T.A. Volk, and J.J Schoenau.
    2014. Article ID 471248. DOI: 10.1155/2015/471248

    Untapped potential: Opportunities and challenges for sustainable bioenergy production from marginal lands in New York and the Northeast USA
    Stoof, C.R., Richards, B.K., Woodbury, P., Fabio, E.S., Brumbach, A., Cherney, J., Das, S., Geohring, L., Hornesky, J., Mayton, H., Mason, C., Ruestow, G., Smart, L.B., Volk, T.A., Steenhuis, T.
    2014. Bioenergy Research. DOI: 10.1007/s12155-014-9515-8

    Topic 6. Safety and Health

    Fact Sheets

    Research Summaries

    Webinars

    Instructional Video

    FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

    Journal Publications

    Safety and Health Hazards in On-Farm Biomass Production and Processing
    Schaufler, D., A. Yoder, D. Murphy, C Schwab, A. DeHart.
    2014. Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. DOI 10.13031/jash.20.10639

    Safety and Health in Biomass Production, Transportation and Storage
    Yoder, A.M., C. V. Schwab, P. D. Gunderson, and D. J. Murphy.
    2013. Journal of Agromedicine. DOI: 10.1080/1059924X.2014.886539.

    NEWBio Resources by Media Type

     

      Extension Programs    "Formal" Education Programs and Curriculum   Research Topics NEWBio Resources by MediaType Fact Sheets, Guides and Articles

    NEWBio Commercial Collaborators: Building a Sustainable Energy Future in the Northeast United States

    How do I go about setting prices for my organic crops?

    Answer: The number-one factor in effective pricing is quantifying your costs and selling above those costs. It can be difficult to quantify production costs accurately and estimate profits from sales, but knowing production costs is key to staying in business. You must make sure that you’re making more than you're spending and also know whether your investment in time and money is providing an adequate return.

    Organic pricing strategies vary between farmers. Some farmers quantify production costs and add a price margin to assure a reasonable profit margin. Some price according to local market prices. Most farmers likely use a combination of both approaches. Pricing also depends on what market outlet you use—whether you're selling directly at a farmers market or to a retailer like a grocery store or restaurant.

    Several factors should be considered when developing your pricing strategy

    • Operations, overhead, equipment, depreciation, and marketing costs
    • Labor wages
    • Profit desired
    • Competitors’ production costs and prices
    • Demand, customer motivation, and priorities
    • Brand, image, quality, and reputation of your products

    Don Hofstrand, retired agriculture specialist for the Ag Marketing Resource Center at Iowa State University Extension, stresses three factors to consider when deciding on a pricing strategy. First, consider the cost of producing and marketing your product, which is the minimum price you should set for your product. Second, consider what the buyer is willing to pay. For instance, if you’re direct marketing sides of beef or CSA shares, talk to consumers about what they’re getting and what they will pay, while explaining your costs. Try and negotiate what is reasonable for both parties. Finally, consider competitors’ prices by looking at market prices at venues similar to those you’ll use.

    Mary Peabody, from the University of Vermont Extension and Director of the Women’s Agricultural Network, presented a webinar titled Pricing for Profit. The webinar offers information on identifying costs, factors that affect pricing, and pricing survival tips. Peabody's advice is to record costs consistently over time so that you know your expenses and how they change, and also to record all time put in by keeping a labor log. Peabody feels that operating expenses and overhead should be the biggest determinant of pricing if you want to be successful. "Don’t set prices based on others’ prices!" Peabody says. Thinking you have to price competitively with, for example, the price in a co-op isn’t realistic; a small, beginning farmer cannot compete with large producers who have paid off start-up costs. Instead, find different markets or find ways to capture greater value for your products using marketing tactics that aren’t obvious. One example is to use different packaging or bundling.

    There are other factors that Peabody says impact pricing:

    • Harvesting costs
    • Quality and selection of products
    • Location and market
    • Customer income/demographic
    • Sales volume offered
    • Supply and demand in your market
    • Market price in your area

    Your pricing strategy speaks volumes about your business. You will quickly earn a reputation as fair and ethical if you have a good pricing strategy. The alternative is to be known as cheap, dishonest, and desperate among consumers and competitors. Your pricing strategy should be consistent, accurate, and reliable. Many people want farmers to have a good quality of life and are willing to pay a fair price for quality products, so price according to what you are spending and add a reasonable markup.

    There are some pricing strategies that may help if you are charging a fair price but not making enough profit:

    • Produce more
    • Focus on the products that are generating the most profit
    • Decrease expenses
    • Redefine your niche, customers, or marketing (repackage products in different sizes or by the bunch to get away from the same volume as competitors)

    To learn more, consult the ATTRA publication Understanding Organic Pricing and Costs of Production. This publication provides resources to compare organic and conventional agricultural prices, discusses organic production costs, and offers tips on how to set organic crop prices. Several case studies are included that summarize insights gained from successful organic farmers and ranchers.

    Original post blogged on b2evolution.

    Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana) Identification, Diet, and Management for Organic Farmers

    eOrganic authors:

    Olivia M. Smith, School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University

    William E. Snyder Ph.D., Department of Entomology, Washington State University

     

    This is one in a series of three articles about insectivorous birds on organic farms. The other articles are:

    Introduction

    A growing body of experimental evidence suggests that birds play important roles as natural enemies in agricultural ecosystems. For example, a study conducted in Europe demonstrated the important services provided by Great Tits (Parus major) in apple orchards. Researchers experimentally added nest boxes to some plots and saw an increase in fruit yield from 4.7 to 7.8 kg per tree. Increased yield was attributed to predation of caterpillars by Great Tits (Mols et al., 2002). A review paper by Bael et al. (2008) found that across 48 studies examined, birds reduced arthropods and plant damage. Here we focus on identification, diet, and management of Western Bluebirds and their role in farming. In addition to the insects this species consumes, we make suggestions for how to manage bluebirds to maximize their benefits while minimizing their risks.

    Identification

    Figure 1. Western Bluebird male holding an insect. Photo credit: Nigel Winnu, Western Bluebird, CC Attribution 2.0

    Figure 2. Western Bluebird female. Photo credit: Martin Jambon, Female Western Bluebird, CC Attribution 2.0 Generic

    Western Bluebirds (Sialia mexicana) are in the thrush family along with the familiar American Robin (Turdus migratorius) and the possibly less familiar Swainson's Thrush (Catharus ustulatus). Western Bluebird males are strikingly blue on the head, neck, wings, and tail. A rust-orange belt crosses the breast, with a slightly duller blue on the belly than the wings (Fig. 1). The brilliant blue on males is replaced by a duller blue-gray on females and juveniles (Fig. 2). The similar Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides) lacks the rusty breast and flank plumage of the Western Bluebird, and the Mountain Bluebird is more sky blue (Fig. 3). The Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) is also similar in appearance to the Western Bluebird, but its rust color extends up the throat, and it lacks blue on the breast (Fig. 4). The Eastern Bluebird occurs further east than the Western Bluebird; however, the Western Bluebird has been expanding eastward over the last several decades and displacing Eastern Bluebirds due to greater aggression and high dispersal ability (see Fig. 5 for a range map; Duckworth and Badyaev, 2007). Another similar species is the Lazuli Bunting (Passerina amoena), but the Lazuli Bunting has prominent wing bars, a smaller body size, and a thicker bill (Fig. 6).

    Figure 3. Mountain Bluebird. Photo credit: Nigel Winnu, Nigel Winnu, Mountain Bluebird, CC Attribution 2.0

    Figure 4. Eastern Bluebird. Photo credit: Jeff Bryant, Eastern Bluebird, CC Attribution 2.0

     

    Fig 5. Range map for the Western Bluebird from eBird. [Image provided by eBird (www.ebird.org) and created 10 January 2017]

    Fig 6. Lazuli Bunting. Photo credit: Julio Mulero, Lazuli Bunting, CC Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0

    Diet

    Western Bluebirds are primarily insectivorous ground gleaners (De Graaf et al., 1985) and often forage off of perches. Grasshoppers and beetles may be the most important portion of the nestling bluebird diet (Beal, 1915; Herlugson, 1982). A study conducted in South-central Washington examined the diet of bluebird adults and chicks in the breeding season. The nestling diet was composed of 37.5% Coleoptera (beetles), 29.2% Hymenoptera (wasps, bees), 17.5% Hemiptera (true bugs including aphids and scales), 9.4% Orthoptera (grasshoppers), 2.5% Lepidoptera (caterpillars), and 1.0% Arachnida (spiders). Actual biomass of each taxa in the nestling diet differed slightly than the number of individuals consumed: 58.27% Orthoptera, 22.85% Homoptera, 10.42% Coleoptera, 4.45% Arachnida, 3.80% Lepidoptera, and 0.21% Hymenoptera. The adult diet differed slightly from the nestling diet. The primary constituents of the adult diet were beetles (68.2%) and caterpillars (12.2%). After nestlings hatched, the diet shifted to Coleoptera (37.5%), Hymenoptera (29.2%), and Hemiptera (15.6%) (Herlugson, 1982). Beal (1915) additionally found flies and snails in gut contents. A study using a novel technique called molecular scatology tested the DNA in Western Bluebird feces and found that Aedes mosquitos comprised the highest portion of the diet (present in 49.5% of samples). Ectoparasitic bird blowfly (Protocalliphora sp.) DNA was in 7% of adult and 11% of nestling samples. Herbivorous insects from the Hemiptera and Lepidoptera orders comprised 56% of the prey items in bluebird diets. Predatory insects and parasitoid insects were less than 3% of the diet, suggesting that Western Bluebirds offer substantial ecosystem services and little risk of consuming beneficial predatory arthropods (Jedlicka et al., 2017).

    Western Bluebirds have been shown to provide ecosystem services in California organic vineyards. The study experimentally added nest boxes to some vineyard sites and compared avian species richness, Western Bluebird abundance, and beet armyworm (Spodoptera exigua) predation in sites with added nest boxes and without nest boxes. The study found that with addition of nest boxes, the average species richness of avian insectivores increased by over 50%. Further, density of insectivorous birds quadrupled, and Western Bluebird abundance increased tenfold. Omnivorous and granivorous bird species (potential pest species) abundance remained constant, suggesting low risk of addition of nest boxes. Plots with nest box addition had 2.4 times more live beet armyworm removal. Further, immediately below nest boxes, removal was 3.5 times higher than in the control (Jedlicka et al., 2011). This study suggests addition of nest boxes for insectivorous birds may be an important part of Integrated Pest Management.

    Habitat during the Growing Season

    Habitat usage varies throughout the range, but typical habitats are open coniferous and deciduous forests, forest edges, farms, and orchards. In the Willamette Valley, Western Bluebirds are common in open country with scattered trees and orchards, whereas in the eastern Cascades, they are more common in Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and open pine forests (Gilligan et al., 1994). In southern California, Western Bluebirds are primarily found in open oak woodlands and coniferous forests, and rarely in areas with large row crop fields (Garrett and Dunn, 1981).

    Management

    Results from the North American Breeding Bird Survey indicate a 0.58% range-wide increase from 1966-2012 (Sauer et al., 2014); however, in the Northern Pacific Rainforest, there was a -1.25% decline from 1966-2012 (Sauer et al., 2014). Western Bluebirds are a State Monitor Species in Washington State (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife; 2017) and are listed as Vulnerable in Oregon (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, 2008). The most important likely contributors are loss of suitable nest sites and foraging areas due to logging, fire suppression, grazing, and urbanization (Herlugson, 1975; Brawn and Balda, 1988). The Western Bluebird is a secondary cavity nester, meaning it requires cavities excavated by other species, and relies on availability of snags, large living trees, or nest boxes (Guinan et al., 2008). Proposed measures include controlled and natural burning, prohibition of snag removal, and preservation of old, partially dead trees (Herlugson, 1975). An estimated 57% of the Washington Western Bluebird population lives on private land (Cassidy and Grue, 2000), suggesting the importance of private landowners providing suitable habitat for this species. Western Bluebirds compete with other native species like the Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina) for nest sites, along with invasive House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) and European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) (Gillis, 1989). Instructions on deterrence and removal of invasive species can be found here. Bluebird nest-box trails have been implemented to add and monitor nest boxes (Fig. 7). Success is limited by competition with other bird species, but the numbers of nest boxes used by bluebirds has increased markedly since the program began (Guinan et al., 2008). Instructions on nest construction and placement can be found here.

    Figure 7. Western Bluebird emerging from a Bluebird Trail nest box. Photo credit: Mick Thompson, Western Bluebird, CC Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0

    More Resources

    The Cornell Lab of Ornithology (birds.cornell.edu) supports a great citizen scientist network with detailed information on nest construction and placement (nestwatch.org), recommendations on attracting species of interest (content.yardmap.org), and range information (ebird.org). The lab offers many opportunities for the public to get involved with scientific data collection through Project Feederwatch (feederwatch.org), eBird (eBird.org), and Nestwatch (nestwatch.org). Basic species information can be found at allaboutbirds.org, and the Merlin Bird ID app can aid in field identification.

    References and Citations
    • Bael, S.A.V., S. M. Philpott, R. Greenberg, P. Bichier, N. A. Barber, K. A. Mooney, and D. S. Gruner. 2008. Birds as predators in tropical agroforestry systems. Ecology 89:928—934. Available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/06-1976.1 (verified 18 April 2017).
    • Beal, F.E.L. 1915. Food of the robins and bluebirds of the United States. Bulletin of the United States Department of Agriculture 171.
    • Brawn, J. D., and R. P. Balda. 1988. Population biology of cavity nesters in Northern Arizona: Do nest sites limit breeding densities? The Condor 90:61—71. Available online at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1368434 (verified 10 January 2017).
    • Cassidy, K. M., and C. E. Grue. 2000. The role of private and public lands in conservation of at-risk vertebrates in Washington State. Wildlife Society Bulletin 28:1060—1076. Available online at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3783867 (verified 10 January 2017).
    • De Graaf, R. M., N. G. Tilghman, and S. H. Anderson. 1985. Foraging guilds of North American birds. Environmental Management 9:493—536. Available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF01867324 (verified 10 January 2017).
    • Duckwork, R. A., and A. V. Badyaev. 2007. Coupling of dispersal and aggression facilitates the rapid expansion of a passerine bird. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 104:15017—15022. Available online at: http://www.pnas.org/content/104/38/15017 (verified 10 January 2017).
    • Garrett, K., and J. Dunn. 1981. Birds of southern California: Status and distribution. Los Angeles Audubon Society, Los Angeles, CA.
    • Gilligan, J., D. Rogers, M. Smith, and A. Contreras. 1994. Birds of Oregon: Status and distribution. Cinclus Publications, McMinnville, OR.
    • Gillis, E. 1989. Western Bluebirds, Tree Swallows, and Violet-green Swallows west of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon, Washington, and Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Sialia 11:127—130.
    • Guinan, J. A., P. A. Gowaty, and E. K. Eltzroth. 2008. Western Bluebird (Sialia Mexicana). In P. Rodewald (ed.) The Birds of North America. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY. Available online at: https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/wesblu (verified 10 January 2017).
    • Herlugson, C. J. 1975. Status and distribution of the Western Bluebird and the Mountain Bluebird in the state of Washington. Master's Thesis, Washington State University, Pullman, WA.
    • Herlugson, C. J. 1982. Food of adult and nestling Western and Mountain Bluebirds. The Murrelet 63:59—65. Available online at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3533829 (verified 10 January 2017).
    • Jedlicka, J. A., R. Greenberg, and D. K. Letourneau. 2011. Avian conservation practices strengthen ecosystem services in California vineyards. PLoS ONE 6: e27347. Available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0027347 (verified 10 January 2017).
    • Jedlicka, J. A., A. E. Vo, and R.P.P. Almeida. 2017. Molecular scatology and high-throughput sequencing reveal predominately herbivorous insects in the diets of adult and nestling Western Bluebirds (Sialia mexicana) in California vineyards. The Auk 134:116—127. Available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1642/AUK-16-103.1 (verified 16 January 2017).
    • Mols, C. M., and M. E. Visser. 2002. Great Tits can reduce caterpillar damage in apple orchards. Journal of Applied Ecology 39:888—899. Available online at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2664.2002.00761.x/full (verified 13 April 2017).
    • Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife [Online]. Wildlife Division/Conservation/Species/Sensitive species. Available at: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/diversity/species/sensitive_species.asp (verified 19 April 2017).
    • Sauer, J. R., J. E. Hines, J. E. Fallon, K. L. Pardieck, D. J. Ziolkowski, Jr., and W. A. Link. 2014. The North American breeding bird survey, results and analysis 1966—2013. Version 01.30.2015 USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD. Available online at: https://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/bbs/ (verified 2 January 2017).
    • Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife [Online]. Washington State species of concern lists. Available at: http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/endangered/status/SM/ (verified 10 January 2017).

    This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

    eOrg

    Identification, Diet, and Management of Swallows and Swifts Common on Organic Farms

    eOrganic authors:

    Olivia M. Smith, School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University

    William E. Snyder Ph.D., Department of Entomology, Washington State University

     

    This is one in a series of three articles about insectivorous birds on organic farms. The other articles are:

    Introduction

    A growing body of experimental evidence suggests that birds play important roles as natural enemies in agricultural ecosystems. For example, a study conducted in Europe demonstrated the important services provided by Great Tits (Parus major) in apple orchards. Researchers experimentally added nest boxes to some plots and saw an increase in fruit yield from 4.7 to 7.8 kg per tree. Increased yield was attributed to predation of caterpillars by Great Tits (Mols et al., 2002). A review paper by Bael et al. (2008) found that across 48 studies examined, birds reduced arthropods and plant damage. Here we focus on identification, diet, and management of swallows and swifts observed on West Coast organic vegetable farms and discuss their natural pest control services.  

    Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

    Figure 1. Adult Barn Swallow in flight. Note the long tail streamers which set it apart from other adult swallows. Photo credit: Denise Coyle, Barn Swallow.

    Identification

    Barn Swallows (Fig. 1) are the most abundant swallow species in the world (Fig. 2; Brown and Brown, 1999) and are present on many farms globally (Kragsten et al., 2009). They are most easily distinguished from other swallows by their long, forked tails which are used for stability during their daring aerial acrobatics (Norberg, 1994). These swallows have blue backs, buffy breasts and bellies, and orange throats and foreheads.

    Figure 2. Range map for the Barn Swallow. [Image provided by eBird (www.ebird.org) and created 4 March 2017]

    Diet

    Barn Swallows primarily eat flying insects; in fact, approximately 99.8% of their diet is animal matter. Thermals and convection currents occasionally lift ground insects to an altitude where swallows can consume them (Brown and Brown, 1995). Barn Swallows may be able to significantly reduce crop pest insect populations. For example, a study conducted in Poland (Orlowski et al., 2014) analyzed Barn Swallow nestling faecal sacs and found that 17.8% of the nestling diet was oilseed rape pests, with an additional 5.3% being other arable crop pests. Flies are a preferred food, including horse flies, crane flies, and robber flies. Stinkbugs, leafhoppers, and plant lice are also common prey. Less commonly eaten are ants, bees, parasitic wasps, predaceous ground beetles, ladybird beetles, weevils, dung beetles, and dragonflies. Caterpillars are rarely consumed due to the Barn Swallow's aerial foraging strategy (Beal, 1918). Open areas such as pastures and plowed fields are preferred for foraging. Barn Swallows can often be observed dutifully foraging for pesky insects behind tractors as fields are plowed and planted.

    Management

    Barn Swallows are one of the few bird species that have benefited from European settlement (Brown and Brown, 1999), but results from the North American Breeding Bird Survey indicate a 1.1% range-wide decline in North American populations from 1966-2012 (Sauer et al., 2014). Similarly, Barn Swallow populations have declined in Europe. The declines are largely attributed to increased pesticide usage, reduction of livestock grazing, reduction of on-farm ponds, and reduction of semi-natural habitats on farmlands (hedgerows, etc.). These changes have resulted in decreased invertebrate abundance and diversity, reducing food availability for adult and nestling swallows (Evans and Robinson, 2004; Kragsten et al., 2009).

    As their name implies, Barn Swallows often nest in groups in rafter beams of barns in open cup mud nests (Fig. 3). Some growers will add narrow wooden ledges to walls or under eaves to provide nesting space. Nest removal at the end of the breeding season can help prevent buildup of ectoparasites (Brown and Brown, 2015). Detailed instructions on building and placing nests for native species can be found at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's website nestwatch.org. However, care must be taken in nest placement because Barn Swallows can be pests when they nest above food processing areas and drop feces. Barn Swallows can vector verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli when living in close proximity to livestock operations, although previous studies suggest it is rare (< 2%; Nielsen et al., 2004). Barn Swallows may be exposed after consuming flies that have associated with livestock feces (Hancock et al., 1998). Many growers attempt to discourage nesting using metal spikes in open rafters. 

     

    Figure 3. Barn Swallow open cup mud nest. Photo credit: Hans Schwarzkopf, Swallows

    Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)

    Figure 4. Cliff Swallows nest building. Note the buffy forehead patch that distinguishes them from Barn Swallows. Also note the enclosed top on the finished nest on the left, a trait that distinguishes Cliff Swallow nests from open cup Barn Swallow nests. Photo credit: Ken Thomas, Cliff Swallows

    Identification

    Cliff Swallows are another widespread swallow species similar in appearance to Barn Swallows but lack long tail streamers (Fig. 4; Fig. 5). Cliff Swallows also have a distinct white forehead patch. Nests appear similar to the Barn Swallow but are enclosed rather than open cup (Fig. 3; Fig. 4). Nests are often placed in the eaves of barns. 

     

    Figure 5. Range map for the Cliff Swallow. [Image provided by eBird (www.ebird.org) and created 4 March 2017]

    Diet

    The Cliff Swallow diet is almost entirely animal matter, with less than 1% comprised of vegetable matter. A study across the United States found that beetles were the most common food item of the Cliff Swallow, with 2.67% of the total diet being beneficial beetles such as the ladybird beetle. Like the Barn Swallow, ground beetles are typically not eaten due to the Cliff Swallow's aerial foraging habits. Other common prey include weevils, ants, bees, parasitic wasps, and flies (Beal, 1918). A diet analysis of nestlings found that grasshoppers were the primary food delivered to nestlings, but food came from 84 insect families. While Barn Swallows primarily catch single large-prey items at low altitudes (< 10 m), Cliff Swallows catch many small swarming insects at high altitudes (50 m) (Brown and Brown, 1996). Cliff Swallows commonly forage in open fields and pastures.

    Management

    Like the Barn Swallow, Cliff Swallows have largely benefited from European settlement (Brown and Brown, 1995), and results from the North American Breeding Bird Survey indicate a 0.4% range-wide increase from 1966-2012 (Sauer et al., 2014). Nest removal at the end of the breeding season can help prevent buildup of ectoparasites (Brown and Brown, 2015). Removal of nests in the fall can also prevent invasive House Sparrows from outcompeting Cliff Swallows. House Sparrows can roost in the nests throughout the winter and establish broods before Cliff Swallows return from migration. House Sparrow removal has been shown to be effective at increasing numbers of Cliff Swallows (Buss, 1942; Samuel, 1969; Krapu, 1986). Instructions on deterrence and removal of House Sparrows can be found here. Like the Barn Swallow, installing wooden ledges can help with nest stability.

    Northern Rough-winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)

    Figure 6. Northern Rough-winged Swallow. Note the buffy color on the flanks. Photo credit: Alan Schmierer, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, CC0 1.0 Universal

    Identification

    This swallow is a wide-ranging and fairly drab species that is often missed or confused with juveniles of other swallows (Fig. 6; Fig. 7). The plumage is brown on the head, nape, back, and tail and buffy white on the throat, breast, and belly. The most distinguishing feature from similar swallows is that the chest and sides have some brownish gray rather than being solid white. The species' common name comes from the rough edge on outer primary feathers (flight feathers) (De Jong, 1996). 

    Figure 7. Range map for the Northern Rough-winged Swallow. [Image provided by eBird (www.ebird.org) and created 4 March 2017]

    Diet

    The Northern Rough-winged Swallow's diet is about 99% insect matter. A gut content analysis found flies comprised approximately 33% of the annual diet; beetles comprised 15% of the annual diet; true bugs such as stink bugs, tree hoppers, and leafhoppers comprised 15% of the annual diet; and ants comprised 12% of the annual diet. Caterpillars, moths, grasshoppers, dragonflies, and spiders comprised less than 5% of the annual diet each (Beal, 1918). The Northern Rough-winged Swallow forages at lower altitudes and above water more often than other swallow species (DeJong, 1996). 

    Management

    Results from the North American Breeding Bird Survey indicate a 0.4% range-wide decrease from 1966-2012, and declines were primarily in the northern and western parts of its range (Sauer et al., 2014). Northern Rough-winged Swallows occasionally nest in old Cliff Swallow nests but more often nest on bridges or in burrows in cliffs, ledges, and banks dug out by other species (Beal, 1918; DeJong, 1996). Like the Cliff and Barn Swallow, human development has increased usable nesting space. One study found that most Northern Rough-winged Swallow nests (54%, n = 224) were found in human created structures such as railroad cuts, landfills, and gravel pits (Campbell et al., 1997).

    Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina)

    Figure 8. Violet-green Swallow. Note the white color that extends around the eye that distinguishes it from the similar Tree Swallow. Photo credit: Wolfgang Wander, Violet-green-swallow, CC BY-SA 3.0

    Identification

    As the name implies, Violet-green Swallows have green upper parts with violet upper-tail coverts and wings. They closely resemble the Tree Swallow, but the Violet-green Swallow has a shorter tail, white that extends around the eye, and a white patch on each side of the rump that is highly visible in flight (Fig. 8). The Violet-green Swallow is abundant in montane coniferous forests, and less widespread than the similar looking Tree Swallow (Fig. 9; Fig. 11; Brown et al., 2011).

    Figure 9. Range map for the Violet-green Swallow. [Image provided by eBird (www.ebird.org) and created 4 March 2017]

    Diet

    The Violet-green Swallow almost exclusively eats flying insects. Common food items are leafhoppers, leaf bugs, flies, ants, wasps, bees, and beetles (Bent, 1942). True bugs and beetles are likely consumed primarily when convection currents bring them up into the Violet-green Swallow's foraging range (Brown et al., 2011).

    Management

    Results from the North American Breeding Bird Survey indicate a 0.4% range-wide decrease from 1966-2012 (Sauer et al., 2014). This species is a tree cavity nester, so conserving and restoring copses of trees will help provide for their nesting requirements. This species will also use nest boxes placed near fields, trees, or cliffs. Nesting locations are often a limiting resource, so providing nest boxes can be important for attracting cavity nesting insectivores. Instructions on building and placing swallow nest boxes can be found here and here. Additionally, many businesses sell pre-made boxes designed for swallows. Nest boxes should be cleaned out every year. Like with Cliff Swallows, introduced House Sparrows can outcompete Violet-green Swallows for nest space or destroy their eggs. Removal and deterrence of sparrows can aid in successful rearing of swallow chicks (Edson, 1943).

    Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)

    Figure 10. Tree Swallow. Note the more iridescent bluish hue and the bluish color that extends below the eye. Photo credit: Alan Schmierer, Tree Swallow, CC0 1.0 Universal

    Identification

    Tree Swallows are a widespread species with iridescent blue on their head, nape, back, tail coverts, and wing coverts (Fig. 10; Fig. 11). The wings fade into dark gray. The throat, breast, and belly are white. The tree swallow lacks the distinct white tail coverts of the Violet-green Swallow, and the white on the face ends below the eye. 

    Figure 11. Range map for the Tree Swallow. [Image provided by eBird (www.ebird.org) and created 4 March 2017]

    Diet

    This species eats more vegetable matter than other swallow species. An early study conducted by Beal (1918) on swallow gut content found vegetable matter was about 20% of contents and was present in the diet throughout the breeding season. Diptera (flies) form the largest portion (about 40%) of the adult Tree Swallow diet, including crane flies, horse flies, and syrphid flies. Beetles comprised 14% of the diet. Dung beetles, weevils, ants, bees, parasitic wasps, dragonflies, and spiders comprised less than 5% of the diet. Tree Swallows also ate pests including aphids, stink bugs, tree hoppers, leafhoppers, plant lice, caterpillars, adult moths, and grasshoppers (Beal, 1918). A study investigating nestling diets found that boluses delivered to chicks were composed of 57% Diptera (flies), 15% Hymenoptera (bees and ants), 12% Hemiptera (true bugs), and 8% Coleoptera (beetles) (Johnson and Lombardo, 2000). Tree Swallows usually forage in open areas where flying insects are abundant and rarely glean insects off leaves (Winkler et al., 2011).

    Management

    Results from the North American Breeding Bird Survey indicate a 1.2% range-wide decline from 1966-2012 (Sauer et al., 2014). Availability of nests is thought to be a contributing factor (Winkler et al., 2011). Tree Swallows unsurprisingly nest in tree cavities. Like the Violet-green Swallow, they are secondary cavity nesters, meaning they rely on species such as woodpeckers to make the nests they use (Winkler et al., 2011). Tree Swallows will also nest in human-made nests and often nest in bluebird boxes (Fig. 12; Beal, 1918). Visit here or here for detailed instructions on placement and construction. Nests should be cleaned annually. 

    Figure 12. Adult Tree Swallow peering out of nest. Photo credit: Ken Thomas, Tree Swallow

    Vaux's Swift (Chaetura vauxi)

    Figure 13. Vaux's Swift. Note the short tail and thin wings. Photo credit: Richard Crossley, Vaux's Swift from The Crossley ID Guide Eastern Birds, CC BY-SA 3.0

    Identification

    Though the Vaux's Swift is often confused for a swallow, it is taxonomically quite distinct. Swifts are in the order Caprimulgiformes with the nightjars, whereas swallows are in the order Passeriformes with the perching birds. The swifts were formerly placed in the same order as the hummingbirds, Apodiformes, which means “without feet,” based on similar morphology. As the taxonomic name implies, swifts have short legs with tiny feet, distinguishing them from the swallows. Swifts also have fast flapping speeds and more closely resemble bats in flight than swallows. The Vaux's Swift has drab gray/brown plumage and a very short tail (Fig. 13). Like the woodpeckers, swifts have stiff tails to aid in perching on vertical surfaces (Bull and Collins, 2007). The Vaux's Swift is found in Western North America (Fig. 14). 

    Figure 14. Range map for the Vaux's Swift. [Image provided by eBird (www.ebird.org) and created 4 March 2017]

    Diet

    A study conducted by Bull and Beckwith (1993) analyzed food boluses delivered to nestling Vaux's Swifts and found the primary constituents were hoppers, aphids, whiteflies, flies, mayflies, ants, and parasitic wasps. One pair fed an average of 5,344 arthropods to their nestlings per day, totaling 154,976 arthropods during the nestling growth period! The study also used a technique called radio-telemetry to monitor Va

    Identification, Diet, and Management of Chickadees and Warblers Common on Organic Farms

    eOrganic authors:

    Olivia M. Smith, School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University

    William E. Snyder Ph.D., Department of Entomology, Washington State University

     

    This is one in a series of three articles about insectivorous birds on organic farms. The other articles are:

    Introduction

    A growing body of experimental evidence suggests that birds play important roles as natural enemies in agricultural ecosystems. For example, a study conducted in Europe demonstrated the important services provided by Great Tits (Parus major) in apple orchards. Researchers experimentally added nest boxes to some plots and saw an increase in fruit yield from 4.7 to 7.8 kg per tree. Increased yield was attributed to predation of caterpillars by Great Tits (Mols et al., 2002). A review paper by Bael et al. (2008) found that across 48 studies examined, birds reduced arthropods and plant damage. Here we focus on identification, diet, and management of chickadees and warblers observed on West Coast vegetable farms and discuss their natural pest control services.

    Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)

    Figure 1. Black-capped Chickadee. Photo credit: Mick Thompson, Black-capped Chickadee, CC Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0

    Identification

    As its common name implies, this chickadee has a black cap. It also has a black chin, white cheeks, a white breast and belly, buffy flanks, and grayish wings and tail. Chickadees have small bills. The entire length of the Black-capped Chickadee averages about 12.3–14.6 cm, and they weigh on average only 10–14 g (Fig. 1; Foote et al., 2010). The Black-capped Chickadee has complex vocal behaviors with 16 unique types of vocalizations (Smith, 1991). The whistled song is typically two clear tones with a higher-pitched fee note followed by a lower-pitched bee note. The Black-capped Chickadee also has a chick-a-dee call that is the namesake of the genus. Mountain Chickadees are similar in appearance but have an obvious white eyebrow called a supercilium, and are primarily found in higher altitude montane coniferous forests (Fig. 2; McCallum et al., 1999). 

    Figure 2. Mountain Chickadee. Note the prominent white eyebrow called the supercilium. Photo credit: Julio Mulero, Mountain Chickadee, CC Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0

    Diet

    During the breeding season, the Black-capped Chickadee's diet is about 80–90% animal matter (primarily caterpillars), with the rest of the diet comprised of fruit and seeds. During the winter, the diet shifts to about 50% animal matter (primarily insects and spiders) and 50% plant matter (primarily seeds and berries) (Smith, 1991). The Black-capped Chickadee primarily forages on trees by gleaning insects off the bark and leaves, and rarely forages on the ground. Approximately 58% of arthropod prey are taken from bark and 38.2% are taken from leaves (n = 451, Robinson and Holmes, 1982). One study found that chickadees can use leaf damage cues to locate cryptic caterpillars (Heinrich and Collins, 1983). Chickadees are rarely found in vegetable fields, but are commonly found foraging in orchards. Caterpillars comprise the largest portion of the chickadee diet, with other insects, spiders, small snails, small slugs, and centipedes forming smaller components (Bent, 1946; Robinson and Holmes, 1982; Smith, 1991). The Black-capped Chickadee is known to take blueberries and blackberries as available (Foote et al., 2010).

    Management

    Results from the North American Breeding Bird Survey indicate a 0.59% range-wide increase from 1966-2012, but this species is declining in the Pacific Northwest (Sauer et al., 2014). The Black-capped Chickadee can be found in a wide variety of habitats as long as trees are present. Clearing trees for agriculture can create more forest edge, which is a preferred habitat for chickadees (Foote et al., 2010). Black-capped Chickadees are year-round residents, and providing supplemental food at feeders in the winter can improve survival rates (Brittingham and Temple, 1988). This species is able to excavate its own nest cavities in tree species such as birch and aspen, but can also use cavities excavated by other species (Mennill and Ratcliffe, 2004; Foote et al., 2010). Nest trees average 20.5 cm diameter at breast height (DBH) (Ramsay et al., 1999). Chickadees will nest in artificial nests when natural cavities are rare. Black-capped Chickadees are more likely to use artificial snags than nest boxes. Usage of both increase when cavities are filled with wood shavings (Cooper and Bonter, 2008). Invasive House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) can outcompete chickadees for nest cavities and boxes, so constructing boxes with entrance holes small enough to exclude House Sparrows is important (about 2.86–3.18 cm diameter). Instructions on nest construction and placement can be found here. Additionally, many businesses sell pre-made nest boxes. Instructions on deterrence and removal of House Sparrows can be found here.

    Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens)

    Figure 3. Chestnut-backed Chickadee. Photo credit: Jerry McFarland, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, CC Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0

    Identification

    As its common name implies, the Chestnut-backed Chickadee has a chestnut back and flanks and a brown cap (Fig. 3). The entire length of the male Chestnut-backed Chickadee averages about 10.5–12.5 cm, while the average length of the female is about 10.0–11.4 cm. The average weight is only 8.5–12.6 g (Dahlsten et al. 2002), making it slightly smaller on average than the Black-capped Chickadee. It also lacks the whistled song present in the Black-capped Chickadee, but has a well-defined chick-a-dee call. The Chestnut-backed Chickadee's chick-a-dee call is higher, faster, shorter, and huskier than the Black-capped Chickadee's. The Chestnut-backed Chickadee is notable for its preference for coniferous forest habitat (Smith, 1991). The Chestnut-backed Chickadee tends to forage higher in trees and more often in conifers than the Black-capped Chickadee (Sturnman, 1968). 

    Diet

    Arthropods comprise approximately 65% of the annual diet, with leafhoppers, treehoppers, scales, spiders, wasps, and caterpillar larvae among preferred food items. Seeds and plant material (fruit pulp and other miscellaneous matter) make up the remaining 35% of the diet (Beal, 1907; Dixon, 1954). Nestlings are fed caterpillars, sawfly larvae, crickets, spiders, and flies (Kleintjes and Dahlsten, 1994). Chestnut-backed Chickadees are canopy foragers, primarily foraging on leaf surfaces—unlike bark-gleaning Black-capped Chickadees—and are often found in oak, fir, or pine (Dixon, 1954; Root, 1964; Sturnman, 1968; Brennan et al., 2000). Chestnut-backed Chickadees are frequently observed foraging in fence rows with conifers and forests adjacent to farms but rarely, if ever, forage among farmed areas. Chestnut-backed Chickadees may be extremely beneficial to the forestry industry through natural pest control services (Kleintjes and Dahlsten, 1994).

    Management

    Results from the North American Breeding Bird Survey indicate a 1.77% range-wide decline from 1966–2012, with a similar trend of decline (1.66%) in the Pacific Northwest (Sauer et al., 2014). Nesting requirements are similar to the Black-capped Chickadee (see above). Leaving snags and adding nest boxes can encourage nesting (Dahlsten et al., 2002). Visit nestwatch for detailed nest building and placement information.

    Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis tichas)

    Figure 4. Male Common Yellowthroat. Photo credit: Dan Pancamo, Common Yellowthroat, CC Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0

    Figure 5. Female Common Yellowthroat. Photo Credit: John Benson, Common Yellowthroat, CC Attribution 2.0

    Identification

    Male and female Common Yellowthroat are sexually dimorphic, meaning they do not look the same. The male has a black mask, a yellow throat, and an olive green back, nape, wings, and tail (Fig. 4). Males have a distinct wich-i-ty wich-i-ty wich-ity song which is variable by region, but always contains the wich component. The female is mostly dull olive-gray with a dull yellow throat (Fig. 5). The female could be easily confused with other small warblers such as the Orange-crowned Warbler or Nashville Warbler. The female is also similar to female American and Lesser Goldfinches, but warbler bills are less stocky and the Common Yellowthroat lacks the distinct wing bars present in the goldfinches. The entire length of the Common Yellowthroat averages about 11–13 cm, and they weigh on average only 9–10 g (Guzy and Ritchinson, 1999).

    Diet

    The Common Yellowthroat forages on the ground and in low vegetation for insects, making it a frequent and welcome visitor to crop fields and orchards. Adult Common Yellowthroat consume spiders, caterpillars, true bugs, flies, beetles, ants, and other various larvae (Rosenberg, 1982), but a detailed diet analysis study is lacking. Food brought to nestlings include moths, spiders, mayflies, caterpillars, damselflies, and beetles (Shaver, 1918).

    Management

    Results from the North American Breeding Bird Survey indicate a 0.96% range-wide decline from 1966–2012, but populations in the western portion of the range have shown increases during the same period (Sauer et al., 2014). Common Yellowthroats build open-cup nests on or near the ground, often supported by herbaceous plants, but sometimes by shrubs. Nests are often placed near wetlands, are built primarily of plant material, and average about 8.5 cm in diameter (Stewart, 1953). Common Yellowthroats are present in a variety of habitats, but promoting dense vegetation is recommended for attracting Common Yellowthroat (Guzy et al., 1999). Growers often promote vegetation around drainage ditches, add hedgerows, and restore wetlands—all of which attract Common Yellowthroats. A great resource for habitat recommendations is yardmap.org.

    More Resources

    The Cornell Lab of Ornithology (birds.cornell.edu) supports a great citizen scientist network with detailed information on nest construction and placement (nestwatch.org), recommendations on attracting species of interest (content.yardmap.org), and range information (ebird.org). The lab offers many opportunities for the public to get involved with scientific data collection through Project Feederwatch (feederwatch.org), eBird (eBird.org), and Nestwatch (nestwatch.org). Basic species information can be found at allaboutbirds.org, and the Merlin Bird ID app can aid in field identification.

    References
    • Bael, S.A.V., S. M. Philpott, R. Greenberg, P. Bichier, N. A. Barber, K. A. Mooney, and D. S. Gruner. 2008. Birds as predators in tropical agroforestry systems. Ecology 89:928–934. Available online at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1890/06-1976.1/full (verified 13 April 2017).
    • Beal, E.E.L. 1907. Birds of California in relation to the fruit industry, Part I. Bulletin of the United States National Museum 30.
    • Bent, A. C. 1946. Life histories of North American jays, crows, and titmice, Part I. Bulletin of the United States National Museum 191.
    • Brennan, L. A., M. L. Morrison, and D. L. Dahlsten. 2000. Comparative foraging dynamics of Chestnut-backed and Mountain Chickadees in the Western Sierra Nevada. Northwestern Naturalist 81:129–147. Available online at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3536824 (verified 6 January 2017).
    • Brittingham, M. C., and S. A. Temple. 1988. Impacts of supplemental feeding on survival rates of Black-capped Chickadees. Ecology 69:581–589. Available online at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1941007 (verified 5 January 2017).
    • Cooper, C., and D. Bonter. Artificial nest site preferences of Black-capped Chickadees. Journal of Field Ornithology 79:193–197. Available online at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27715259 (verified 5 January 2017).
    • Dahlsten, D. L., L. A. Brennan, D. A. McCallum, and S. L. Gaunt. 2002. Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens). In P. Rodewald (ed.) The Birds of North America. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY. Available online at: https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/cbchi (verified 6 January 2017).
    • Dixon, K. L. 1954. Some ecological relations of chickadees and titmice in Central California. The Condor 56: 113–124. Available online at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1364777 (verified 6 January 2017).
    • Foote, J. R., D. J. Mennill, L. M. Ratcliffe, and S. M. Smith. 2010. Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus). In P. Rodewald (ed.) The Birds of North America. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY. Available online at: https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/bkcchi (verified 5 January 2017).
    • Guzy, M. J., and G. Ritchinson. 1999. Common Yellowthroats (Geothlypis trichas). In P. Rodewald (ed.) The Birds of North America. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY. Available online at: https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/comyel (verified 7 January 2017).
    • Heinrich, B., and S. L. Collins. 1983. Caterpillar leaf damage, and the game of hide-and-seek with birds. Ecology 64:592–602. Available online at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1939978 (verified 5 January 2017).
    • Kleintjes, P. K., and D. L. Dahlsten. 1994. Foraging behavior and nestling diet of Chestnut-backed Chickadees in Monterey Pine. The Condor 96:647–653. Available online at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1369468 (verified 6 January 2017).
    • McCallum, D. A., R. Grundel, and D. L. Dahlsten. 1999. Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli). In P. Rodewald (ed.) The Birds of North America. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY. Available online at: https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/mouchi (verified 5 January 2017).
    • Mennill, D. J., and L. M. Ratcliffe. 2004. Nest cavity orientation in Black-capped Chickadees Poecile atricapillus: Do the acoustic properties of cavities influence sound reception in the nest and extra-pair matings? Journal of Avian Biology 35:477–482. Available online at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3677551 (verified 5 January 2017).
    • Mols, C. M., and M. E. Visser. 2002. Great Tits can reduce caterpillar damage in apple orchards. Journal of Applied Ecology 39:888–899. Available online at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2664.2002.00761.x/full (verified 13 April 2017).
    • Ramsey, S. M., K. Otter, and L. M. Ratcliffe. 1999. Nest-site selection by female Black-capped Chicakdees: Settlement based on conspecific attraction? The Auk 3:604–617. Available online at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4089322 (verified 5 January 2017).
    • Robinson, S. K., and R. T. Holmes. 1982. Foraging behavior of forest birds: The relationships among search tactics, diet, and habitat structure. Ecology 63:1918–1931. Available online at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1940130 (verified 5 January 2017).
    • Root, R. B. 1964. Ecological interactions of the Chestnut-backed Chickadee following a range extension. The Condor 66:229–238. Available online at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1365648 (verified 6 January 2017).
    • Rosenberg, K. V., R. D. Ohmart, and B. W. Anderson. 1982. Community organization of riparian breeding birds: Response to an annual resource peak.

    Producción Orgánica de Semillas

    Esta serie de seis seminarios en línea sobre la producción de semillas orgánicas brinda entrenamiento para productores, productoras y aprendices en la producción de semillas orgánicas. Esta serie, ofrecida por La Alianza por las Semillas Orgánicas (OSA) y el Programa para el Intercambio Multinacional por la Agricultura Sostenible (MESA) cubre un rango de temas que van desde plantar hasta cosechar las semillas, incluyendo elementos relacionados con los aspectos económicos de la producción de semillas. La serie es parte de un nuevo programa de aprendizaje ofrecido por OSA y MESA con el apoyo del programa de desarrollo de agricultores y rancheros principiantes del Departamento de Agricultura de los Estados Unidos. Los seminarios en línea son apropiados para agricultores, agricultoras, aprendices, estudiantes y otros profesionales de la agricultura. Esperamos que vea los videos y encuentre más recursos que le sean de utilidad en las presentaciones,

    Find the English version here.

    Parte 1: Por dónde empezar

    Presentación traducida al castellano del seminario en línea liderado por la Alianza por las Semillas Orgánicas, sobre la planificación para producir semillas orgánicas. Toca temas de la biología básica de las semillas y elementos técnicos para producir semilla orgánica exitosamente.

    Parte 2: Ensayos y Selección

    Presentación sobre ensayos y selección. Explica el porque es importante hacer ensayos con semillas, cómo hacerlos y qué tipo de información nos brinda.

    Parte 3: Manejo de Plagas y Enfermedades en la producción de Semillas

    Esta es la parte 3 de una serie de 6 seminarios en linea sobre producción orgánica de semillas. En el se discuten elementos sobre la prevención y manejo de plagas y enfermedades en la producción de semillas.

     

    Parte 4: Calidad de las Semillas, Cosecha y Equipos en la Producción de Semillas Orgánicas

    Esta es la parte 4 de una serie de 6 seminarios en línea sobre producción orgánica de semillas. En el se discuten elementos sobre el control de calidad, la cosecha y los equipos utilizados en la producción de semillas.

    Parte 5: Limpieza de Semillas

    Esta es la parte 5 de una serie de 6 seminarios en línea sobre producción orgánica de semillas. En el se discuten elementos sobre la limpieza y purificación de las semillas.

    Parte 6, Capitulo 1: Aspectos Económicos de la Producción de Semillas y Contratación

    Esta es la parte 6 de una serie de 6 seminarios en línea sobre producción orgánica de semillas. En el se discuten los aspectos económicos de la producción de semillas y elementos relacionados con la contratación en esta actividad.

    Parte 6 Capitulo 2:Aspectos Económicos de la producción de semillas y contratación

    Esta es la parte 6 (capítulo 2) de una serie de 6 seminarios en línea sobre producción orgánica de semillas. En el se discuten los aspectos económicos de la producción de semillas y elementos relacionados con la contratación en esta actividad. Este seminario en línea es presentado por la Alianza por las Semillas Orgánicas OSA y el Programa para el Intercambio Multinacional por la Agricultura Sostenible.

     Recursos adicionales

    Estos seminarios en línea fueron traducidos por Soledad Saburrido y Jennifer Ungemach, del grupo SOMOS SEMILLA, Biblioteca de Semillas, México. Puede conocer más sobre su trabajo en https://www.facebook.com/SomosSemillaSMA/

    This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

    eOrganic 22521

    Can I plant milo or corn using a no-till drill after timothy grass has run its course in late May?

    Answer: The principle concern with no-tilling corn or milo into timothy is going to be plant competition. Certainly, the timothy, being a cool-season perennial grass, will begin to slow down as temperatures reach the 80s. However, stored carbohydrates in the root crown will ensure that it will begin to tiller again once the temperature and water availability reach appropriate levels. Without killing the timothy, it will be difficult to get a good stand of milo or corn, but it can be done.

    The best thing to do is to try to "use up" the root reserves of the timothy prior to drilling. This can be done by grazing hard in the fall and again after the spring flush, which can weaken the timothy and reduce its ability to compete with planted crops in the summer.

    The next concern will be seed placement of the milo or corn. Using a no-till drill will certainly take care of this. Plant to a depth of about 1.5 inches and increase your seeding rate, as planting into sod comes with some potential problems, such as grubs or wireworms.

    A good resource to learn more is an article titled "Seeding Cover Crops into Perennial Sod", written by Gabe Brown, who grazes cattle on perennial pastures and no-tilled cover crops in North Dakota.

    In addition, you can find information on a host of topics related to pasture management on the Livestock and Pasture section of the ATTRA website.

    Original post blogged on b2evolution.

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