Book of Abstracts
11th IFOAM Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996, Copenhagen, Denmark
1Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Georgia,Athens, Georgia, 30602-7509, USA, 2Crop and Soil Science,University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, 30602-7272, USA
The southeastern region of the U.S. accounts for over 60% of total peanut (Arachis hypogea) production, and over 50% of peanut farmers. Peanut production in this region relies heavily on chemical inputs for pest control and nutrient management. With increasing population and worsening water quality, reducing chemical applications to agricultural land is apriority, particularly in the sandy Coastal Plain region of south Georgia. University research indicates that organic peanut production is technically feasible, and may be economically competitive with conventional systems. However, application of experimental results is rarely straight forward. Adoption of alternative systems is incremental. Farmers try out their management ideas, successively improving practices as they learn more about system responses unique to their farms.
Ms. Lois Braun, a commercial producer in Georgia, initiated and maintained an organic peanut trial on farm for three years. Ms. Braun documented production activities, yield and costs over this period. Our objective is to present the results of the trial, focusing on the trial and error learning process associated with adoption. We demonstrate that responses to adoption challenges are dependent on farm conditions, input availability, and observed outcomes. Cumulative information is critical to system design, which suggests that farmers benefit significantly from sharing experiences and observations regardless of their progress in the adoption process.
The key issues faced were weed control, disease control, soil management, water use, yield quality, and economic returns. The need for holistic management was exemplified by effects of crop rotations, tillage selection, timing of activities and equipment selection on all systems. For example, methods that reduce weeds also improve harvesting efficiency and reduce risk of fungal infection, but may be more costly and encourage erosion. The development of a system that meets ecological as well as economic goals is an on going process.
Bailey, J. E. (1996): Organic Peanut Production. Small Farm, 5, 46-48.
Taylor, D. C. (1990): On-Farm Sustainable Agriculture Research: Lessons from the Past, Directions for the Future. Journal ofSustainable Agriculture, 1, 43-87.