Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Using ground covers in organic production

Date:
August 30, 2011
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Scientists indicate that organic farmers who need to periodically amend their soils with compost after planting can still control weeds -- and hold down costs -- by using fabric ground covers. This will be welcome news to organic farmers who till composted manure into their crop fields after planting.

Organic farmers can use ground covers to control weeds and still apply fertilizing compost and water to their crops, according to a new ARS study.
Credit: Donald Makus, ARS

Studies by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists indicate that organic farmers who need to periodically amend their soils with compost after planting can still control weeds-and hold down costs-by using fabric ground covers. This will be welcome news to organic farmers who till composted manure into their crop fields after planting.

Related Articles


Agricultural Research Service (ARS) soil scientist Larry Zibilske, who works at the agency's Integrated Farming and Natural Resources Research Unit in Weslaco, Texas, set out to see how these ground covers limit water penetration and affect carbon and nutrient levels in soils. ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency, and this work supports the USDA commitment to supporting sustainable agriculture.

Zibilske conducted a soil chamber study using two types of commercial ground covers: a needle-punched, double-layer fabric, and a tightly woven material made of flat polypropylene strands. He used two types of compost-poultry litter pellets or a compost mix of cattle manure and other organic materials-in the research.

Zibilske monitored the movement of nutrients from the two types of composted materials through the two types of ground covers for 30 days. Water was able to pass freely through the fabric cover, but the polypropylene cover limited the movement of water for the first two weeks. However, water was able to pass through the polypropylene cover much more easily by the end of the study, perhaps because the cover was becoming coated with organic molecules from the compost.

Zibilske found that soil microbial activity indicators were essentially the same in soils protected by fabric covers, soils protected by polypropylene covers, and control soil samples where the movement of nutrients had not been impeded by a ground cover. This similarity suggests that these ground covers did not significantly alter or limit biological activities in the soil. Links were also observed between the use of fabric covers and reduced soil levels of nitrogen and phosphorus levels.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. The original article was written by Ann Perry. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. L. M. Zibilske. Permeability of Fabric Ground Covers to Organically-Derived Nutrients. International Journal of Fruit Science, 2010; 10 (2): 109 DOI: 10.1080/15538362.2010.492322

Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Using ground covers in organic production." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110830144510.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2011, August 30). Using ground covers in organic production. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110830144510.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Using ground covers in organic production." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110830144510.htm (accessed April 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lion Makes Surprise Comeback in Gabon

Lion Makes Surprise Comeback in Gabon

AFP (Apr. 1, 2015) The noble lion has made a comeback in southeast Gabon, after disappearing for years, according to US wildlife organisation Panthera, which recently took live video footage of a male. Duration: 00:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Sees Resurgence of Drug Trafficking as Ebola Wanes

Liberia Sees Resurgence of Drug Trafficking as Ebola Wanes

AFP (Apr. 1, 2015) The governments of Liberia and Sierra Leone have been busy fighting the menace created by the deadly Ebola virus, but illicit drug lords have taken advantage of the situation to advance the drug trade. Duration: 01:12 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gorilla Falls Into Zoo Moat

Gorilla Falls Into Zoo Moat

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) A gorilla comes to the rescue of her sister who fell into a moat in Israel&apos;s Safari zoo. Rough cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
California on Alert Over Surge in Sea Lion Strandings

California on Alert Over Surge in Sea Lion Strandings

AFP (Mar. 31, 2015) Since the start of the year, thousands of baby sea lions have washed up on beaches along the west coast of the United States. Marine animal care centers are working around the clock to save the stranded creatures. Duration: 02:06 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins