Video Clip: Ridge Till Research from Vegetable Farmers and their Sustainable Tillage Practices

Organic Agriculture June 03, 2011 Print Friendly and PDF

Source:

Vegetable Farmers and their Sustainable Tillage Practices [DVD]. V. Grubinger. 2007. University of Vermont Extension. Available for purchase at: http://www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry/Videos/tillagevideo.html (verified 31 Dec 2008).

This is a Vegetable Farmers and their Sustainable Tillage Practices video clip.

Featuring

Chuck Mohler, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Cornell University. Ithaca, NY.

Audio Text

My name’s Chuck Mohler. I’m a researcher at Cornell University in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences. I’m working on an organic cropping systems project funded by USDA. This is a ridge-till system for vegetables we’re trying to develop. These ridges were originally built two years ago. Since then they’ve been scraped down and re-formed several times, but the idea is that we keep wheel traffic in the same lanes all the time and that allows the bases of the ridges to develop good soil structure by earthworm channels and dead root channels. That improves the ability of the crop to root and improves disease management. It doesn’t look like much now, but three weeks ago in mid June, these ridges had vetch about that high all over them. We flailed mowed the vetch and about a week later came through and scraped off the tops. Then mixed the soil in with the vetch a little bit to help speed up the decomposition. A week after that the ridges were reformed, we’re now ready to scrape the ridges again and plant cabbage.

The reason that we scrape and re-form the ridges is to get the vetch incorporated so that it can decompose and also to maintain good weed management so that the weeds are relatively under control. These are our ridge scrapers made by Sukup. They don’t make them anymore but it’s a fairly simple design. There’s these canted wheels that keep the scraper on the ridge and then we’ve got a double coulter that cuts through any residue, and finally this snowplow arrangement scrapes the soil off to the side. The parallel linkage here holds the implement at a constant depth, the adjustment is up here in front, you can adjust it up and down by setting these four bolts into different holes. The goal is to scrape about two to three inches off the top of the ridge.

This video project was funded in part by the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (USDA).  

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.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.