CTAHR NEWS

The Business of Cover Crops

An essential sustainable farming practice needs more land for seeds

The Business of Cover Crops

Cover crops, usually grown between the harvest and planting season of the main cash crop, are increasingly popular on America’s farms. From 2012 to 2017, their usage jumped by 50 percent to 6.2 million hectares.

The main reason is sustainability. Cover crops make soil healthier. They reduce erosion and help restore nutrients and carbon, and create the conditions where soil can better hold moisture. This all mitigates climate change and helps farmers adapt crops to hotter and drier conditions. Cover crops control weeds and pests, and they reduce the need for pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

“Water quality improvements are seen quite rapidly when you use cover crops,” says Michael Kantar of the Department of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences. His paper, “The Hidden Land Use Cost of Upscaling Cover Crops,” appears in the June 11 Communications Biology, a Nature journal. Read the full study.

However, the popularity may soon hit a ceiling: planting millions of acres of cover crops will require huge amounts of land to produce enough seed. Without the right investment in improving cover crops, such as breeding for varieties that produce more seed, the land needed would likely cut into land used for food crops.

“We know that cover crops work on individual farms, but it’s not feasible to scale up to industry levels that will benefit farms across the U.S.,” says Mikey. “To move from field to landscape, we need to pursue this as a business venture, as well as doing the research.”

He adds, “We don’t want a food vs. environment debate. We want both: sustainability on a large scale, so individual farmers can still make a living. With a good business model, I believe we can make it happen across the entire farming sector. We just need a strategy that fits the market size and constraints.”

Print

Giant Candy Canes

“Kō: Ethnobotanical Guide to Hawaiian Sugarcane Cultivars” gives a fascinating history

Ready, Set, Students

No in-class? No problem. ASAO is keeping CTAHR students in the loop

Helping 500,000+

The 2020 AUW Campaign targets Hawaiʻi residents who need assistance

A.I. in Ag

New grant opportunity is due October 5

Beyond Beginners

GoFarm Hawaiʻi consults on business plans, grant writing, and a whole lot more.

Vegan Leather

FDM students hope to establish sustainable manufacturing in Hawaiʻi

One Busy Man

Extension agent is helping livestock producers, near and far

$1.5M for Ag Ed

Grant designed to expand education for Native Hawaiians

Primed for Expansion

NIFA awards almost $1M to CTAHR’s Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture

Textbook Nutrition

Food Science and Human Nutrition’s latest edition adds an interactive layer

Welcome, Rock

Dr. Zhi-Yan Du joins MBBE

Men’s Wear

FDM professor is featured in a new book on masculine clothing

A Virtual Garden

The American Society for Horticultural Science’s online conference is a hit

RU AgCurious?

GoFarm Hawaiʻi Windward kicks off another farmer training

Giant Smiles

4-H contest gets keiki excited about agriculture

Safe You, Safe Campus

IT Services’ new app is mandatory for those coming to UH

Earth Mother

UH Center for Hawaiian Studies’ webinar is tonight at 7:00 p.m.

Not-Fun Spoofing

Beware of attackers impersonating CTAHR IT staff

Mission: Possible

Dean Comerford hosts a virtual Town Hall for Alumni and Friends

Conserving Kāhuli

Can structured decision-making save the Hawaiian Tree Snail?

Renaissance Agent

Molokaʻi Extension welcomes Marshall Joy

Positioned for Growth

Thesis explores a clonal rootstock program for cacao in Hawaiʻi

Bad Seed

USDA investigates packages of unsolicited seeds from China

Fire and Rain

SOEST and CTAHR document the first hurricane to cause both flooding and multiple fires.

Bringing UH to Cambodia

FCS joins a $1 million project to study socioeconomic and environmental shifts.

Sweet!

Learn about Native Hawaiian sweet potato varieties

Vegetable Garden Isle

Extension agents feed the hungry with the fruits of their research

Soil Rx

Extension offers conference on soil health

Mama Cows

Agent offers webinar on choosing heifers for cow/calf producers

Fashion Fights COVID

FDM alumna’s fashion-forward scrubs benefit Hawaiʻi Food Bank

12345678910Last