Volume 1: Sept | Oct | Nov 2009

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Providing science-based information to serve Hawaii's Farming Community

Hānaiʻ Ai

The Food Provider

September | October | November 2009  

Aloha,

Welcome to the inaugural issue of HānaiʻAi, the sustainable agriculture newsletter of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Sustainable agricultural systems strive to profitably meet food and fiber needs without degrading the natural and human resources that ensure productivity in the long term. No single model for agricultural sustainability exists. Judicious use of chemical and genetic technology with increased reliance on biological cycles may occur or certified organic systems may be used that exclude many synthetic inputs.

Regardless of the model, achieving sustainability requires the integration of many tools and practices based on extensive knowledge and on-going research. The mission of HānaiʻAi is to provide a venue for dissemination of science-based information to serve all of Hawaii's Farming Community in our quest for agricultural sustainability.



We hope you find the newsletter valuable and welcome your input.

Feature Farmer

Ho Farms, Kahuku, O'ahu

 

Area under production:

30 acres

Years farming in Hawai'i:

18

Crops grown:

long beans, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, assorted tomato varieties

Fertility management:

synthetic fertilizers, fertigation, compost

 

HOT TIPS from Ho Farms

Focus on quality.

Diversify crops so you are not solely reliant on a single commodity, especially in the local market.

 

Mahalo nui loa to Ho 'ohana for this interview and photos

 

Read More

Sustainable & Organic Research &

Outreach News

News from Hawai'i's Researchers and Extension

Compost: Using it Effectively

Ted Radovich,

University of Hawai'i at Manoa, CTAHR

 

Composting is a controlled form of biological decomposition in which organic materials are combined and managed to produce a stable or mature product (compost) that can promote plant growth several ways.

 

These include:

  • Enhance microbial activity of soils
  • Provide some plant nutrients
  • Ameliorate an buffer acids in soils
  • Improve N fertilizer use efficiency
  • Suppress disease
  • Increase water holding capacity
  • Improve soil structure

 

One of the most important characteristics of compost is the ratio of carbon to nitrogen by weight (C:N) it contains. Compost C:N should be about 20 to allow for release of plant available nitrogen and avoid “nitrogen robbing” from surrounding soil. Compost is relatively low in nutrients (nitrogen = 0.5-3%), and large amounts (20-40 tons per acre) generally need to be applied in the field to observe short term changes in soil quality or plant growth. The transportation and production costs associated with these application rates can be prohibitive. Innovative use of smaller quantities of compost may improve cost effectiveness and still provide benefits to plants.

 

These include:

  • Combining with high nitrogen fertilizers to improve fertilizer use efficiency
  • Using aqueous compost extracts (compost tea) to extend applications over a larger area
  • Incorporating composts into seedling media to target applications directly to the seedling and replace imported materials

 

For more information on compost and composting, please see:

 

FMI: Ted Radovich, email: theodore@hawaii.edu

Growing Your Business

Linda J. Cox,

University of Hawai'i at Manoa, CTAHR

 

Many agricultural operations do not know how profitable they were over the past year are until they complete their taxes the following year. Making good business decisions is difficult when much of the important information is not known until as much as a year later. If your profits are not as large as you would like them to be, you cannot make any changes to improve things until the next year. In order to plan ahead you will need a managerial information system that tells you your cost of production, among other things, so that you know what you must sell your products for in order to profitable.

Read here.

 

FMI: Linda J. Cox, email: lcox@hawaii.edu

Sunn Hemp.jpg

Improving sunn hemp benefits by integrating with solarization

Koon-Hui Wang ans Sharadchandra Marahatta,

University of Hawai'i at Manoa, CTAHR

 

If your land has been cropped continuously for a long period of time, you might want to plant a green manure cover crop to revitalize your soil. Sunn hemp (Crotalaria juncea) has been identified as an ideal cover crop that can generate great amounts of organic biomass within 2 1/2 months of growth during spring to summer in Hawaii. Growers in Hawaii can also take advantage of solar heat to suppress various soil-borne pests. Recently, sunn hemp cover cropping followed by soil solarization to improve weed suppression was investigated.

Read here

Sunn hemp for Soil Health and Nematode Management

YouTube video

 

FMI: Koon-Hui Wang, email: koonhui@hawaii.edu

Grafting for Managing Soil-borne Diseases

Scot Nelson,

University of Hawai'i at Manoa, CTAHR

 

Plant grafting is a highly successful organic method used for the management of root pests of tree species worldwide. Pathogen-susceptible tree varieties are grafted onto the root stocks of related plant species that possess resistance to or tolerance of important plant diseases. Two research projects underway on the Big Island examine the potential of grafting to manage coffee nematode decline caused by the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne konaensis and koa wilt caused by the soilborne fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. koae. These are the two most important and deadly diseases of Coffea arabica and Acacia koa in Hawaii.

 

Read Read here

 

FMI: Scot Nelson, email: snelson@hawaii.edu

Varroa Mite in Bees (CCP)

Mark Wright and Ethel Villalobos,

University of Hawai'i at Manoa, CTAHR

 

Varroa mite control posses many challenges since it may be difficult to kill mites without affecting the bees. Formic acid, an organic compound, can be used as a bio-pesticide for Varroa destructor control. A new formic acid treatment was tested at 42 hives and the large number of mites killed within the first ten days after treatment indicate that the treatment holds great promise.

 

Read here

 

FMI: Mark Wright, email: markwrig@hawaii.edu

     Ethel Villalobos, email: emv@hawaii.edu

Publications & Programs

for sustainable and organic production system

CTAHR Publications

 

FMI/FYI

Beneficial Microorganisms

 

Many farmers would like to use micro-organisms such as Rhizobia and Mycorrhizae to enhance crop growth. Some local vendors are importing inoculum and many mainland sources are available. If you do import inoculum from the mainland, please be aware that you must obtain an approval from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture. Contact Amy N. Takahashi, Microorganism Specialist, Plant Quarantine Branch, 1849 Auiki Street, Honolulu, Hawaii 96819. Phone: (808) 832-0589. Fax: (808) 832-0584. Email: Amy.N.Takahashi@hawaii.gov

For more information on using beneficial microorganisms in agriculture, please see:

 

What is the most common pesticide violation found on organic farms by Hawai'i HDOA?

Actually, it's the same problem found for all farms: lack of Worker Protection training and signage. This is a serious, but simple problem for farmers to fix. Training in the Worker Protection Standard is required for any employees at a farm (with the immediate family being exempt: mother, father, wife, children, brother, sister). A specific poster must be displayed and records of training and application must be kept. Farmers who are unaware can learn about the requirements from the pesticides education program by contacting Mike Matsukawa, HDOA 793-9424.

 

Emerging Issues in the U.S. Organic Industry

This report examines recent economic research on the adoption of organic farming systems, organic production costs and returns, and market conditions to gain a better understanding of the organic supply squeeze and other emerging issues in this rapidly changing industry.

Report highlights include:

  • More than two-thirds of U.S. consumers buy organic products at least occasionally.
  • Growth of the U.S. organic livestock sector is constrained by the lack of organic feed grain supplies.
  • The average retail prices of most organic fruits and vegetables are almost 30% more than those of conventional commodities.
  • Organic producers face competition from producers interested in other niche markets, particularly "locally grown."

For the full report, please see: http://ers.usda.gov/Publications/EIB55/

 

Since 1988, the WSARE program has been supporting agricultural profitability, environmental integrity and community strength through grants that enable cutting-edge research and education to open windows on sustainability across the West, including Hawai'i.

 

The goals of WSARE are:

  • Promote good stewardship of our natural resources
  • Enhance the quality of life of farmers and ranchers and ensure the viability of rural communities
  • Protect the health and safety of those involved in food and farm systems.
  • Promote crop, livestock, and enterprise diversification
  • Examine the regional, economic, social, and environmental implications of adopting sustainable agriculture practices and systems.

 

For more information, please see: http://www.westernsare.org/ or contact Hawai'i WSARE co-coordinators Dr. Ted Radovich (theodore@hawaii.edu) and Jari Sugano (suganoj@ctahr.hawaii.edu).

 

Mahalo nui loa to Kalae Akioka and Kukui Maunakea-Forth for their guidance with naming our newsletter.

 

This e-publication has been prepared by CTAHR research scientists and extension staff to deliver science-based information about sustainable and organic production systems to serve Hawaii's farming community.

 

To continue receiving this newsletter, please confirm your interest by updating your profile/email address (see link below). If this publication has been valuable, please forward it to others. Send in your suggestions for what you want to read about in our articles. Tell us about your research needs.

 

Mahalo nui loa,

 

Jari Sugano and Dr. Ted Radovich

Sarah Moore, technician and editor

Eric Collier, Managing Editor



Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program

Cooperative Extension Service

College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

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