Presently, New England organic dairies
rely extensively on cereal grains imported from the Midwestern U.S. and Canada,
grains which have been increasing in cost and decreasing in availability and quality. To reduce their reliance on purchased concentrates,
growers must be able to reliably produce grains on-farm. Weeds represent a major obstacle
in growing organic grains, as they decrease both yield and quality of the
harvest. Lauren Kolb, Ph.D. student, is looking at two seemingly opposing strategies for improved weed control in organic grains: (1) enhanced competition by increasing seeding rates and decreasing row spacing; and (2) improved physical weed control by using a wide-row spacing and inter-row hoeing.