Growers attending a July 21 Organic Grain Crops Field Day in Kinston, N.C., will see some of the high risk, high reward options facing organic farmers in the upper Southeast

Organic meat is in high demand these days and to produce it growers must use organic grains. Like other grains, demand for organic corn and soybeans by North Carolina livestock producers runs way ahead of supply.

Importing organic grain from other parts of the country for beef, poultry and swine operations is costly, creating a good market for locally grown organic grains. Two big problems limiting growth of organic grain production in the state are weeds and seeds.

North Carolina State University Organic Crops Specialist Chris Reberg-Horton says, “Weed control is the most challenging aspect of producing organic soybeans.  We have spent the last several years looking at multiple tactics that, together, can really help fight weed pressure in organic soybeans.

Growers attending the July 21 meeting will see how seeding rate, seed size/variety, roll-kill/no-till, and cultivating can contribute to a soybean weed management plan. They will get an opportunity to see cultivators in action and see how well they perform.

Interactive program

Growers interested in growing organic soybeans and other organic grain crops will have an opportunity to ask specific questions and become an interactive part of the program, which gets under way at 10 a.m. at the Caswell Research Station, located at 2415 West Vernon Avenue in Kinston, N.C.

There is a $10 registration fee, which includes the cost of a noon-time barbecue lunch. Whether meat for the noon meal is organic or not will be revealed at the meeting.

Horton and North Carolina State Research Associate and Plant Breeder, George Place will start the meeting with a walking tour of organic research work at the Caswell Station. Stops during the tour will include a cultivation demonstration, soybean plant population study, seeding rates for organic grain crops, and a look at a no-till/roll-kill technique that has proven successful in helping some growers overcome weed problems in grain crops.

During the noontime barbecue lunch Horton will lead an informal discussion of marketing opportunities for North Carolina organic grain growers.

Following lunch attendees will get a chance to see how different corn and soybean varieties performed in North Carolina State’s Official Variety Tests (OVT) program. North Carolina State Crop Breeders George Place, Tommy Carter and Major Goodman will discuss performance characteristics of various grain crop varieties at the Caswell Station.

To register for the meeting, or get more information, contact Lisa Forehand at 919-513-0954.

Attendees will qualify for 2.5 hours of Certified Crop Advisor  CEU credit and 1.5  hours of Continuing Pesticide Certification Credit for subclasses N,O,D, X.