Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A&T Small Farms Field Day Showcases Innovative Farm Practices

On Thursday, 6/19, North Carolina A&T State University hosted its annual Small Farms Field Day. Here are a few pictures from the event, showing some of the innovative and effective strategies that they demonstrate as part of their outreach and Extension.

St. Croix Sheep have a reputation for being parasite-resistant and high-quality. Like other 'hair sheep' breeds, they do not require shearing but instead shed their wool naturally in the springtime.

Dr. Sanjun Gu, horticulture specialist at A&T, describes an agroforestry model comparing Pecan tree production on its own (foreground) and an integrated system combining Pecans with vegetables (in the distant background). In the High Country region, hardier nut tree species would be chosen, perhaps to include hazelnuts or coppiced Chinese Chestnuts.

The A&T farm recently added a rainwater collection system to some of the high tunnels at the University Farm. Rain water from the gutters mounted above the roll-up sides flows to an underground cistern, where it is filtered and available for reuse as irrigation water inside the hoop houses.

 While hoop houses are valuable real estate on any farm, cover crops can still play an important role in maintaining soil health and fertility there. Here, one of the A&T University Farm Organic hoop houses grows a summer cover crop of Millet and Soybeans.

A close-up of the Millet/Soybean organic cover crop.

Organic tomatoes and cucumbers at the A&T University Farm.

Organic peppers and cucumbers at the A&T University Farm.

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