<ol> <LI>Determine the impact of cover crop systems on populations of key insect and nematode pests and insect cause plant impairments.<LI>Assess the effect of cover cropping on the enhancement of beneficial organisms. <LI>Quantify the impact of cover crop systems on vegetable productivity and marketable yields. <LI>Determine the effect of cover crop systems on weed populations.<LI>Deliver a sustainable and economically viable cover crop based pest management program (CCPMP) to educators, growers, and their advisors.
Non-Technical Summary: There is a need to develop sustainable pest management tactics that can protect farmers from economic hardship that arises when multiple pest complexes plague their crop fields. The purpose of this project is to deliver an economically viable sustainable pest management program that will reduce growers dependency on chemical insecticides. <P> Approach: Field studies and demonstration plots will be established to examine the ability of two cover cropping strategies (i.e., dying and organic mulch) to significantly improve crop quality and marketable yield through a reduction of multiple crop pests. During the field experiments, populations of insect, nematode, and weeds and their associated natural enemies will be monitored concurrently. Conferences/field day meetings will be conducted throughout the study in collaboration with the team of researchers, growers and county extension agents to disseminate research findings and promote the exchange of information between project participants and other members of the agricultural community.