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This Soils and Plant Nutrients Chapter from the Extension Gardener Handbook examines the physical and chemical properties of soil as well as the important role organic matter plays. The chapter discusses how to submit a soil sample for testing and how to read the report to apply necessary fertilizers.
An introduction to soil acidity and liming for farmers and gardeners to increase crop income and improve lawn and garden performance. Topics covered include soil pH, soil testing, liming standards and application and incorporation of lime into soil.
This factsheet tells homeowners how to recognize and prevent problems with home septic systems. How septic systems work, where septic systems can be used, and maintenance on septic systems are covered.
This publication discusses how to set up a worm-growing business.
This manual, updated every year, covers pesticide use and safety information, chemical application equipment, fertilizer use, insect control, chemical weed control, plant growth regulators, animal damage control and disease control.
If you use a septic system or if you are buying a home with a septic system, this owner's guide can help you be sure that your septic system is used and maintained properly. This guide also provides a place to record and keep important information, such as a copy of your permit, a sketch of your system, and maintenance records.
This publication describes common causes for septic tank failures and suggests steps you can take to prevent failure of your system.
Nearly all North Carolina soils are naturally acidic and need lime, which neutralizes the acidity, for optimum growth of crops, forages, turf, trees, and many ornamentals. Nature and cause of acidity, benefits of proper lime usage, soil testing and target pH, liming materials and lime application and incorporation are presented in this publication.
This publication discusses production of winter annual cover crops, their benefits and management. Research has shown several important benefits of planting winter annual cover crops, chief among them erosion control, addition of nitrogen (N) to the soil for use by a subsequent crop, removal of nitrogen from the soil to prevent nutrient loading, buildup of soil organic matter and buildup of residue that acts as a mulch for water conservation or retention.
This publication presents basic information on factors (veil, water and plant relationships) to be considered in developing an effective irrigation schedule.
This factsheet for business owners describes North Carolina waste reduction programs that can benefit a business. It includes some recommended practices for reducing waste and a list of organizations that can provide information and assistance in planning and conducting a waste reduction and recycling program.
North Carolina’s climate and soils are well suited to grow many types tree fruits. This publication will focus on the three main tree fruits produced for market in North Carolina: peaches, apples, and pecans. In addition to these main crops, information on pears, persimmons, plums, nectarines, Asian pears, and figs is presented as they grow well in North Carolina’s temperate climate. These tree fruits require similar management regimes described in this publication.
This publication explains how to obtain representative soil samples and to submit them for analysis. Where and when to take samples, proper sampling techniques, and submitting the samples for analysis are all covered.
This publication provides information you will need for measuring soil water: types of soil-water measuring devices, how to select the right measuring device and how to prepare and install these devices.
North Carolina has an abundant supply of clean water, a resource vital to our high quality of life. Rivers, lakes, groundwater aquifers, and coastal estuaries are crucial to public health, economic development, and recreational opportunities. However, our water sources are constantly threatened with degradation by such activities as imprudent development, improperly managed agricultural and industrial activities, and unsound waste disposal practices. The soil exerts an important influence on water quality. How we manage the soil and what we put on it determine, in part, the level of treatment required to make our water supplies safe and enjoyable. This fact sheet explains how soils influence water quality and why efficient soil management helps protect water quality.
This publication describes some basic concepts of hydrology and explains how water moves through or over a buffer. Using these concepts, it explains effective natural riparian buffers can be created using the grasses, trees, shrubs, and other vegetation growing along streams.
This factsheet explains how you can set up and maintain a worm composting bin for your home or office. Worm composting reduces the amount of material that ends up in the landfill and provides compost that can enrich the soil.
This factsheet for farmers describes ways to control the harmful effects of excess nutrients while maintaining healthy, productive farm crops. Steps covered include testing your soil and following the soil testing recommendations, setting realistic yield goals, choosing the most suitable nitrogen sources, applying nitrogen correctly, using manure as a nutrient source, controlling erosion, managing water flow and fencing animals away from water flow.
This publication provides information and describes technologies based on natural stream processes that can be used to restore impaired streams.
Runoff on construction sites often contains large amount of soil and trapping it before it leaves the site is critical in preventing damage to streams, rivers and lakes. This factsheet describes sediment traps and basins at construction sites and agricultural operations, which provide temporary pools for runoff that allow sediment to settle before the water is discharged into water.
This factsheet clarifies the importance of waste analysis and describes the procedures for taking reliable samples and submitting them to the Agronomic Division of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDA&CS).
This Composting Chapter from the Extension Gardener Handbook will explain the benefits of and strategies for composting and vermicomposting.
Construction sites of more than one acre are required to install systems to retain sediment produced onsite. This factsheet describes several chemical treatment options, including polyacrylamides (PAM), gypsum and alum, for reducing turbidity in impounded water.
This guide is designed to help turf managers identify the major turfgrass pests found in North Carolina and better understand their life cycles, symptoms, and biology.
Because ethanol has different combustion characteristics than gasoline, some people suggest it will cause harm to two-stroke engines found in all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), lawn and garden equipment, and marine engines. Two-stroke engines require an oil and gas mixture for a fuel source, and the oil and gas are mixed in a ratio specified by the engine manufacturer. Fortunately, the concern with ethanol blended fuels is primarily associated with older engines. The majority of engine manufacturers have now designed their engines to run on E-10 blends (10% ethanol, 90% gasoline), but some precautions still remain. This bulletin will discuss the reasoning behind these precautions and why owners of some equipment powered by two-stroke engines may have concerns.
This publication discusses the features of coastal dunes and construction of new dunes using vegetation. The procedures recommended can help restore, enhance, and protect dune vegetation.
This publication discusses how to use controlled drainage as way to to reduce nutrient losses from agricultural land to surface waters and groundwater. It includes information on controlled drainage systems, structure location and management, and water quality and crop yield benefits.
This publication provides an overview of how to design and manage a composting system to process municipal organic materials.
This publication discusses strategies and techniques for stabilizing stream banks where erosion is an issue.
This publication alerts prospective gardeners to some of the most common contaminants in urban soils, such as lead and other toxic metals, solvents, pesticides and total petroleum hydrocarbons. This will help minimize potential risks to gardeners and to those who consume garden produce. The document includes information regarding site characterization, common contaminants, soil testing, interpretation of results and strategies for reducing exposure risks.
This publication discusses flying unmanned aerial vehicles (drones, model aircraft) for commercial purposes. You'll learn about the requirements becoming a commercial UAV pilot and how to obtain a remote pilot certificate.
This planting guide, provides the best available information about planting rates, depths, and stand evaluation for forage crops commonly grown in North Carolina
This factsheet for farmers describes concepts, terminology, and guidelines concerning precision soil sampling. Proper testing allows farmers to apply the correct amount of lime and fertilizer to fields.
By far, nitrogen (N) is the most widely applied nutrient for plant growth. It should come as no surprise, that symptoms of nitrogen deficiency readily develop with tobacco plants.
This factsheet provides design information on using root wads and rock vanes for streambank stabilization. Before these structures can be used, the designer must know the cause of the instability and if the problem is local or system wide.
This publication discusses water capacity, soil's effect on water availability, and proper soil management to maximize water availability. Soil texture and structure, soil density, soil crusting, tillage and controlled traffic are covered.
This publication provides information on the origin, distribution, impact, biology, reproduction and management options of hydrilla.
This publication describes the composting process, how to make compost that meets National Organic Program standards, and how to apply and utilize compost.
Selecting the right tool for a job is essential. When that tool is as important and expensive as a farm implement, the same holds true—you want to buy farm equipment that does what you want; is strong, durable, and reliable; and is generally the best value for your money.
This factsheet describes the effect of fertilizer nitrogen on water quality and the environment. It provides guidelines for managing soil fertility on farms to preserve water quality.
This factsheet covers the use of polyacrylamides as a means of erosion control on construction sites. PAM characteristics and considerations are discussed as well as basic directions for use.
This publication describes hose drag systems and their operation as used to apply animal waste and wastewater in North Carolina.
This chapter from the North Carolina Organic Grain Production Guide discusses the organic standards for soil management.
This factsheet provides general guidelines for obtaining soil samples, a summary of soil test results and information for evaluating those results to develop an efficient Christmas tree fertilization program.
This publication tells gardeners why they should test their soil, how to obtain a soil test and interpret the results and how to use the soil test to improve their soils.
This River Course publication is part of a factsheet series developed to provide information and technologies related to the use of natural channel design in restoring impaired streams.
Phosphorus (P) is the second most important nutrient in crop production but is often found in relatively low amounts in native soils. Decades of fertilizer application have led to P enrichment of most North Carolina agricultural soils. Excess soil P that leaves agricultural fields via runoff and drainage can cause algal blooms in water resources that lead to impaired drinking water quality and can limit recreational activities. Maintaining adequate soil P levels for crop growth can reduce P runoff, save money, and protect the environment
Many farmers and home gardeners have reported damage to vegetable and flower crops after applying horse or livestock manure, compost, hay, or grass clippings to the soil. The symptoms reported include poor seed germination; death of young plants; twisted, cupped, and elongated leaves; misshapen fruit; and reduced yields. These symptoms can be caused by other factors, including diseases, insects, and herbicide drift. Another possibility for the source of these crop injuries should also be considered: the presence of certain herbicides in the manure, compost, hay, or grass clippings applied to the soil.
This publication offers fertilizer suggestions for a variety of crops, including field, pasture and hay crops, tree fruit, small fruit, ornamental plants and vegetable crops.
This publication is designed to help you identify common weeds found in southeastern North Carolina pastures, hayfields, and sprayfields. It presents descriptions and pictures of some of the most common weeds, and it provides references for other weeds that are not in this publication. Weeds are categorized here as broadleaf, grass, or other, and as warm season or cool season. This publication does not recommend specific chemical control methods because differences in situations, rapidly changing labels, and new products make generalized recommendations impractical.
Manganese (Mn) deficiency begins as an interveinal chlorosis on the upper leaves. As the symptoms progress, the interveinal chlorosis takes on a white netting type appearance. With advanced symptoms, small white spots develop and over time the spots enlarge into larger white spots.
Potassium (K) is one of the three core macronutrients, and consequently, deficiency symptoms manifest relatively quickly in tobacco. Potassium is a mobile element, which means it will translocate from mature tissues to the younger tissues where it is needed. This movement of K from older to younger foliage is what causes deficiency symptoms to develop first on the lower foliage.
Soil samples that determine lime and fertilizer needs of crops routinely come from the top 4 to 8 inches of soil. However, deep soil samples will be needed for the Phosphorus Loss Assessment Tool (PLAT), and this publication describes how to take these 28- to 32-inch deep samples.
Tobacco plants that are B deficient are stunted very early on in production when compared to healthy plants. Initial symptoms involve a noticeable distortion at the growing point. The youngest leaves will develop kinks and other unusual growth patterns. Additionally, the upper leaves will be very thick and brittle to the touch. It has a very distinct “ridged” feeling compared to healthy plants. Symptoms can progress very quickly once initial symptoms are observed. The distorted terminal bud will quickly become necrotic and may abscise from the plant. The older foliage will often become darker green in coloration and will also become distorted. The leaves will begin to curl downward and will take on a crinkled appearance.
Calcium (Ca) is essential for proper plant development and leaf expansion. A calcium deficiency will first manifest in the youngest foliage because Ca is an immobile element within the plant. As calcium deficiency progresses, the developmental damages will also advance. The integral role of Ca in leaf development makes its early diagnosis vital to tobacco production.
This publication offers 5 lessons for a school curriculum on the importance of vermicomposting, setting up a worm bin, anatomy of earthworms and how to reduce waste and recycle. Lesson objectives an activities are provided.
This publication discusses tillage treatments for large-seeded crops like corn and soybeans in the Piedmont region and recommends minimizing tillage based on research at the Upper Piedmont Research Station.
Phosphorus (P) deficiency in tobacco begins as a noticeable stunting when compared to a plant with a sufficient supply of P. Additionally, a P deficient tobacco plant may develop a darker green coloration of the upper foliage. Lower leaves will become chlorotic with a mottling of olive green leaf spots. The initial symptoms appearing on the lower foliage may be attributed to the fact that P is mobile within plant tissues and is translocated from these older leaves to the young developing tissues under periods of low P.
Stormwater wetlands perform well in reducing peak flows and pollutant removal when properly designed and constructed. These wetland construction guidelines are based on experience gained at more than 30 sites across North Carolina.
This publication covers the use of triploid sterile grass carp for biological control of aquatic vegetation in the United States.
This publication discusses best practices management to prevent agricultural activities from contaminating groundwater. It covers the role of soil on the quality of groundwater, soil characteristics, characteristics of potential pollutants and management practices such as nitrogen and pesticide management.
This publication describes how the symptoms of cold injury and boron deficiency in tobacco seedlings in the float greenhouse are often confused.
This publication discusses the presence of various pollutants in rooftop runoff and establishes some general guidelines regarding the use of collected rainwater in North Carolina.
Changes in the interpretation of North Carolina water quality rules and technical standards allow for the use of on-farm records in the development of waste management plans. This publication describes the use of such records, citing examples. The use of on-farm records can work to an animal producer’s benefit by providing more site-specific information about how an animal waste management system should be operated, particularly with respect to the number of acres of crops necessary to properly utilize the nutrients (mainly nitrogen) in the wastewater.
Peanut growers in North Carolina can successfully use conservation tillage if they carefully plan the transition from a conventional system. Growers should consider the production details, such as field selection and crop rotation and advisory index in this guide to make a successful transition.
This publication offers a discussion on how to lime Fraser fir Christmas trees. Fraser fir Christmas trees require a lower soil pH than most crops grown in North Carolina. Special management strategies for soil pH, calcium, and magnesium are needed to provide proper nutrition without over-liming.
List of items that can and cannot be composted at home.
An innovative Dune Infiltration System (DIS) has been developed to help prevent polluted stormwater from reaching the ocean. The goal of this factsheet is to introduce this technology to coastal towns that want to reduce the potential impact of stormwater discharge to their beaches.
This publication discusses how to ensure efficient supplemental water management to maintain turfgrass growth by evaluating irrigation system performance. Completing an audit of an irrigation system provides the information needed to set irrigation controllers to deliver the proper amount of water.
A summary of North Carolina rules and regulations governing the purchasing, handling, application and reporting of poultry litter by commercial haulers. This publication also includes a sample agreement between growers and haulers regarding who has responsibility for the various stages of litter handling.
This publication discusses issues related to global climate change and the process of carbon accounting.
Thirteen agricultural projects were funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to evaluate the effects of agricultural conservation practices on spatial patterns and trends in water quality at the watershed scale. In some projects, participants also investigated how social and economic factors influence implementation and maintenance of practices. The 13 projects were conducted from 2004 to 2011 as part of the overall Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP). By synthesizing the results of all these NIFA-CEAP projects, this publication explores lessons learned about identifying a watershed’s critical source areas in order to prioritize conservation practice implementation for better protection of water quality and lower costs.
Nitrogen fertilizer products are being developed and marketed as having the potential to increase yields and nutrient use efficiency, and decrease volatilization (gas). How do these products actually perform on different soils and row crops, under various climatic conditions? This publication summarizes findings from recent studies that investigated alternative nitrogen fertilizer products for row crops in four North Carolina regions.
This publication describes methods to reduce turbidity and suspended solids in water being pumped into stilling basins or sediment bags, usually on construction sites where dewatering is needed.
This publication discusses the construction of fiber check dams on construction sites to control sediment and runoff from the site. To save money and reduce construction site impacts on nearby surface waters, how to install fiber check dams, spacing of the dams and maintenance of the dams are covered in this factsheet.
Nutrient analysis of soil and plant tissue should be an integral part of any tree crop management plan. While this publication was designed for apple growers, the principles outlined here may be easily applied to other tree crops.
Tobacco that is deficient in magnesium (Mg) will initially develop symptoms on the lower or older foliage. These symptoms occur as an interveinal chlorosis that begins on the leaf margin, typically toward the leaf tip. Mg is mobile within plant tissues and will readily translocated from older leaves to the young developing tissues during limited Mg conditions.
Restoration of impaired streams begins with an understanding of the watershed’s current condition and stream potential. Stream classification offers a way to categorize streams based on channel morphology. This factsheet focuses on a classification system popular with hydrologists, engineers, and biologists—the Rosgen stream classification system.
This publication discusses important characteristics, application rates, costs, and appropriate use of loose mulch, erosion control blankets, and hydraulically applied mulches as erosion control measures on construction sites.
Thirteen agricultural watershed projects were funded jointly by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to evaluate the effects of cropland and pastureland conservation practices on spatial and temporal trends in water quality at the watershed scale. In some projects, participants also investigated how social and economic factors influence implementation and maintenance of practices. The 13 projects were conducted from 2004 to 2011 as part of the overall Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP). By synthesizing the results of all these NIFA-CEAP projects, this publication explores lessons learned about developing agricultural watershed projects to investigate conservation practices in relationship to water quality changes.
Thirteen agricultural watershed projects were funded jointly by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to evaluate the effects of cropland and pastureland conservation practices on spatial and temporal trends in water quality at the watershed scale. In some projects, participants also investigated how social and economic factors influence implementation and maintenance of practices. The 13 projects were conducted from 2004 to 2011 as part of the overall Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP). By synthesizing the results of all these NIFA-CEAP projects, this publication explores lessons learned about the selection, timing, and location of conservation practices and relationships among them relative to any effects on water quality.
This factsheet presents findings from studies to evaluate different starter fertilizer sources and their impacts on yield and weed competition in organic no-till corn production, using a cover crop mulch for weed suppression.
This factsheet provides information on how to keep a lawn healthy and attractive and how to protect the environment by reducing runoff and trapping pollutants. Fertilizer facts and rates, a mowing guide and watering recommendations are included.
Nutrient analysis of soil and plant tissue should be an integral part of any tree crop management plan. While this publication was designed for Christmas tree growers, the principles outlined here may be easily applied to other tree crops.
Phosphorus management is an important aspect of the USDA-NCRS nutrient management standard. Anyone applying animal waste or fertilizer in a nutrient-impaired subwatershed must determine potential phosphorus loss from each field. This publication describes in great detail the P-Index or Phosphorus Loss Assessment Tool that is used in North Carolina for this purpose.
Copper (Cu) deficiency is extremely rare, consequently it is not normally seen in field conditions. To help with the diagnosis and treatment of Cu deficiency, we induced Cu stress under controlled greenhouse studies. In NC State University trials, symptoms first developed in the middle part of the plant. The middle region of the leaf developed brown veins, which quickly turned black. The tissue surrounding the veins became chlorotic. Symptoms progress up the plant to the younger leaves.
As a part of the humid Southeast, North Carolina’s climate, topography, soils, cropping systems, and water sources require special consideration when considering and implementing a subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) system. This publication is not a step-by-step design manual, but it will help you in the design process of an SDI system appropriate to North Carolina.
A rainwater harvesting system captures stormwater runoff, often from a rooftop, and stores the water in a cistern for later use. In this guide for homeowners, the authors describe the components of a rainwater harvesting system and how they work together. Guidelines for choosing, sizing and installing the components are included.
This factsheet describes the nutrient composition of poultry manure and land application techniques based on matching the nutritional requirements of the crop with the nutrients available in manure. This publication also includes a worksheet to determine the nutrient needs of your crop.
This publication addresses nutrient management concerns as they relate to land application of animal wastes, municipal biosolids, industrial residuals and agricultural by-products, with a focus on phosphorus application and its impact on the environment. Methods for reducing phosphorus loss from land application sites are presented as general guidance for managers of land application systems, who must be knowledgeable of regulatory issues and permit restrictions as they relate to phosphorus and nutrient management.
Southern forests experience several threats to health and productivity, and these threats are expected to increasingly stress forests through the 21st century. We surveyed professional foresters in the southern United States to identify how frequently they observe seventeen threats to forest health, including climate change and its potential impacts.
There are a number of viable alternatives to asphalt for tackifying straw to hold it in place as an erosion control measure on construction sites. This publication reviews these alternatives and makes recommendations based on effectiveness, cost, and application.
A pump for the cistern or tank of a water-harvesting system can increase the system's uses significantly. In this publication get step-by-step guidance on how to choose a pump to best suit the system.
This publication discusses ways that gardeners can protect water quality and avoid runoff and soil erosion.
This publication describes differences between cold injury and boron deficiency in tobacco seedlings grown in float greenhouses and provides management tips.
This question and answer worksheet for farmers explains best management practices for pesticide storage and containment. Topics covered include proper storage techniques, pesticide mobility, pesticide mixing sites, following pesticide label instructions, disposal of pesticide containers and how to handle an accidental pesticide spill.
Iron (Fe) deficiency does not readily occur under field conditions. To better catalog this deficiency, we induced Fe stress under a controlled greenhouse study. In NC State University trials, interveinal chlorosis (yellowing) developed on the youngest leaves. Over time the chlorotic areas became more pronounced.
Zinc (Zn) deficiency has not been reported under field conditions. Most of the time, the soil will have enough micros to supplement any gaps in the chosen fertilizer plan. To present a more robust set of data, we induced zinc deficiency under controlled greenhouse studies for accurate diagnosis if the problem should arise. In NC State University trials, ornamental tobacco developed a silver cast to the leaves as the initial symptom of zinc deficiency.
Increasingly, food service managers are choosing to recover and reuse food scraps and other organic materials instead of throwing them away. This publication was developed to assist businesses and institutions with food recovery and waste reduction efforts. Businesses that could benefit include restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores, caterers, food distributors and vendors, produce markets, food processing plants, and any business or institution operating a cafeteria, such as hospitals, prisons, adult homes, colleges or schools, hotels, and ski resorts. Food recovery methods discussed include donating edible food to donor programs, giving food scraps to local livestock farmers, composting, and vermicomposting.
Subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) is the practice of installing drip irrigation below the ground. SDI may be used below planting and tillage operations even in standard row-crop production systems. This publication is the first in a series that examines how North Carolina growers can use the technology.
Hose-drag-type equipment has gained popularity in recent years for land application of wastewater in North Carolina. It offers several advantages over traditional irrigation systems including odor reduction, nitrogen conservation, and a relatively high flow rate that cuts the application time. This publication explains calibration procedures for the “low-profile-type” discharge system and a “boom-type” system.
This factsheet explains the three factors of proper swine manure management: the nutrient content of the manure, the percentages of those nutrients that are available to the plant and the nutrient requirements of the plant.
This publication addresses the two major soil problems found on residential properties and how to rectify them: lack of the three necessary nutrients (phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium) and soil pH.
This publication describes the permit guidelines for applying municipal sludge to agricultural lands to make use of its nutrients and prevent pollution. It also covers EPA recommendations for applying sludge.
This bulletin describes requirements for aquic conditions; shows how to identify and describe redoximorphic features needed to define aquic conditions; and discusses how redoximorphic features can be interpreted.
This factsheet explains the steps to take when buying land where a septic system is needed to ensure that a safe septic system can be installed that meets state and county regulations.
This publication explains how and where to send specimens for disease, insect and weed identification.
The purposes of this factsheet are to identify several major pollutants that often originate in lawns and gardens, to describe the problems they may cause, and to outline some things that can be done to minimize their adverse effects on water quality. This information should benefit home gardeners, landscape developers, contract lawn care specialists, athletic field managers and others who manage soil to grow plants for food, pleasure, or profit.
Worms can turn food scraps into a soil amendment called vermicompost — worm castings — which increases plant growth and reduces attacks by plant diseases and pests. Vermicomposting is easy, involves little work and can be done indoors or outdoors. All you need is a container, bedding, worms and worm food.
This publication discusses the impacts of coastal hazards on the tourism industry of North Carolina's Outer Banks (OBX) based on a survey of visitors to this popular beach destination.
Thirteen agricultural watershed projects were funded jointly by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to evaluate the effects of cropland and pastureland conservation practices on spatial and temporal trends in water quality at the watershed scale. The 13 projects were conducted from 2004 to 2011 as part of the overall Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP). By synthesizing the results of all these NIFA-CEAP projects, this publication explores lessons learned about the social and economic factors within the watersheds that either facilitated or impeded implementation and proper maintenance of conservation practices.
Thirteen agricultural watershed projects were funded jointly by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to evaluate the effects of cropland and pastureland conservation practices on spatial and temporal trends in water quality at the watershed scale. In some projects, participants also investigated how social and economic factors influence implementation and maintenance of practices. The 13 projects were conducted from 2004 to 2011 as part of the overall Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP). By synthesizing the results of all these NIFA-CEAP projects, this publication explores lessons learned about the outreach techniques that were most effective for communicating information to different audiences, achieving adoption of practices and improving management and/or maintenance of practices in different geographic settings.
Thirteen agricultural watershed projects were funded jointly by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to evaluate the effects of cropland and pastureland conservation practices on spatial and temporal trends in water quality at the watershed scale. In some projects, participants also investigated how social and economic factors influence implementation and maintenance of practices. The 13 projects were conducted from 2004 to 2011 as part of the overall Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP). By synthesizing the results of all these NIFA-CEAP projects, this publication explores lessons learned about selecting and applying simulation models as evaluation and planning tools for watershed conservation projects and the relationship between monitoring data and modeling in conservation practice evaluation.
Most soil compaction from equipment traffic occurs where tires contact soil during the first pass over soil. Farmers can reduce compaction by limiting traffic to interrows that have already been trafficked. The authors report their research on traffic patterns and recommend ways that farmers can manage field traffic to limit soil compaction.
Phosphorus management is an important aspect of the USDA-NCRS nutrient management standard. Anyone applying animal waste or fertilizer in a nutrient-impaired subwatershed must determine potential phosphorus loss from each field. This publication describes the P-Index or Phosphorus Loss Assessment Tool that is used in North Carolina for this purpose.
This publication outlines key elements that local governments should consider when planning, implementing, publicizing and evaluating recycling programs.
Corn starter fertilizers have been used successfully to increase early plant growth, nutrient uptake, and yields in research trials and on the farm. They also promote earlier maturity, improve southern corn billbug control, and help suppress weeds through earlier shading. Use of starter fertilizers is increasing in North Carolina and the southeastern United States. This factsheet presents the principles of successful starter fertilizer use, research results relevant to North Carolina, and management suggestions for corn producers.
Residential camps generate food scraps from meal preparation, plate scrapings, and leftover or spoiled food. Many camps have horses, resulting in manure to manage. Composting and vermicomposting are viable options for managing food scraps, horse manure, and other types of organic waste materials.
Calibrating a seed drill before planting is an important task that can help to maximize the success of your forage stand. This publication will guide you through the steps of proper calibration.
This training program is designed to provide operators of animal waste management systems with the basic understanding needed to operate and maintain these systems in an efficient and environmentally sound manner. This manual is not intended to provide all of the technical details for the complete design of a waste management system or an approved animal waste management plan.
The purpose of this paper is to explore the extent to which solar photovoltaic facilities and agricultural production compete for land use, as well as the extent to which agricultural production is affected by solar development.
This publication reviews methodology for environmental impact assessment and describes an example.
This factsheet explains the requirements, standards, penalties and principles of the North Carolina Erosion and Sedimentation Pollution Control Program.
This technical bulletin reviews earlier research that evaluates the influence of grazing livestock, primarily beef cattle, on water quality. This publication will help producers make informed choices and consider strategies to protect water quality and maintain productive pasture-based livestock operations.
This online publication describes how cover crops affect the soil, how to establish cover crops, and how to manage their residue. It includes a review of the winter and summer cover crops recommended for North Carolina. The authors also discuss the economics of planting cover crops and some concerns to consider when planting cover crops.
This publication addresses application techniques that affect drift and odor problems associated with wastewater application, so that managers and designers of land application systems can make wise decisions on how to apply wastewater with minimal impact on neighbors and the environment.
Adequate sulfur is necessary for crops, but there’s no one-size-fits-all recommendation for application in North Carolina. Best management practices take sulfur removal and incidental sulfur inputs for the entire crop rotation, soil type and profile depth layers and soil and plant analysis results.
Boron (B) is an essential element that frequently exhibits deficiency symptoms if it is in limited supply. Growers often apply additional B to avoid deficiencies, but if too much B is applied, there is the risk of B toxicity symptoms developing. Boron toxicities initially appear on the lower, older leaves. Early symptoms of boron toxicity will appear as wrinkling of the lower leaves and interveinal chlorosis along the leaf margin. The wrinkling is most likely caused by the lack of cell expansion when toxic levels of B are present. This wrinkling will develop across the leaf’s surface resulting in leaf deformation. Over time the interveinal chlorosis will move inward and develop over most of the leaf. Cells will rapidly die when excess B is supplied, resulting in necrotic spotting. With advanced symptomology, chlorosis and necrosis will progress up the plant to other leaves.
Molybdenum (Mo) deficiency has not been reported under field conditions. (Descriptions based on the book, Hunger Signs of Crops, 3rd Edition, edited by H.B. Sprague.) Under controlled greenhouse conditions, tobacco plants are slightly stunted when Mo is limited. The lower foliage of the plant develops a chlorosis, initially as a pale green, then the spots progress to a necrosis. The leaves may be crinkled and become bent or twisted.
Sulfur (S) deficiency can easily be mistaken for nitrogen (N) deficiency in tobacco. The ability to distinguish between the two is very important to determining a corrective measure.
This training program is designed to provide operators of animal waste management systems with the basic understanding needed to operate and maintain these systems in an efficient and environmentally sound manner. This manual is not intended to provide all of the technical details for the complete design of a waste management system or an approved animal waste management plan.
While research has shown that pollution of surface and groundwater supplies from turfgrass pesticide application is uncommon, the turf manager should still strive to avoid potential environmental contamination when choosing a pesticide.
This question and answer worksheet for homeowners focuses on potential problems with drinking water that may be caused by an improperly placed, constructed, or maintained septic system.
This factsheet provides a review of strategies for designing and maintaining stormwater facilities to limit mosquito populations.
This design bulletin for stormwater wetland designers and managers introduces the concept of ecosystem services, reviews how stormwater wetlands provide many of these services and describes how wetland design can enhance ecosystem services.
This factsheet traces the progress that has been made in achieving conservation compliance, describes conservation practices that can be used to reduce erosion and discusses the economic factors to be considered when implementing conservation practices.
Drought has always caused nursery crop producers great concern. If irrigation water becomes limiting, growers producing nursery crops in containers may lose their entire crop. Newly planted field-grown crops also sustain heavy losses if they are not irrigated frequently during the first year of production. Although established field-grown nursery stock will survive if not irrigated during periods of drought, they will not grow under these conditions. Adequate moisture during field production will produce field-grown shade trees of marketable size in three to five years. Poorly irrigated plants will take longer to reach marketable size, thus lengthening the time cost of production.
The self-propelled gun type traveler system is usually the most practical system for irrigating irregular shaped fields. Selection and management considerations for self-propelled gun type systems are discussed in this article.
A new group of cover crops for winter and summer use include mustards, oilseed radishes and turnips. When young, these plants resemble turnip greens, are very succulent and have a low C:N ratio, resulting in rapid decomposition when incorporated into the soil. However, if allowed to mature, bolt and flower, they produce a large amount of biomass in a short period of time and become woody, resulting in slower decomposition than when killed at an immature stage.
Every nursery needs to have someone who routinely checks Electrical Conductivity (EC) also called soluble salts, and pH of container crops, potting inventories and irrigation water. Checking EC and pH should be considered part of the quality control and scouting program in the nursery. Results from testing 3 to 5 containers in a irrigation zone each week can be used to schedule irrigation the following week. Comparing leachate solution collected from containers to water collected from irrigation nozzles provides a good insight into nutrient levels in the containers. Checking EC and pH of nursery crops grown in containers doesn't have to be time consuming, complicated or difficult. The intention of this article is to review the procedure and update growers on the Virginia Tech Extraction Method (VTEM), also called the PourThru extraction procedure.
Thirteen agricultural watershed projects were funded jointly by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to evaluate the effects of cropland and pastureland conservation practices on spatial and temporal trends in water quality at the watershed scale. In some projects, participants also investigated how social and economic factors influence implementation and maintenance of practices. The 13 projects were conducted from 2004 to 2011 as part of the overall Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP). By synthesizing the results of all these NIFA-CEAP projects, this publication explores lessons learned about the selection, timing, location, and relationships among conservation practices relative to how well they protect water quality.
New and existing professionals working in the realm of climate education, research, and outreach need to be clear in their terminology and usage. This glossary compiles the most commonly used terms and definitions for academics, researchers, and educators to communicate effectively in this emerging arena. To enhance understanding, key terms include a separate interpretative explanation of the concept “Why this matters.”
This question and answer worksheet will help homeowners focus on potential problems with drinking water or other water resources that may be caused by improper lawn or garden care. Use and storage of fertilizers and pesticides, watering plants, landscape design and soil erosion are discussed.
This question and answer worksheet for Christmas tree growers describes best management practices to minimize the environmental impacts of production. Farm roads, field borders and stream buffers, pest scouting, safe pesticide application, managing ground covers, nutrient management plans and pesticide storage and disposal are covered in this publication.
This field note for farmers published by the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) describes the composting process, how to make compost, and how to use it. Included are instructions for determining an application rate and the results of research by CEFS on integrating cover crops and compost.
Proper application of pesticides and fertilizers is possible only with a sprayer or spreader that is accurately calibrated. When equipment is not correctly calibrated, it is easy to apply too much or too little of a chemical, which may result in the lack of pest control, damage to turf, wasted money, and/or contaminated environment. This publication explains how to calibrate boom sprayers and granular spreaders used on turfgrass.
This factsheet explains how proper land application of municipal biosolids can protect public health and maintain or improve environmental quality and it encourages the beneficial use of wastes.
This question and answer worksheet is designed to help farmers evaluate their pest management practices and figure out how to implement an effective pest management program. Pest identification, life cycles, pesticide application, soil testing and implemented integrated pest management are discussed in the publication.
This publication helps farmers decide whether to reduce fertilization rates in order to achieve maximum profits due to increases in nitrogen fertilizer prices.
These new design guidelines for stormwater wetlands focus on four design points: internal wetland zones, herbaceous plants that thrive in stormwater wetlands, a proper growing medium, and the importance of a flexible outlet structure and its construction.
This publication will review a number of the structural Best Management Practices (BMPs) that can be constructed to treat runoff and thereby reduce the amount of pollution entering streams.
This publication explains how you can make the most efficient use of water and energy by applying the right amount of water to cropland at the right time.
Subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) is a relatively new system that may give North Carolina producers similar or higher crop yields while using less water than other irrigation systems. Proper site selection helps ensure optimum system performance and crop yield while minimizing expenses. This publication will help you consider the characteristics of your field, soil, crop, cropping system and irrigation water resources as they apply to SDI.
This publication contains step-by-step guidelines for field calibration of center pivot and linear move irrigation systems. Proper calibration is required by law.
This publication provides a step-by-step description of how to use the gravimetric method to calibrate soil-water measuring equipment.
This publication addresses the guidelines to consider in planning timber harvests, site preparation and other site-disturbing forestry activities in accordance with the Sedimentation Pollution Control Act.
This publication describes the best management practices (BMP) to reduce sediment and keep nutrients and pesticides applied to turf from contaminating North Carolina's water resources.
This paper addresses the potential health and safety impacts of solar photovoltaic development in North Carolina, organized into the following four categories: (1) Hazardous Materials; (2) Electromagnetic Fields (EMF); (3) Electric Shock and Arc Flash; (4) Fire Safety.
This publication discusses keeping mite pests at bay in worm beds for vermicomposting.
This technical bulletin discusses riparian buffers and controlled drainage as best practices to reduce nonpoint (diffuse runoff) water pollution in North Carolina's basins. The article covers in-depth explanations of riparian buffers and controlled drainage; designs, how they work to protect stream health and reduce nitrogen and pesticides. Recommendations for best practices are provided for the coastal plain, lower coastal plain and Tidewater, middle and upper coastal plain, Piedmont and mountain regions. A glossary of terms is included.
Under the proposed Lake Jordan Rules, the Basin Oversight Committee (BOC) is tasked with submitting agricultural information on a yearly basis. Unfortunately, some of this information, such as fertilizer rates, is based on best professional judgment; there are no fertilizer-use statistics that are reliable. In addition, best management practices (BMPs) are only captured if they are cost shared. To obtain a better estimate of agricultural practices, this one-time statistically valid area sampling frame was applied to agricultural fields in the Lake Jordan River Basin in order to collect an agricultural baseline of cropping systems, soil types and currently used best management practices, livestock types and numbers, and producer information. In summary, when all the data are combined, it appears that producers in the Lake Jordan River Basin are minimizing environmental impact of nutrient and soil losses from agricultural fields due to the types of cropping systems used and under fertilization of most crops. Nutrient inputs generally are below recommended levels. Best management practices, primarily buffers are being used, as well as cover crops and conservation tillage; however, more could be installed. Cattle numbers could be reduced.
This question and answer worksheet for farmers describes grazing practices and how they affect the sustainability of a livestock operation and water quality. Grazing management, riparian area management and nutrient management best practices are discussed.
This publication provides guidelines and recommendations for proper irrigation scheduling of wastewater.
This publication explains the load-area method, one of the two methods in which semi-solid animal waste applicators can be calibrated. Proper calibration is required by law.
This publication contains step-by-step guidelines for determining irrigated acreage for hard hose traveler irrigation systems are presented. Proper calibration helps protect the environment and is required by law.
This publication explains calibration procedures for stationary and hard-hose traveler irrigation systems and how to determine acceptable application uniformity for the systems as established by the ninth and latest edition of the SB 1217 document (North Carolina 1217 Interagency Group, 2009). It does not invalidate the procedures (commonly referred to as the “catch can” method) described in AG-553-1 and AG-553-2 if operators want to use those for uniformity assessment. However, AG 553-1 and AG 553-2 do not fulfill the flow measurement calibration requirements currently established by the ninth edition of the SB 1217 document.
Lawns are ecosystems that impact surface and groundwater systems. The grasses found in lawns clean the environment by absorbing gaseous pollutants and intercepting pesticides, fertilizers, dust, and sediment. Irrigation water properly applied to lawns remains on site to recharge water supplies. In addition, grasses release oxygen and reduce glare, noise, and summer temperatures. Proper management practices need to be developed and followed to protect this environment. The purpose of this publication is to provide you with management strategies to preserve and protect water resources.
The legal means for establishing sophisticated wastewater management programs have existed for some time in North Carolina; however, few communities or counties have used these programs to manage septic systems. Recent changes in state septic system rules will provide an incentive for communities to become involved in this process. This publication explains why these management programs are necessary and briefly introduces 12 options for implementing them.
Controlling pathogens in runoff presents a growing challenge for stormwater managers and designers. This fact sheet provides an overview of pathogens: what they are, how they affect people, and how they are regulated; describes their association with stormwater runoff; and investigates stormwater management practices that may limit pathogen presence in surface waters.
This publication discusses irrigation decisions that affect water and energy efficiencies.
Under the proposed High Rock Lake Rules, the Basin Oversight Committee (BOC) is tasked with submitting agricultural information on a yearly basis. Unfortunately, some of this information, such as fertilizer rates, is based on best professional judgment; there are no fertilizer-use statistics that are reliable. In addition, best management practices (BMPs) are only captured if they are cost shared. To obtain a better estimate of agricultural practices, this onetime statistically valid area sampling frame was applied to agricultural fields in the High Rock Lake Watershed in order to collect an agricultural baseline of cropping systems, soil types and currently used best management practices, livestock types and numbers, and producer information.
Under the Tar-Pam Rules, the Basin Oversight Committee (BOC) is tasked with submitting agricultural information on a yearly basis. Unfortunately, some of this information, such as fertilizer rates, is based on best professional judgment; there are no fertilizer-use statistics that are reliable. In addition, best management practices (BMPs) are only captured if they are cost shared. To obtain a better estimate of agricultural practices, this one-time statistically valid area sampling frame was applied to agricultural fields in the Tar-Pamlico River Basin in order to collect an agricultural baseline of cropping systems, soil types and currently used best management practices. In summary, when all the data are combined, it appears that producers in the Tar-Pamlico River Basin are minimizing environmental impact of nutrient and soil losses from agricultural fields. Best management practices are being used, including buffers, water control structures, cover crops, and conservation tillage. Nutrient inputs generally are below recommended levels. The only area where we believe producers could improve management is by following soil test reports and reducing phosphorus fertilization.
The Tar-Pamlico Agricultural Rule requires the development of a methodology that accounts for phosphorus losses and gains from agricultural activities in the basin. The Rule recognizes potential challenges associated with this objective, and calls for the Basin Oversight Committee (BOC) to form a phosphorus technical advisory committee (PTAC) to evaluate this issue and provide recommendations to the BOC. This report compiles the findings of the PTAC and conveys its recommendations to the BOC.
Your land is valuable to you and your family. Protection and successful transition begins with a flexible land conservation plan. A conservation plan describes your intentions and methods to achieve a desired outcome. To achieve your specific conservation vision, there are proven checkpoints to complete your journey. These checkpoints will result in a plan you can use to enroll your land in the conservation program(s) that meets your needs. Every plan may be unique but all will have the checkpoints of the journey in common. This handbook provides the recommended checkpoints to help begin your planning journey and simple tools to help you complete a working land conservation plan.
This publication explains the pelleting process and considerations for consumers interested in either developing small-scale heating pellet production systems or burning pellets to meet their heating needs.
In 2000 an agricultural survey of the Neuse River Basin was undertaken to obtain data that would help inform the Division of Water Quality and the Neuse Basin Oversight Committee (BOC), which was charged with determining a baseline for nitrogen (N) losses from 1991-1995. In summary, when all the data are combined, it appears that producers in the Neuse River Basin are minimizing environmental impact of nutrient and soil losses from agricultural fields. Best management practices are being used, including buffers, water control structures, cover crops, and conservation tillage. Erosion is low and nutrient inputs generally are below recommended levels. The only area where we believe producers could improve management is by following soil test reports and reducing phosphorus fertilization.
This publication explains the weight-area method, one of the two methods in which solid or semi-solid applicators can be calibrated. Proper calibration is required by law.
This question and answer worksheet will help coastal homeowners focus on potential problems with the pollution and health risks of water protection practices and the effects on water sources from stormwater management. Car/truck wastes, yard/garden wastes, animal wastes, rain gardens and rainwater runoff are covered.
Although subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) is in its infancy in North Carolina, it is becoming more popular as growers learn of its many benefits, which include increased irrigation efficiency. Proper management is imperative with an SDI system. Many components of an SDI system are underground; therefore, you must carefully monitor pressure and flow rates to ensure that the system is operating properly. This publication addresses water management, chemigation, system management and maintenance, and system evaluation.
This factsheet explains how to use dairy manure as a fertilizer source. Included are descriptions of nutrient content, application rates and application methods to ensure optimum benefit from the manure. A worksheet is provided for calculating application rates.
Sediment basins are temporary stormwater pools that catch runoff so it can deposit some of its sediment. The typical outlet is either a rock dam or a perforated riser barrel, both of which allow water to leave the basin from all depths. One way to improve the sediment capture rate is to use an outlet that dewaters the basin from the top of the water column where the water is cleanest. This publication describes the Faircloth skimmer, flashboard risers and other outlet configurations that accomplish this goal.
This publication presents maintenance guidelines for stormwater wetlands and wet ponds, two stormwater practices that are being constructed across North Carolina. Stormwater management practices must be kept in proper working order to maintain their intended functions and aesthetic appeal.
Golf courses provide a unique setting for wetlands that can be used to provide both an environmental benefit and an aesthetic amenity. The research-based recommendations in this publication are intended to help you optimize concepts and designs for your next project.
This publication discusses the causes of poor irrigation system performance. Some of these causes can be identified and corrected by the irrigator. Others require specialized evaluation equipment, and the corrections should therefore be performed by specially trained technicians.
The North Carolina Pesticide Board has adopted regulations covering chemigation. The purpose of these regulations is to protect water resources from pesticide pollution by reducing the potential for backsiphoning or direct injection of pesticides into water sources. This publication explains the regulations and offers recommendations on fertigation.
This publication describes structural stormwater practices that filter and reduce stormwater runoff from residential and commercial developments: permeable pavements, green roofs and cisterns. The practices described can be used in low-impact development to conserve a site's natural response to rainfall.
In this publication, we summarize the current research and describe construction methods that developers can use to more effectively meet the goals of low impact development and stormwater management.
Hand-move irrigation systems are normally used to irrigate small fields. Solid-set and permanent sprinkler irrigation systems are used for irrigation, frost/freeze protection, evaporative cooling, and land application of nutrient-rich effluent. Selection and management considerations for hand-move solid-set and permanent sprinkler irrigation systems are discussed in this article.
Low volume irrigation systems are normally used for fruits, vegetables, container nursery plants and in the landscape. For all these uses, growers are interested in highly controlled water management systems. Selection and management considerations for low volume irrigation systems are discussed in this article.
A good source of water is a necessity for producing quality vegetables. During periods of drought, crop diversification and mulches can be used to cope with drought situations, but nothing will substitute for the timely application of water. This publication covers some guidelines for irrigation systems to help offset periods of drought in the Southeast United States.