This project developed web-based tools to help vegetable growers improve nutrient management and soil health, facilitating compliance with water quality regulations. The tools include soil amendment planning and record keeping templates; interactive farm maps, crop rotation templates, nutrient application calculator; and cover crop records. These tools are available on an open-source web platform called farmOS.
Growers created individual farm websites within farmOS that were accessed by project personnel to provide individual technical support. Of the 51 growers that utilized this web-based resource, 46 growers with a total of 400 acres in production uploaded soil test records and fertilizer plans, and 20 of those growers with 250 acres in production documented the implementation of their fertilization plans by uploading records of soil amendments applied their fields.
We successfully developed a nutrient management module in farmOS, but it proved to be too complicated for most farmers. The next phase of this effort will adapt content developed for farmOS and merge it with content from the Community Accreditation for Produce Safety program (previously funded by NERME) to create a user-friendly web site that will be owned by the Vermont Vegetable and Berry Growers, and will also allow them to manage their membership registration.