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Lauren Kolb, Ph.D. candidate, awarded the 2010-11 Maine Economic Improvement Fund (MEIF) Fellowship.

Lauren’s research on managing weed/crop interference and integrating physical and cultural weed control in organic cereal crops includes a comparison of the most promising practices developed by researchers and farmers in northern Europe.  Briefly, her thesis is that the fundamental agronomic practices used by most organic grain growers, practices developed over the last 50 years of input-intensive production, are poorly suited to organic production, where weed pressure is often very high.  Lauren is comparing a range of production practices which aim to further enhance the competitive ability of the cereal crop, encouraging enhanced weed-suppression, as well as an innovative cultivation-based strategy in which the cereal crop is grown in wider rows, like corn or soybean, to permit aggressive cultivation between the rows.  These practices have been evaluated in organic barley grown for dairy feed, and Lauren has now shifted her focus to organic bread wheat grown for regional millers.

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