Front Cover
 Title Page
 Symposium organization
 Table of Contents
 Purpose of the special symposium,...
 Welcoming remarks
 What is small farm?
 The heritage of small farms - An...
 Session I: Small farms overview...
 Sesion II: Horticulture - Emphasizing...
 Session III: Horticulture - emphasizing...
 Session IV: Livestock and...
 Session V: Socioeconomic, marketing,...
 Session VI: Panel discussion -...
 Poster Presentations
 Banquet Address
 Letter (President Ronald Reaga...
 Back Cover

Group Title: Miscellaneous publication - United States. Department of Agriculture - no. 1422
Title: Research for small farms
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00053827/00001
 Material Information
Title: Research for small farms proceedings of the special symposium : invited papers presented at a symposium held November 15-18, 1981, at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, Maryland
Series Title: Miscellaneous publication
Physical Description: xi, 301 p. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Kerr, Howard W ( Howard William ), 1932-
Knutson, Lloyd V., 1934-
United States -- Agricultural Research Service
Beltsville Agricultural Research Center
Publisher: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service :
For sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. G.P.O.
Place of Publication: Washington D.C
Publication Date: 1982]
Subject: Farms, Small -- Congresses -- United States   ( lcsh )
Family farms -- Management -- Congresses -- United States   ( lcsh )
Genre: federal government publication   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
conference publication   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Statement of Responsibility: Howard W. Kerr, Jr., and Lloyd Knutson, editors ; sponsored by the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Northeastern Region, Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture.
General Note: "Issued July 1982."
Funding: Florida Historical Agriculture and Rural Life
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00053827
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Marston Science Library, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Holding Location: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Engineering and Industrial Experiment Station; Institute for Food and Agricultural Services (IFAS), University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000333838
oclc - 08820247
notis - ABW3464
lccn - 82602806

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
        Abstract 1
        Abstract 2
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Symposium organization
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Table of Contents
        Page v
        Page vi
    Purpose of the special symposium, "Research for small farms"
        Page vii
    Welcoming remarks
        Page viii
        Page ix
    What is small farm?
        Page x
    The heritage of small farms - An exhibit of photos, books, artifacts
        Page xi
    Session I: Small farms overview - Status and research needs
        Page 1
        ARS small farms research program (Steven C. King)
            Page 1
            Page 2
            Page 3
            Page 4
        Economic aspects of small scale agriculture (Luther G. Tweeten)
            Page 5
            Page 6
            Page 7
            Page 8
            Page 9
            Page 10
            Page 11
            Page 12
        Equipment follows practice: The process of addressing the future equipment needs of small farm (Samuel W. Smith)
            Page 13
            Page 14
            Page 15
            Page 16
            Page 17
            Page 18
            Page 19
            Page 20
            Page 21
            Page 22
        Concepts in technology transfer for small farms research internationally (J. kenneth McDermott)
            Page 23
            Page 24
            Page 25
            Page 26
        Update of small farms survey in the northeastern region (Howard W. kerr, Jr.)
            Page 27
            Page 28
            Page 29
            Page 30
            Page 31
            Page 32
            Page 33
            Page 34
            Page 35
            Page 36
    Sesion II: Horticulture - Emphasizing vegetables
        Page 37
        Keynote address - transition in small-scale horticultural enterprises (Sylvan H. Wittwer)
            Page 37
            Page 38
            Page 39
            Page 40
            Page 41
            Page 42
            Page 43
            Page 44
            Page 45
            Page 46
            Page 47
            Page 48
        Combining sequential cropping of vegetables and modern cultural practices to maximize land use on small farms (Allan k. Stoner)
            Page 49
            Page 50
            Page 51
            Page 52
            Page 53
            Page 54
            Page 55
        Colorado potato beetle on tomatoes: Economic damage thresholds and control with bacillus thuringiensis (William W. Cantelo, George E. Cantwell)
            Page 56
            Page 57
            Page 58
            Page 59
            Page 60
            Page 61
        Weed control procedure for small farms (William V. Welker, John R. Teasdale)
            Page 62
            Page 63
            Page 64
            Page 65
        Pest resistance in horticultural crops: Tomato and apple (Jules Janick)
            Page 66
            Page 67
            Page 68
            Page 69
            Page 70
            Page 71
        Researching methods for implementing IPM on small farms in the northeast (James P. Tette)
            Page 72
            Page 73
            Page 74
            Page 75
        Herbs as a small farms enterprise and the value of aromatic plants as economic intercrops (James A. Duke)
            Page 76
            Page 77
            Page 78
            Page 79
            Page 80
            Page 81
            Page 82
            Page 83
        Application of new processing technology to small farms (Donald D. Bills)
            Page 84
            Page 85
            Page 86
            Page 87
            Page 88
            Page 89
        Composted sewage slugde, A potential resource for small farms (James F. Parr)
            Page 90
            Page 91
            Page 92
            Page 93
            Page 94
            Page 95
            Page 96
            Page 97
            Page 98
            Page 99
        Greenhouse production of vegetable plants (Frank D. Schales)
            Page 100
            Page 101
            Page 102
            Page 103
        Effects of crop rotation and placement on diseases of horticultural legumes (J. Rennie Stavely, Charles A. Thomas)
            Page 104
            Page 105
            Page 106
            Page 107
            Page 108
            Page 109
            Page 110
    Session III: Horticulture - emphasizing fruits and berries
        Page 111
        New methods, worldwide, for fruit production on small farms
            Page 111
            Page 112
            Page 113
            Page 114
            Page 115
        The hornfaced bee for efficient pollination of small farm orchards (Suzanne W. T. Batra)
            Page 116
            Page 117
            Page 118
            Page 119
            Page 120
        Storage and marketing of several table grape cultivars indigenous to northeastern United States (Carl W. Haeseler and Laurence L. Yager)
            Page 121
            Page 122
            Page 123
            Page 124
            Page 125
            Page 126
        Application of organic principles to small farms (Richard R. Harwood)
            Page 127
            Page 128
            Page 129
            Page 130
            Page 131
            Page 132
            Page 133
        Small farms systems for efficient horticultural production (Booker T. Whatley)
            Page 134
            Page 135
            Page 136
        Minor use pesticides (Paul H. Schwartz and J. Ray Frank)
            Page 137
            Page 138
            Page 139
            Page 140
            Page 141
            Page 142
        Synopsis of Eupropean small farms fruit enterprises (Kurt Russ)
            Page 143
            Page 144
            Page 145
            Page 146
            Page 147
            Page 148
    Session IV: Livestock and forage
        Page 149
        Keynote address - transition in livestock and forage production (Hentry A. Fitzhugh)
            Page 149
            Page 150
            Page 151
            Page 152
            Page 153
            Page 154
            Page 155
            Page 156
            Page 157
        Developing a management system for a small beef farm (Daniel G. Fox)
            Page 158
            Page 159
            Page 160
            Page 161
            Page 162
            Page 163
        Use of under-utilized and by-product feeds for breeding cattle and sheep (W. Dennis Lamm)
            Page 164
            Page 165
            Page 166
            Page 167
            Page 168
            Page 169
            Page 170
            Page 171
            Page 172
        Finishing ruminants with high roughage rations (G. Paul Lynch)
            Page 173
            Page 174
            Page 175
            Page 176
            Page 177
        Small animal enterprises for small farms (Forest M. French)
            Page 178
            Page 179
            Page 180
            Page 181
            Page 182
            Page 183
        Veterinary and health issues confronting small farms (Paul Becton)
            Page 184
            Page 185
            Page 186
            Page 187
            Page 188
        Facilities and equipment for small-scale forage livestock production (William L. Kjelgaard)
            Page 189
            Page 190
            Page 191
            Page 192
        Production input options in forage-livestock enterprises (William C. Templeton Jr., Harold W. Harpster, Robert L. Mangan, Robert A. Byers, and Angelica A. Wurtz)
            Page 193
            Page 194
            Page 195
            Page 196
            Page 197
            Page 198
            Page 199
            Page 200
        The chemistry and processing of goats' milk (Virginia H. Holsinger)
            Page 201
            Page 202
            Page 203
            Page 204
            Page 205
            Page 206
            Page 207
            Page 208
            Page 209
            Page 210
        Sire evaluation of dairy goats (George R. Wiggans)
            Page 211
            Page 212
            Page 213
            Page 214
        Part-time and small-scale systems for swine production (Thomas G. Hartsock)
            Page 215
            Page 216
            Page 217
            Page 218
    Session V: Socioeconomic, marketing, and family considerations
        Page 219
        Keynote address - conserving options: an overview of small farms concerns (John M. Cornman and J. Patrick Madden)
            Page 219
            Page 220
            Page 221
            Page 222
            Page 223
            Page 224
            Page 225
            Page 226
        Family members: Contributions, assets, and liabilities (Kathleen K. Scholl)
            Page 227
            Page 228
            Page 229
            Page 230
            Page 231
            Page 232
            Page 233
            Page 234
            Page 235
            Page 236
            Page 237
        marketing for small farmers: A question of limited alternatives (U. Carl Toensmeyer and Carl L. German)
            Page 238
            Page 239
            Page 240
            Page 241
            Page 242
            Page 243
            Page 244
        Small farm woodlands: Other forest interests for small-scale agriculture (Paul S. DeBald)
            Page 245
            Page 246
            Page 247
            Page 248
            Page 249
            Page 250
            Page 251
        Long-range research plants and activities of ARS to support the national resurgence of small family farms (Howard J. Brooks)
            Page 252
            Page 253
            Page 254
    Session VI: Panel discussion - highlights and key issues of the symposium
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Concluding remarks (Essex E. Finney, Jr.)
            Page 262
    Poster Presentations
        Page 263
        Information dissemination: a national clearing house for small farms (Samuel M. Leadley and Virginia M. Caye)
            Page 263
            Page 264
        Media applications in marketing: A time to be innovative (George B. Roche)
            Page 265
            Page 266
        Organic waste and residue management on small farms (Sharon B. Hornick)
            Page 267
            Page 268
        Farming systems research: A potential means of technology development and transfer (John D. Hyslop)
            Page 269
            Page 270
            Page 271
        Parasitization of the Mexican bean beetle (coleoptera: coccinellidae) by pediobius foveolatus (hymenoptera: eulophidae) in urban community vegetable gardens (Edward M. Barrows and Mary E. Hooker)
            Page 272
            Page 273
            Page 274
        Composted sludge as a soil amendment for control of soilborne plant diseases (Robert D. Lumsden, Jack A. Lewis, and Patricia D. Millner)
            Page 275
            Page 276
            Page 277
        Sheep production systems for small farms (Harold W. Harpster, William Kjelgaard, William C. Stringer, and William C. Templeton, Jr.)
            Page 278
            Page 279
            Page 280
        Use of composted sewage sludge for turf production (Jack Murray)
            Page 281
            Page 282
            Page 283
            Page 284
        Plant pathogenic fungi in compost/soil mixtures (Nichole R. O'Neill)
            Page 285
            Page 286
            Page 287
        The New England small farmer project (Maarten van de kamp and Pat Lewis Sackrey)
            Page 288
            Page 289
            Page 290
        Maintaining market quality of fruits and vegetables (Harold E. Moline and William S. Conway)
            Page 291
            Page 292
    Banquet Address
        Page 293
        Responding to the technological challenges of small-scale agriculture (William C. Norris)
            Page 293
            Page 294
            Page 295
            Page 296
            Page 297
            Page 298
            Page 299
            Page 300
    Letter (President Ronald Reagan)
        Page 301
    Back Cover
        Back Cover
Full Text

.m. United States
_ iDepartment of
Number 1422

Research for

Small Farms

Proceedings of the
Special Symposium


The increasing impacts of small farms agriculture
on the Nation are of concern to producers and con-
sumers. Some research has recently been targeted
specifically for this segment of agriculture. The
results and additional research needs are identi-
fied in this publication. Implications of small
farms activities upon current and future issues of
the family, economy, rural and urban consumers,
world agriculture, and other areas are considered.

Clearer practical information and expanded research
efforts, nationwide, are needed to assist small

Keywords: Agricultural equipment, agricultural
marketing, agricultural processing technology,
agricultural research, entomology, extension,
family economics, forage, horticulture, livestock,
organic farming, part-time farming, small farms,
small-scale agriculture.

For sale by the Superintendent of Docunents. U'.S. Government Printing Office
Washington, D.C. 20402

United States
Department of
August 1982


Northeastern Region
Beltsville Agricultural
Research Center

Beltsville, Maryland

Dear Reader:

We are pleased to send you the Proceedings of the 1981 BARC Special Symposium,
Research for Small Farms. This publication is one of the end products of the
recent concerted efforts by the USDA and many others to improve the small farm
segment of the agricultural community. We hope that many of the papers will
be of direct benefit to your activities.

Your comments regarding this publication are solicited; likewise, your
thoughts, in general, about small-scale and/or parttime agriculture in your
area or county would be appreciated. Only by developing and maintaining good
rapport among all interested parties can we continue to improve research for
limited resource agriculture. We are intensely interested in communicating
your needs, concerns, and insights to ti -researchers.

Please correspond with Howard W. Kerr, Jr. (NER Coordinator, Small Farms
Research) or telephone him at 301-344-3087.

NER Coordinator Chairman, Insect Identification and
Small Farms Research Beneficial Insect Introduction
(Co-Chairmen, Special Symposium on Small Farms)

Enclosure: Proceedings, Small Farms Symposium

United States
Department of
Number 1422

Research for

Small Farms

Proceedings of the
Special Symposium

Howard W. Kerr, Jr., and Lloyd Knutson, Editors

Invited papers presented at a symposium held November 15-18,1981, at the
Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, Maryland 20708

Sponsored by
The Beltsville Agricultural Research Center
Northeastern Region, Agricultural Research Service
United States Department of Agriculture

Issued July 1982

This publication was reproduced from camera-ready
copy supplied by the authors, who take responsi-
bility for any errors in their papers. The use of

trade names does not constitute a guarantee,
warranty, or endorsement of products or services
by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Paul A. Putnam, Director
Beltsville Agricultural Research Center


Suzanne W. T. Batra, Chairperson
Murray R. Bakst, Vice Chairperson
Norberta Schoene, Secretary-Treasurer
Edward Allen
Gordon T. Carpenter
Albert B. DeMilo
Robert L. Jasper

John G. Moseman
Robert D. Romanowski
Richard M. Sayre
Christopher A. Tabor
William P. Wergin
Richard H. Zimmerman


Co-chairmen: Howard W. Kerr, Jr. and Lloyd Knutson

Program Committee

Organizing Committee

Donald D. Bills
Bill A. Butt
Lowell E. Campbell
Merrill L. Cleveland
Kurt C. Feltner
George P. Lynch
Nichole R. O'Neill

Editorial Committee

Suzanne W. T. Batra
Lowell T. Frobish
George P. Lynch
William L. Murphy
William W. Taliaferro
Robert H. Zimmerman

Publicity Committee

Miklos Faust
Keith H. Goering
Judy L. McBride

Charles L. Beer
Eliot Coleman
John M. Cornman
Hugh Davis
Lee M. Day
Albert B. DeMilo
William M. Dowler

James F. Parr, Jr.
Richard L. Ridgway
Michael D. Ruff
Kathleen K. Scholl
William C. Templeton, Jr.
Anson E. Thompson
Raymon E. Webb
Dale W. Zinn

Articles and Exhibits

David E. Brewster
Alan E. Fusonie

Floral Displays

Florist and Nursery
Crops Laboratory


Roy Nash
Sandy North

Meryl N. Christiansen
Harry Herlich
James L. Hilton
John G. Moseman
Albert A. Piringer
Raymond V. Rebois
Lewis W. Smith

Local Arrangements Committee

William W. Cantelo
Gordon Carpenter
Michael F. Combs
Roger Lawson
John W. Neal, Jr.
Murial J. O'Brien
Robert F. W. Schroder

Finance Committee

Jack A. Lewis
Robert D. Lumsden


Monroe J. Goode
Kenneth E. Holt
Steven C. King
Marvin E. Konhya
Louis A. Liljedahl
McKinley Mayes
Paul A. Putnam

Alden H. Reine
Thomas S. Ronningen
George E. Templeton
David B. Thorud
Katherine S. Tippett
Kenneth E. Wing

Symposium Proceedings Editors: Howard W. Kerr, Jr. and Lloyd Knutson


"Papers, then Q&A, then meeting and mingling."
B.P. (NJ)

"Presentations of new, practical ideas about
approaches to small-scale agriculture." M.M.

"Finding the void that's affecting the progress
of small farms." W.K. (MD)

"A broad-cross-sectional view of the problems of
small-scale agriculture." E.J. (NH)

"Generally, that attention is being paid to small
farmers in today's changing world." J.S. (PA)

"Opportunity to meet a broad spectrum of people who
are deeply concerned with the future." S.S. (MA)

"Exchange of information, quality of speakers."
D.R. (Canada)

"The recognition of the small farmer as well as
the hope it generated for the chance that its
existence and productivity can further be studied
and enhanced in the future." F.B. (MD)

"Overview of problems and real lack of progress
across the country." D.F. (DE)

"The symposium has stimulated possibilities for my
own farm and given me information for the Environ-
mental Board." W.J. (VT)

"What small farms need to examine in terms of pro-
duction Crops that make the small farmer money."
C.M. (PA)

"Opportunity to meet others with some or similar
interests and goals; exchange of current informa-
tion." G.C. (FL)

"Talking to other individuals attending, looking
for solutions to their problems." M.H. (ND)

"Actual examples of innovative farming experiences
outside of USDA." G.N. (DC)

"Meeting people and thereby gleaming ideas." R.T.

"Overview of thinking and plans regarding small
farms research." D.L. (VA)

"The exposure to many ideas and the opportunity
to meet and talk with farmers, researchers, etc."
P.M. (NJ)

"Talking with people about the problems of small
farms, the potentials and desirability of small
farms." S.G. (NY)

"New information of use in small farming; reports
on current research in progress; new ideas." V.D.

"Small farmers do exist, have needs, hope for help
and information may be forthcoming." W.K. (MD)

"I question the concept that agricultural research
is size neutral. The fact that this Symposium was
held is significant recognition of new trends. It
was very helpful to me in gaining background in
agricultural issues that I was formally trained
in." E.L. (ME)

"I was impressed by the congeniality of all the
participants. No cold shoulders. The mixing of
farmers with scientists was appreciated." N.M.

"....the Symposium was beautifully organized and an
important gathering in the on-going effort to
accomplish something of lasting significance."
S.S. (MA)

"Scientists at USDA must review their findings with
Extension personnel to make them more rapidly
available to and easily understood by their
ostensible recipients." W.L. (NY)

"I think that food pressures in the coming decades
will require that we begin producing crops on all
available land, much of which may be marginal for
large scale farming, but which can be handled
carefully and made productive on a small scale.
But we all are going to need much more help from
USDA to accomplish this. Let's get going!" A.L.

"It gave me an overall understanding of the small
farmer and the problems he faces." R.W. (MN)

"Sensitization of a non-farmer like myself to
realistic knowledge of small farms problems;
needs, especially information dissemination to
farmers." V.D. (VA)

"A wide variety of topics the brevity was
excellent yet presentations were very good."
M.M. (KS)

"You need more farmer input." L.H. (CA)

"Needed greater participation by small farmers, so
communication can go two ways." J.C. (VT)

"Research data is fine if it's used. Research
people need to get out and apply the needed tech-
nology in the area of small farms. New England
States have lost a large portion of their agri-
cultural land, they are now very aware of their
situation. Let's not make the same mistake in
Maryland, as well as the rest of the Northeast."
F.B. (MD)

"More opportunity than I expected for organic
farming methods to be recommended." J.T. (NJ)

"A valuable conference should have others on
small farms." C.S. (PA)


Howard W. Kerr, Jr.
Lloyd Knutson................................

Paul A. Putnam...............................

Lloyd Knutson................................

David E. Brewster............................

Alan Fusonie.................................

Session I Small Farms Overview Status
and Research Needs

CHAIRMAN James L. Hilton (Chairman, Agricul-
tural Environmental Quality Institute, BARC)

Steven C. King..............................

Luther G. Tweeten ..........................

Samuel W. Smith.............................

J. Kenneth McDermott .......................

Howard W. Kerr, Jr.........................

Session II Horticulture Emphasizing

CHAIRMAN Albert A. Piringer (Chairman,
Horticultural Science Institute, BARC)

Sylvan H. Wittwer...........................

Allan K. Stoner..............................

William W. Cantelo
George E. Cantwell ..........................

William V. Welker
John R. Teasdale............................


Jules Janick................................
viii James P. Tette..............................

James A. Duke...............................
xi Donald D. Bills.............................

James F. Parr...............................

Frank D. Schales............................

J. Rennie Stavely
5 Charles A. Thomas ..........................

Session III Horticulture Emphasizing
Fruits and Berries
CHAIRMAN Meryl N. Christiansen (Chairman,
Plant Physiology Institute, BARC)

Miklos Faust.................................

Suzanne W. T. Batra.........................

Carl W. Haeseler
Laurence L. Yager............................

Richard R. Harwood ..........................

49 Booker T. Whatley ...........................

Paul H. Schwartz
J. Ray Frank ................................

Kurt Russ...................................

















Session IV Livestock and Forage

CHAIRMAN Lewis W. Smith (Chairman, Animal
Science Institute, BARC)

Henry A. Fitzhugh.............................

Daniel G. Fox.................................

W. Dennis Lamm...............................

G. Paul Lynch................................

Forest M. French.............................

Paul Becton..................................

William L. Kjelgaard.........................

William C. Templeton, Jr.
Harold W. Harpster
Robert L. Mangan
Robert A. Byers
Angelica A. Wurtz ............................

Virginia H. Holsinger ........................

George R. Wiggans............................

Thomas G. Hartsock...........................

Session V Socioeconomic, Marketing, and
Family Considerations

CHAIRMAN Harry Herlich (Chairman, Animal
Parasitology Institute, BARC)

John M. Cornman
J. Patrick Madden
Heather Tischbein Baker ......................

Kathleen K. Scholl...........................

U. Carl Toensmeyer
Carl L. German ..............................

Paul S. DeBald...............................

149 Howard J. Brooks.............................

Session VI Panel Discussion: Highlights
158 and Key Issues of the Symposium

Essex E. Finney Jr.
164 Lloyd Knutson

Miklos Faust
173 Leslie N. Firth
Howard W. Kerr, Jr.
Rod Parker
178 Richard L. Ridgway
Dale W. Zinn..................................

184 Essex E. Finney, Jr..........................

Poster Presentations

Samuel M. Leadley
Virginia M. Caye.............................

George B. Roche..............................
201 Sharon B. Hornick............................

John D. Hyslop...............................

Edward M. Barrows
Mary E. Hooker....................................

Robert D. Lumsden
Jack A. Lewis
Patricia D. Millner..........................

Harold W. Harpster
William Kjelgaard
William C. Stringer
227 William C. Templeton, Jr.....................

Jack Murray....................................














Nichole R. O'Neill...........................

Maarten van de Kamp
Pat Lewis Sackrey............................

Harold E. Moline
William S. Conway ............................

Banquet Address

William C. Norris (Chairman and Chief
Executive Officer, Control Data
288 Corporation)................................

President Ronald Reagan .....................


"Research for Small Farms"

Howard W. Kerr, Jr., and Lloyd Knutson
Symposium Co-chairmen 1/

Small farms constitute the majority of agricultural
enterprises in almost all countries. However,
during the past half century their actual and
potential contributions have been overlooked in
many areas. Now, shrinking energy supplies, the
increasing world population, the need for
increased food production, and, in the United
States, the migration of populations from urban to
rural areas, have focused attention on the need for
and needs of small farms. The issue confronts us
now and will continue to do so. The purpose of
the BARC Small Farms Symposium is to identify
research needs, report research achievements,
foster rapport of involved parties, provide infor-
mation for small farmers, and record the status of
various efforts to enhance the well-being of this
special segment of our agricultural life.

Small farms are diverse enterprises that have con-
siderable flexibility in modes of production and

marketing. That diversity and flexibility
accounts for a substantial part of the increasing
need for research directed to this audience. The
information needs of small scale livestock and
dairy producers and vegetable and fruit growers
have increased recently, as have those of many
other kinds of small farm businesses. The pro-
duction, marketing, environmental, and socioeco-
economic concerns and shifting special require-
ments of these farmers have expanded as demand for
their products has increased. Over the past few
years, the results of specific small farms
research projects have begun to fulfill the
growing needs of small farms operators. The great
potential for small farms to become an even more
important and viable segment of agriculture, and
the research needed to accomplish this, especially
in the Northeastern United States, are the focal-
points of the 1981 BARC Special Symposium.

1/ We thank the many people involved in
planning, presenting, and participating in this



Paul A. Putnam, Director
Beltsville Agriculture Research Center

Since 1974, the Beltsville Agricultural Research
Center (BARC) has sponsored a major annual sympo-
sium on a specific aspect of agricultural research,
such as plant reproduction (1981) and the applica-
tion of genetic engineering (1982). These sym-
posia, which have become highly respected, provide
scientists with a means of exchanging ideas among
themselves and of reporting achievements to the

Small family farms are experiencing a comeback in
America. In 1979, Congress recognized this resur-
gence by appropriating specific funds for research
on small farms needs. BARC was one of the centers
in the Northeastern Region to receive funding.
Over the 3-year period, the small farms research
program has expanded, and the results of this
research are now available.

Although small farms can use the discoveries of
scientific agriculture in general, they have
specific needs that are a special challenge to
researchers. At BARC, we are involved in a
variety of activities to aid small farm agri-
culture. This Special Symposium is part of our
broad plan of assistance. By working with col-
leagues such as you who are participating in these
meetings, small farm agriculture should certainly
be helped.

I welcome you to Beltsville and we, the administra-
tors and scientists, hope that this Special Sympo-
sium will renew your enthusiasm to contribute to
the well-being of the small-scale farmer.



Lloyd Knutson
Chairman, Insect Identification and Beneficial
Insect Introduction Institute

On behalf of Howard Kerr, the Co-Chairman of this
Symposium, and the 59 contributors and 70 advisors
and committee members, I would like to open the
Beltsville Special Symposium, "Research for Small
Farms." We thank you, the 500-some participants,
for joining us.

Perhaps, at the very beginning of this Symposium,
it would be useful to consider the general objec-
tives for a minute. When the planning was getting
underway about a year and half ago, the purposes
as described on page were outlined, and they have
evolved somewhat since then. In essence, we have
felt that it would be important to report research
results and provide information for farmers, to
identify research needs, to discuss a wide range of
activities relative to small farms, and to encour-
age communication and cooperation amongst all
involved. At this point I think we can say that
it is likely that the objectives -- which are not
simply those of the organizers, advisors, and com-
mitees but their attempt to define some of the gen-
eral interests in small, family farms -- will be

But some other things besides the stated objectives
probably can be achieved during these two and a
half days. Some are even now obvious and some,
hopefully, will emerge.

We think that this symposium will be significant
because of the quality and diversity of the presen-
tations, the timing of the Symposium in relation
to other discussions of the broad issues of agri-
culture and agricultural research, the fact that
there is renewed interest in small farms in many
circles, and because of the excellence of the

The fact that we are concerned here with a rela-
tively new set of elements in the focus and use

of research is important. This kind of situation
is stimulating to researchers. They relish the
challenge and unpredictability of this kind of
situation. This focus, this situation, should
surely provide new research planning, and it is.
The funds made available for small farms research
are providing the opportunity for something to
emerge that did not exist before--for research to
be done in a different way.

During this Symposium, we can also be on the
lookout for opportunities for actual technology
transfer, and approaches that may lend themselves
in this way. Such needs are in the background, at
least, of certain papers, and explicit in others.
Also, because of the diversity of interests of the
users of research for small farms, and because of
their distribution, geographically and in society,
there seem to be rather unique opportunities to
educate, further, many highly receptive people
about agriculture and agricultural research. To
explore some of the linkages, connections, in the
small farms phenomenon, especially relationships
relevant to research, is one of the objectives of
this symposium: linkages such as small-to-large,
urban/suburban-to-rural, farmers to consumers and
vice-versa, international transfer of technology
(both ways), educational, federal-state and private
organizational linkages, commercial to governmen-
tal, and so forth.

A symposium should be a symposium, in the true
sense of the word. There comes a point when the
instigators and planners need to back away and let
the magic of the moment take place this Sympo-
sium is now in your hands.

I would now like to introduce Dr. James L. Hilton,
Chairman of Session I.


David E. Brewster, Historian
Economic Research Service

What is a small farm? The answer varies by type
of farm, location, even by individual--and it has
varied historically, too.

The 160-acre farm of the 1862 Homestead Act seems
to have been considered a small operation at the
time, even though it was big enough to use the
most sophisticated technology of the day. It was
small in the sense that the family did most of the
work, unlike the Southern plantation or the
hacienda of the Mexican-American West.

During the decades after the Homestead Act,
improvements in farm tools and techniques in-
creased the skills and capital investment neces-
sary for successful farming. The family still
might do most of the work. But the family could
operate a much larger enterprise than before if its
members were fully employed. Farms that supported
and fully employed the families living on them
came to be called family farms. Yet many opera-
tions were too small to keep a family busy on a
full-time basis. By the 1940's, these were the
places that people generally had in mind when they
talked about small farms. Unlike family farms of
the period, small farms at that time were usually
considered to be part-time operations, retirement
residences, or subsistence farms.

Farm size after 1950 was most commonly measured in
terms of sales--not acres of labor requirements--
and small farms came to be seen as the production
units that accounted for a declining portion of the
agricultural market. In the 1960's, when $10,000
in annual sales marked the dividing line between

operations that survived and those that did not,
small farms were said to be units selling less than
that amount. The dividing line had crept up to
$20,000 by the mid-1970's. In effect, small farms
during these years were defined as places in
trouble--operations that were dead or dying.

USDA's agencies, in recent years, have tended away
from a small farm definition based on sales. A
three-part definition is now frequently used. It
describes small farms as operations on which:

The family provides most of the labor and

Total family income from farm and non-farm
sources is below the median nonmetropolitan
family income in the state.

Farming provides a significant portion, though
not necessarily a majority, of the family

This definition emphasizes the farm family, rather
than simply the farm, and it takes into acccount
income derived from the family's entire set of
resources--farm and non-farm alike. An important
goal of a small farm policy based on this
definition is to raise the family's income from
both sources. Small farms so defined may prove to
be one of the most resilient segments of U.S.
agriculture in the years ahead. The combination of
farm and non-farm income should help families
weather periods of low prices and allow many to re-
main in farming who would otherwise be forced to


Alan Fusonie
Historical and Preservation Program Specialist
National Agricultural Library

Since colonial times, the small farm family has
played an integral part in the development of the
American food supply. During the formative years
of the new nation, many farm families were anxious
to improve their lot in life. Limited agricultural
surplus was often created to use as barter for non-
farm items such as salt, coffee, and gunpowder.
From the beginning, Pennsylvania farmers were pro-
ducing wheat for cash sale. The success of the
small farm family operation was often measured by
the amount of back-breaking work, accomplished
especially in the forested regions of this country
where it took about 10 to 15 years to develop a
commercial type of farm operation. The many small
farm families hard at work clearing, plowing,
seeding, harrowing, cultivating, harvesting,
haymaking, and other chores came to symbolize the
democratic aspirations of the new nation. In ex-
pressing his appreciation for their efforts, Thomas
Jefferson said, "...small land holders are the
most precious part of a state."

Travel westward across the Alleghenies was by
wagon, horse, and on foot, was plagued by physical
and discomfort. During the first year of
settlement, west of the Alleghenies, the farmers'
survival depended upon the partial clearing of
forested land and the planting of corn among the
stumps or upon the breaking of the prairie sod.
Gradually, the pressures of an expanding market
system characterized by the spread of the country
store, credit, capital investment stimulated
many family farms to become more involved in
commercial-type agriculture. Improvements in turn-
pikes as well as water travel encouraged farmers
to produce crops for an expanding and more accessi-
ble market economy. The small-propertied farmer
was usually the first one to illustrate the pro-
ductivity of each new region.

Between 1830 and 1860 the mechanical reaper was
probably the most significant invention introduced
into farming. During the decades after the Home-
stead Act, improvements in farm tools and techni-
ques increased the skills and capital investment
necessary for successful farming. The 1860's and
1870's saw horsepower replace human muscle in the
fields. By 1860, there were approximately 80,000
reapers in service to American Agriculture. No
longer did the farmers in good wheat country
depend on the time-consuming expert labor of
binders and cradlers.

Between 1870 and 1900, farmers found themselves
producing more in order to pay for their more
expensive and sophisticated technology of the
day. Unfortunately, overexpansion and recurrent
surpluses kept prices low during the period.
Usually, the combination of low prices and crop

failure meant the end of the farm family with
marginal capital. Progress of the farm family was
often realized despite the adverse living
conditions and environment such as are vividly por-
trayed in Everett Dick's The Sod House Frontier and
0. E. Rolvaag's Giants of the Earth.

By 1900, the total animal power on the farms--18.5
million horsepower--had tripled the estimate in
1850 and only 38 percent of the gainfully employed
were engaged in agriculture. Between 1919 and
1921, a post World War I farm depression resulted
in a net loss in total farm income of 5.7 million
dollars. Post war decline in foreign markets and
increased wheat production in the wheat plains
during the 1920's ultimately lead to recurring sur-
pluses and low prices. By the time of the Great
Depression of the 1930's American agriculture was
a poverty stricken livelihood for many farm fami-
lies, resulting in a net migration from the farms
of 3.8 million. In the Great Plains, drought and
dust storms added human misery to the economic dis-

By the eve of World War II, American agriculture
had accumulated, through years of research efforts,
a vast storehouse of available technical know-
ledge. Unfortunately, the post war commercial
farm families with small land holdings, undercapi-
talization, and declining markets found it next to
impossible to afford the improved products of the
technological and chemical revolution. As many
small family farmers were forced to take the road
to the city, the remaining small farms came to be
identified as part-time operations, retirement
residences, or subsistence farms. Commercial farm
operations decreased in number yet expanded in

Between 1940 and 1960, the net migration from the
farms was 17.5 million people. Today, what
remains of the small farm family enterprises is
being recognized as an important part of the
American economy and heritage. Today, about 75%
of small farms are part-time operations.

With shrinking energy supplies, population explo-
sions in developing countries, and the spectre of
food shortages, some forecasters advocate an imme-
diate increase in agricultural productivity by the
United States. Increased support for expanding
technology and research to include small farms
will surely benefit all farms as well as long
range efforts to deal effectively with the
challenges of world food and agricultural needs.

(Note: A descriptive list of the agricultural
implements and machines on display were avail-
able during the Special Small Farms Symposium)



Steven C. King 1/

ARS small farms research programs are concentrated
in the Northeastern and Southern Regions and
coordination is achieved through focal points at
Beltsville, Maryland; Charleston, South Carolina;
and Boonesville, Arkansas. The Northeast is
forecasting an expansion in numbers of farms in
the small farm category. Major research activity
centers on problems in fruits and vegetables
production, forage and pasture, and postharvest
technology. Small farms today represent more of
a way of living than survival or subsistence
farming. Northeastern Region research programs
involve a strong partnership approach with the
State agricultural experiment stations.

Keywords: Small farms, Agricultural Research
Service, Northeastern Region, current research
program, extramural research

1/ Regional Administrator, U.S. Department of
Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, North-
eastern Region, Beltsville, Md. 20705.



Steven C. King 1/

ARS small farms research programs are concentrated
in the Northeastern and Southern Regions and
coordination is achieved through focal points at
Beltsville, Maryland; Charleston, South Carolina;
and Boonesville, Arkansas. The Northeast is
forecasting an expansion in numbers of farms in
the small farm category. Major research activity
centers on problems in fruits and vegetables
production, forage and pasture, and postharvest
technology. Small farms today represent more of
a way of living than survival or subsistence
farming. Northeastern Region research programs
involve a strong partnership approach with the
State agricultural experiment stations.

Keywords: Small farms, Agricultural Research
Service, Northeastern Region, current research
program, extramural research

1/ Regional Administrator, U.S. Department of
Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, North-
eastern Region, Beltsville, Md. 20705.


My position title identifies me as the Regional
Administrator of the Northeastern Region (NER) of
the Agricultural Research Service (ARS). However,
my assignment today is to discuss the ARS small
farms research program. The Nation has 2.4
million farms of which about 1.35 million are
classified as "small farms." Nationally, this
turns out to be about 95 people per farm. We
manage to feed all these people off the production
of each farm and still export a net surplus of
$25 billion worth of farm products.

It is appropriate for me to talk about small farms
research in ARS when you realize that the 12-State
Northeastern Region, which includes New England,
New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland,
Delaware, and West Virginia, is inhabited by
nearly 56 million people. We have 298 counties,
with over 206,000 square miles of which nearly
two thirds is forested. For the Nation as a
whole, only one third is forested. The North-
eastern Region has nearly 191,000 farms. That
means we have about 288 people per farm. Since
we have at least 107,000 of our farms classified
as "small farms" it is obvious that most of our
food comes from the other regions and that "small
farms" problems are important in the Northeast.


Before launching into a discussion of the ARS
small farms research program, I will review for
you the current USDA definition of "small farm."
The following quote is from a report of the Ad Hoc
Committee on Small Farms of the Joint Council on
Food and Agricultural Sciences, December 1979.

"The current USDA definition of small farm is
based on the following factors:

--Family net income from all sources (farm and
nonfarm) is below the median nonmetropolitan
income of the State.

--The family is dependent on farming for a
significant, though not necessarily a majority,
of their income.

--Family members provide most of the labor and

This is a useful definition for the purposes of
identifying those small-scale farm facilities most
in need of assistance. There are an estimated 1
to 1.3 million farms that fall within the context
of this definition. However, there are an
estimated 700,000 small-scale farmers (sales less
than $20,000) with net family income above the
median nonmetropolitan income. These farms should
also be viewed as users of information and tech-
nology that is developed by the agricultural
science and education system for small-scale


Small farms research was first identified as a
separate budget initiative in the ARS budget for
fiscal year 1979. The Agency position had been
that its research was not size specific, but there
was growing concern that large farms were more
likely to benefit from our research. As more
people sought out a rural way of life while
continuing urban jobs, the part-time, small-scale
farmer reversed the trend toward fewer farms in
many localities. Policymakers began to feel that
small-scale farmers had specific needs that
deserved attention.

Until we began to realize that the problem was not
how to enable a small farmer to become a big
farmer, but one of enabling a small-scale operator
to continue a way of life successfully, we had
difficulty planning research programs within the
small farms appropriation. You see, most of us
had personal experience, either on small farms
making the transition to large farms or on small
farms going out of business in favor of off-farm

Now, with three years of small farms research
behind us, we can look at current small farms
research programs to see what has evolved.
Scientists' attitudes have changed. No longer do
they ask what can I do, now they want to know
where are the resources to do it. We have a
growing list of problems that need to be solved
and accomplishments coming out of our laboratories
and plots that help small-scale farmers cope with
their individual situations.


The fiscal year 1979 budget for the Agricultural
Research Service proposed $3.5 million for small
farms research. It was conceived of as an extra-
mural research program. The USDA appropriation
came out of the Congress as a $3.0 million program
with $2,250,000 allocated for intramural and
$750,000 for extramural research. The National
Program Staff (NPS), our commodity, resource, and
scientific staff specialists, was responsible for
developing an ARS program and for recommending
the initial allocation of funds.

In the beginning, most of the funds were made
available to scientists who had research underway
that largelymet small farms objectives already or
who were able to shift emphasis to meet small farms
objectives. Subsequently separate projects were
written and specifically documented as small farms

Geographically, emphasis was very heavily weighted
to the Appalachian Region where most farms are
small in acreage and soils are predominantly
marginal. However, patches of good soils exist
mostly as river bottom lands. During the debate
over FY 1980 appropriations, political forces drew
attention to small farm needs centered around
Boonesville, Arkansas. As a result, the ARS
concept for small farms research developed into
thrusts oriented to concentrations of program at

three centers--Beltsville, Maryland; Charleston,
South Carolina; and Boonesville, Arkansas. The
Charleston center would give major emphasis to
vegetable production; Boonesville to fruits and
vegetables and forage-livestock; and Beltsville to
fruits and vegetables and forage-livestock.


Our latest summary of current small farms research
in ARS reveals how the program has developed.
Table 1 shows FY 1981 research plans by Scientist
Year (SY) and dollars for each National Research
Program (NRP) that had a small farms category.

the tables do give one a feel for the kinds of
research covered and the approximate levels of

Research Programs in the Regions

The small farm problems vary in the four ARS
Regions and different approaches have been used to
develop research programs to solve the problems.
The Northeastern Region is characterized by a
highly urban area, which over the past century
absorbed the labor and other resources that
shifted out of farming. About one fourth of the
U.S. population lives in the Northeast. Unlike

Table l.--Small Farms Research in ARS as Indicated by CRIS* for FY 1981

NRP# Title of National Research Program (NRP) SY Dollars

2001 Fruit nut & specialty crop production 2.49 499,850
2002 Vegetable production 0.52 113,361
2010 Forage crops, pasture and turf 2.52 719,875
2019 Equipment for production and harvesting 0.30 41,948
2022 Horticultural crops insect control 2.26 310,821
2027 Disease and nematode control 1.82 244,993
2028 Weed control tech. 4.07 472,033
2035 Dairy production (goats) 0.23 71,527
2038 Sheep and other animal production 0.24 189,160
2045 Disease control poultry 0.21 35,901
2051 Process fruits and vegetables 3.43 454,907
2053 Process animal products 2.81 274,504
2058 Marketing horticultural crops 0.81 109,183
2078 Soil fertility 3.52 309,768
TOTAL SMALL FARMS 25.23 3,847,831

*Current Research Information System

If we further consolidate these categories of
research on small farms problems, we have a
broader look at our programs in Table 2.

Table 2. Small Farms Research by Broad Category -
FY 1981 Plans

Category SY Dollars
Soil fertility 3.52 309,768
Fruits & vegetables prod. 8.93 1,400,993
Forage & pasture 5.05 1,001,888
Livestock & poultry i.o8 296,588
Postharvest technology 7.05 838,594
TOTAL 25.23 3,847,831

I hasten to point out that the way the actual
expenditures turned out in FY 1981 are different
than the planned figures, but probably not of much
significance. Also, we have trouble in accurately
reflecting actual amount of research done under
extramural programs because of the way we record
contractural obligations in CRIS. For example, a
2-year contract or agreement will show all of the
expenditure in the year obligated but the work
carried out over a 2-year period. Among these
anomalies is nearly $300,000 in agreements on
forage/livestock research in the Northeastern
Region which was obligated late in FY 1981 and was
not reflected in Tables 1 and 2. Nevertheless,

the rest of the country, the number of farms in
the Northeast is increasing and the average farm
size is declining. There is a "back to the land"
movement on the part of urbanites and suburbanites.
Small farms are often part-time operations and
represent a way of life more than a way of earning
a living. The growth and business prosperity of the
Region's small farms are expected to increase about
17 percent in the next 5 years, especially for
farms near metropolitan areas. At present and
looking ahead, no other Region in the United States
will require technology improvements gained from
specially targeted research projects for small-
scale agriculture more acutely than the Northeast.

Research is conducted on a wide variety of
agricultural subjects. During 1981 there were
more than 50 small farms research projects
supported by the Northeastern Region of ARS at an
appropriation level of $1.8 million. Of these, 38
are either at Beltsville or cooperative with
Beltsville. You will hear about results from many
of these projects later in the Symposium, so I will
not attempt to steal any of their thunder.

I do want to say a few words about our extramural
program. The Northeastern Region set aside approx-
imately $300,000 of its small farms resources for
a Regional research program patterned after the
Hatch Regional Research Program. Experience with
that program has demonstrated the value of scientists

cooperating on individual projects that are
integrated in support of one or more major
objectives. The result was a general improvement
in quality of research due to increased communi-
cation among scientists and the tendency of
technical committee meetings to simulate a peer
review process of project planning and progress

Our approach to allocation of small farms extra-
mural resources was to propose to an ad hoc group
of ARS and State agricultural experiment station
(SAES) administrators that we try following the
procedures employed for Hatch regional research
funds. This, we hoped, would stimulate innovative
thinking about research to solve small farms
problems and to enhance cooperation between these
agencies. We jointly made the decision to divide
our effort into two broad areas--forage/livestock
management systems and horticultural crops. We
proposed to fund the research projects that were
approved through cooperative agreements that
would run about 2 years. We further decided to
start the first year with forage/livestock and
shift to horticultural crops the second year,
alternating thereafter.

The pattern of organization has been to appoint a
technical committee to draft a master project
outline and then to invite the submission of
contributing projects. The technical committee
was asked to evaluate and rank the project
proposals. As administrator of the funds, I
approved and funded the top ranked projects as
far as the funds would go. As an Agency, we are
pleased with the progress. It has stimulated good
thinking in terms of master project development
and in contributing projects funded. We have
completed the first cycle for awarding funds to
both master projects and conclude that we gained
from the process a high level of enthusiasm and

Following another practice that Hatch Regional
Projects have used, we are encouraging review of
inhouse projects. One goal is to see whether
benefits would accrue by having some of them
become contributing projects to the master project
programs. Our hope is to foster communication and
to develop cooperative efforts between ARS and the
SAES. We think it is working.

Small farms research programs have taken into
account the economics of small scale farming and
the special marketing problems arising out of
production from small farms. Some livestock
disease and parasite research has been funded
outside the areas generally thoughtof as "small
farm regions" in order to take advantage of
specialized research experience available.

The ARS National Program Staff has a Small Farms
Research Committee consisting of the National
Research Program Leaders (NRPL's) interested in
small farms research. This committee has the
overall responsibility for planning the ARS
research for small farms, recommends allocation
of resourcesto the Administrator and reviews
research progress. Thus, research carried out

in the Regions must meet the approval of NPS and
regional planning must fit in with the overall ARS

Since nearly one half of the total small farms
research program has been allocated to the
Northeastern Region, we have been aware of our
special responsibility. Early in the development
of the Northeastern program, we saw the need for
coordination and carefully targeted planning, so
we designated a coordinator for our small farms
research program. Howard Kerr has been our
Coordinator from the beginning and no one can
say he has not been involved or lacked commitment.
In fact, his drive and enthusiasm are evident in
this Symposium and I want to pay tribute to his
efforts to make our small farms program a success.


Luther G. Tweetenl/

This report shows that the small-farm sector has
been transformed from a conglomeration dominated
in numbers by full-time farm operators to one do-
minated by part-time farm operators. In the pro-
cess, the small-farm sector has been transformed
from a sharply declining backwater to a dynamic,
growing part of American agriculture. No longer
can we view the modal small-farm family as under-
paid and undereducated but rather must view it as
middle class. Agricultural output from small-scale
farms is low but not necessarily inefficient viewed
in the context of the consumption value which non-
farm workers derive from rural residence. Although
the educated new small-farm sector has the capacity
to respond to the traditional approaches for deli-
vering information from research and other
sources, the time of operators to seek and use in-
formation is no longer a plentiful resource.

Paraprofessional programs to reach small farmers
have brought favorable economic returns which are
compared to payoffs from conventional extension
programs in this study. Although intensive, high-
cost, public research and extension delivery sys-
tems are difficult to justify for middle-class,
part-time farmers, it must be recognized that many
low income, limited-resource farmers remain, and
they need diversified public programs for agricul-
ture production, work force development and, in
some cases, welfare.

Keywords: Agricultural enterprises, agriculture,
economic unit, economics, economies of size, ex-
tension, farmers, paraprofessional, research,
small-scale farms.

1/ Regents Professor, Department of Agricul-
tural Economics, Oklahoma State University, Still-
water, 74078. Professional Paper of the Oklahoma
Agricultural Experiment Station. Comments of Alan
Baquet and Daryll Ray were helpful. The author
is solely responsible for shortcomings of this


The purpose of this paper is to outline what we
know and would like to know about the economics
of small-scale farming in the U.S. The central
thesis is that the small-farm sector is no longer
an anachronism of farmers destined to get big or
get out, but rather is a dynamic, growing part of
agriculture. To be sure, the small farm will re-
main more of a utility-maximizing than profit-
maximizing institution. But the changing makeup
of small farms must be recognized if sound re-
search and extension programs are to be devised
to serve the economic needs of small-scale and
other farms.

Farm size is defined in this paper in terms of
scale of operations in part because that is my
assignment and in part because small-scale farms
share many problems in production and marketing.
Although scale is best measured by resources or
assets controlled by the farm operator, availabi-
lity of data frequently dictate defining scale
herein by annual sales of crops and livestock.

The outline of this paper is to first present
trends in the composition of small farms; then
summarize data from past research on the economics
of small farms. This background serves as the
springboard to discuss future directions for
research and extension to serve small-scale agri-

Economic principles of small-scale farms are the
same as those of large-scale farms. The princi-
ples deal with how to allocate scarce means among
competing needs to satisfy those needs as fully
as possible. It is the means (human and material
resources and technology) and needs (goals, objec-
tives, wants) that separate the economics of small-
scale and large-scale agriculture. Means and
needs are reviewed along with trends in the fol-
lowing section.


Tweeten et al. (18) previously examined historic
trends in numbers of U.S. farms with annual sales
of $2,500 to $20,000 divided into three categories
based on characteristics of the household head:
Farms with (1) a head over 65 years of age, (2) a
head working 200 days or more off the farm annually,
and (3) a head who is an able-bodied, full-time
farm operator depending on the farm for a liveli-
hood defined operationally as all small farms
less categories (1) and (2). The three categories
are arbitrarily called aged, part-time and bonafide,

Based on this classification, trends in numbers of
small farms are presented for Oklahoma in figure 1.
U.S. trends are not presented because 1978 Census
of Agriculture data were not available for the U.S.
as of this writing. Trends for Oklahoma presented
for 1959-74 closely parallel trends for the U.S.
presented elsewhere (18, p. 84), hence figure 1
provides insights into U.S. trends from 1959-1978.

The rise of the part-time group and demise of the
bonafide group is dramatic. Because numbers of
aged small farmers will hold steady or decline in

($2,500-$20,000 SALES)











S i l *

1959 1964 1969 1974 1978
Figure 1. Trends in Small Farms in Oklahoma, 1959-78
Source: Basic Data from Census of Agriculture (20).

the future, small-farm numbers once heavily domi-
nated by bonafide farms will be dominated by part-
time farms. Following decades of decline, the
number of small farms in Oklahoma increased from
1974 to 1978 even after adjusting for inflation and
the 1974 Census of Agriculture undercount using U.S.
data from Lin et al. (10, pp. 37, 73). The growth
in small farms was sufficient to offset a reduction
in number of mid-size farms in Oklahoma, leaving the
number of farms in the state nearly the same in 1974
and 1978. Similar trends are expected for the na-
tion. Discussion of the far reaching implications

of the transition is deferred until later.

Economic Characteristics of U.S. Small Farms

U.S. data for 1975 (2, p. 936) revealed that farms
with gross sales under $20,000 as compared to all
farms had on the average a higher proportion of
operators working 100 or more days off the farm
(55% versus 35%) but, unexpectedly, lower median
off-farm income ($3,800 versus $7,400), higher
incidence of operators over 65 years of age (22%
versus 15%), fewer acres per farm (82 versus 185),
fewer assets ($91,000 versus $232,000), less net
worth ($84,000 versus $204,000) and less total
median income from all sources ($6,200 versus
$10,300). Enterprise selection was similar for


small farms and all farms with emphasis on live-
stock (including dairy), corn/soybeans, and small
grains. A notable exception is horticulture farms
which accounted for a higher proportion of small
farms (26%) than of all farms (7%). Census of Agri-
culture data for 1974 reported by Tweeten and
Huffman (19, p. 51) also show striking similarity
in enterprises among farm sizes.

Differences in assets($1,254 per acre on all farms
compared to $1,110 per acre on small farms) reported
for 1975 by Carlin-Crecipk (2) are not substantive.
More notable is that small farmers leverage their
net worth through use of credit less than other
farmers: The ratio of debt to assets on all farms
is nearly double the ratio on small farms (19,
p. 29). Of course, differences in economic charac-
teristics such as those above would be more pro-
nounced if small farms were compared with just
large farms rather than with all farms. Small
farms account for nearly two-thirds of all farms
but for less than 10% of farm output. It is im-
portant to note that the rapidly changing compo-
sition of small farms apparent in figure 1 is
rapidly altering economic comparisons between
small and large farms.

Economies of Size and the Paradox of Increasing

Numbers of Small-Scale Farms

Massive evidence that small farms produce and mar-
ket less efficiently than large farms explained
the huge downtrend in small farm numbers prior to
1974 but not the uptrend since 1974. The data are
reviewed below before resolving the paradox.

Evidence that small farms produce less efficiently
than large farms is apparent for use of individual
inputs such as energy, machinery and labor as well
as for aggregate production inputs taken as a whole.
According to unpublished data compiled by David
Holland (Department of Agricultural Economics,
University of Washington, Pullman) from the 1974
Census of Agriculture, very large farms (sales of
over $500,000) used 6 cents of energy per dollar
of sales and very small farms (sales of $2,500
to $4,999) used 24 cents of energy per dollar of
farm sales. All classes of farms between these
size extremes displayed a consistent pattern of
higher energy use per dollar of sales for smaller
farms. The data measured energy contained in com-
mercial fertilizer, weedicides, pesticides and
petroleum fuel for the farm business. If non-
business consumption of fuel for household trans-
portation would have been included, the comparative
disadvantage of small farms would have been even
greater. Because of the high capital-intensity
of equipment to extract energy efficiently from
farm feedstocks to fuel farm machines (if rising
real energy prices call for such drastic action),
sharply rising real energy prices could further
disadvantage small farms relative to large farms.

Machinery inputs also are used less efficiently on
small farms than on large farms. Hall and LeVeen
(6, p. 595) report for California that machinery
values per acre ran two to four times greater on
small farms than on large farms while gross sales

per acre on small farms were less than half those
on large farms.2/

The most controversial issue in measuring economies
of farm size is how to handle labor cost. Some
early "engineering" studies of size economies as-
sumed operator-family labor fixed to the farm at
its full-time opportunity cost in nonfarm employ-
ment (now about $20,000 per year). By this accoun-
ting, a typical family farm of today with sales of
$20,000 would require all receipts to cover labor
costs alone, leaving nothing to pay for land and

An economic farming unit in 1980 that utilized the
full-time annual equivalent labor of the operator
and provided a labor-management income comparable
to U.S. median family income required assets of
$1.3 million and sales of $146,000 or more in the
case of corn and soybeans in the U.S.3/ Sales re-
quirements were broadly similar for farms empha-
sizing other crops. All significant economies of
size can be achieved on a family-type farming unit
of the size indicated above (21, p. 59).

In 1980, the labor-management share of all farm
receipts among major types of U.S. crop farms
ranged from 12% for a cotton farm to 18% for a
corn farm. In other words, it cost 12-18 cents
of labor and management to produce a dollar of out-
put on an economic size unit in 1980. Charging
only for hours of operator-family labor required
on the farm at the opportunity cost of such labor
(adjusted for age, sex and education in terms of
ability to earn nonfarm income), researchers (19,
pp. 53-55) estimated that farms with sales of
$5,000-$10,000 in 1970 used 36 cents of labor for
each dollar of output. Farms with sales of $40,000
to $100,000 required only 11 cents of labor to pro-
duce a dollar of output in 1970.

The most appropriate measure of economic efficiency
among sizes of farms is the ratio of aggregated in-
puts to aggregated outputs. Again numerous "engi-
neering" studies (see 13) as well as studies of
actual performance (19, p. 55) show that small farms
produce less efficiently than large farms. Of
course, a few small farms produce efficiently (cf.
6, p. 592; 12, p. 111). But these are exceptions:
An efficiently operated corn farm with sales of
$150,000 produces at a lower cost per unit of out-
put than an efficiently operated corn farm with

2/ Because Hall and LeVeen rely on 1974 Census
of Agriculture data which report machine numbers
and not value, it may be argued that they over-
estimate machinery use and inefficiency on small
farms where machines are older and of lesser qua-
lity than on large farms. This bias may be offset
by failure to account for greater costs for repairs
and lack of timeliness in crop production on small

3/ See Tweeten and Huffman (19, pp. 60, 61) for
methodology, data sources and 1976 requirements for
an economic unit by crop.

sales of $20,000. Although less is known of eco-
nomies of marketing than of producing, again the
weight of evidence is for economies of size. How-
ever, there is no evidence that huge, industrial
farms can produce and market more efficiently than
can a family farm with $150,000 in sales. Excep-
tions are especially apparent for farms.producing
and marketing fruits and vegetables for processing,
fed cattle and sugar.

If small farms are less efficient than large farms
when labor is valued at opportunity cost, how can
small farms not only coexist with large farms but
also increase in numbers? The answer once was
that small farmers are trapped in agriculture by
inadequate knowledge of alternatives. With know-
ledge of options more complete today, the answer
lies in the low return required by part-time farm
operators and their families for their farm labor,
the high psychic value placed on farm living,
availability of local nonfarm jobs, and special
tax and public service benefits available on farms.
The desire by people to live on the farm has long
been a cherished part of the nation's agrarian
heritage. But that preference could not be acted
upon without the means to do so provided by rural
industrial job development. Off-farm jobs sub-
stantially reduced farm operator-labor opportunity
cost (by sharing labor time with off-farm employ-
ment) and provided cash flow to cover costs for
living and farming. The latter allowed part-time
farm families to enter and survive in farming
while their farm labor hours earned even less than
their opportunity cost.

Social-Psychological Attitudes and Goals of Small-

Scale Farmers

The success of publicly supported research and
extension directed at small farms sometimes has
been disappointing, in part because of attitudes
and other personal attributes of people operating
small farms. A number of studies reviewed by
Colette and Easley (4, pp. 5-16) indicated that,
compared to operators of large farms, operators
of small farms tend to have a larger family size,
less formal education, greater age, lower incomes,
fewer organization affiliations, and less social
participation. Small farmers are characterized
as individualistic, conservative, resistant to
change, strong supporters of traditional rural
values and tied to social systems based on kin-
ship or friendship. Many small-farm operators
appear to make management decisions that increase
security and certainty of expectation rather than
maximum profit.

Most of these results were from populations domi-
nated by bonafide small farmers. The new small-
farm sector dominated by part-time farmers will
display personal characteristics similar to those
of commercial farmers. These characteristics such
as income from all sources, education, work ethic
and outlook on life can be classified as middle
class. Some attitudes will differ between com-
mercial farmers and part-time small farmers, how-

Extension personnel can extend information to com-
mercial farmers with the assumption that most de-
sire to increase farm income, improve farming
efficiency, and participate in meetings. That
assumption often has less validity for part-time
small farmers. Enlow et al. (5, p. 4) reported
the results of personal interviews of 8,537
families operating small farms in Missouri. Thirty-
five percent planned to expand farming operations,
47% planned to keep operations about the same and
the remainder planned to do less farming, work
more off the farm or retire from farming. Families
expressing a desire to expand their farming opera-
tion were asked what changes they would like to
make. The most frequent response was "keep more
beef cows." Of interest is the high capital
intensity and low labor intensity of this acti-
vity. None of the nine most frequent responses
indicated a desire for greater labor intensity of
farming as would be apparent in a change toward
specialty enterprises such as fruits and vegetables.
The most frequent reason given for failure to
expand was lack of resources. It is interesting
to note that the small farmers who desired to ex-
pand operations had the largest of the small farms
and had the greatest incidence of operators and
spouses who worked full time off the farm.

It is also notable that small-farm operators in
Missouri specified as their "opinion leaders" pri-
marily large farm operators who make their living
from farming" (5, p. 18). A "trickle down" effect
is apparent in that small farmers do not rely only
on their peers for information about farming.


Competing claims on time (especially of part-time
farmers), inadequate schooling (especially among
bonafide farmers), dependence on friends and rela-
tives for information, operations too small to
justify (at least in operators' minds) the cost of
searching out ways to improve farming efficiency,
all combine to suggest merits of the paraprofes-
sional, one-on-one personal contact information
delivery system to reach small-scale farms. This
method allows information to be tailored to the
diverse individual goals and resources which cha-
racterize small farms.

The potential to raise incomes of small farmers by
paraprofessional and other nonconventional infor-
mation delivery systems is well documented. Orden
and Smith (14), using linear programming to deter-
mine optimal plans for small farms in Virginia,
found that 16% of the farms earned greater income
than their optimal plans, 22% were foregoing less
than $1,000 income per year, 15% were foregoing
from $1,000 to $2,000 income per year, 18% were
foregoing $2,000 to $3,000 income per year, and
29% were foregoing more than $3,000 income per
year. Low volume and lack of technical efficiency
were factors underlying foregone income.

Based on 1977 data, Smith, Hall and Simon (17,
p. 8) concluded that potential increases in income
ranged from $2,000 to $7,000, a figure in line with
estimates from earlier studies adjusted to 1977

dollars (cf. 7, 16). If the average annual cost
of technical assistance is $220 per farm (1977
dollars) as incurred in the Missouri small farm
program, the increasing income by only 7% of the
potential income gain of $4,500 (mid-range of
$2,000-$7,000) would result in a benefit-cost
ratio equal to $315/$220 = 1.4. 4/ In addition,
there would be substantial savings in public wel-
fare costs from additional farm income. Other
estimates of the payoff from intensive programs
of assistance to small farms in Texas and Missouri
indicate benefit-cost ratios up to 3.0.

The hog enterprise was the large money maker on
most Missouri farms surveyed (5). However, with
operating capital restricted to $3,000, hogs were
eliminated from the optimal enterprise mix and the
less labor-intensive beef-cow enterprise was ex-
panded. This was the direction of actual changes
on the small farms during 1974. The most frequent
reason given for lack of expansion on farms was
inadequate capital.

An extensive survey of county extension agents in
the northeast U.S. reported by Kerr (9) confirmed
findings reported earlier that small farms tend to
emphasize the same labor-extensive grain and live-
stock enterprises found on large farms although
small farms more than large farms stressed pro-
duction of vegetables, berries, nuts, and fruits
for the fresh market, and sheep and goats. In
listing specific research needs of small farmers,
county agents in the northeast stressed the im-
portance of production, management and marketing.
It appeared that many of the production information
needs were similar to those of large farms. County
agents indicated that small farm operators needed
to devise ways to produce more efficiently the
products desired most by consumers. Small
farms according to Kerr need management help in
planning high-value crop production, keeping re-
cords, evaluating financial and credit alternatives,
and determining feasibility of part-time, off-farm
work. Marketing needs included information about
direct marketing, particularly for vegetables and

In the most comprehensive review of small-farm
special assistance programs to date, Orden, Buccola
and Edwards (15) analyzed 23 programs directed to-
ward operators of small farms in 14 southern states.
These programs, eminating from both 1862 and 1890

4/ The assumption that technical assistance
realizes only 7% of potential benefits derives
from a study by West et al. (23) for Missouri.
Based on optimal income with operating capital
limited to $10,000, a sample of small farms in se-
lected counties of Missouri in 1973 indicated parti-
cipants in the assistance program provided by para-
professionals realized only 18.6% of their potential
farm sales and nonparticipants realized only 11.6%
of their potential farm sales. Net gain from assis-
tance was 18.6 11.6 = 7% of potential sales. It
is apparent that much scope remains for further
income gains.

land grant institutions, employed over 250 parapro-
fessional and professional field workers and inten-
sively assisted more than 5,000 farmer-participants

Over 90% of the small-farm program field staff in-
dicated that their primary responsibility in working
intensively with farmers was on a one-to-one basis.
Almost 60% of the paraprofessionals reported making
over 40 farm visits per month. In addition to one-
to-one contacts with paraprofessionals, farmer par-
ticipants were involved in other programs: 23%
attended meetings, 12% participated in a tour or
related activity, and 26% participated in both
meetings and other group activities.

Proportions of farmer participants receiving various
types of program assistance were as follows: 68%,
soil testing; 48%, improving crop production prac-
tices; 44%, improving livestock production practices;
43%, improving gardening and food production for
home use; 17%, improving available markets; and
5.5%, increasing participation in social programs.

It is notable that relatively few farmers received
guidance in adding new farm enterprises (13%), eli-
minating unprofitable ones (14%), or expanding en-
terprise size (14%). The field staff apparently
did not press for abrupt changes in enterprises or
scale of operation of participating farmers. In-
stead, the staff emphasized improving production of
existing enterprises (15, p. 35). Responses of pro-
gram leaders suggest the most important training
topics for field workers were, in descending order
of importance: agricultural production and manage-
ment, farm record keeping, techniques for motivating
farmers, and garden production and management.

Participants in small farm programs improved their
annual farm sales revenue by an average of $1,169
during the period of their program association,
usually two to four years. Considering that work
loads averages 32 farmers per field worker, program
staffs helped to generate farm sales revenue in ex-
cess of their salary and support costs, although
this conclusion might not hold for net sales if full
accounting were made for all costs to farmers. Few
farmers expanded their production sufficiently to
provide an adequate family living from farming alone.
Only one-third of farms with sales of less than
$5,000 per year experienced an increase in income of
more than $1,000 in 1977. Orden et al. (15, p. 61)
found that income gains were lowest for farmers with
the least education, least initial resources, oldest
ages and with off-farm work

Research and Extension for Small Farms in

Paraprofessional delivery systems are costly and
resources will not stretch to all farms. Priorities
must be set based on criteria such as benefit-cost
ratios. Data indicate that benefit-cost ratios for
paraprofessional programs are less than those for
conventional information delivery systems made
available to all farmers. This statement does not
necessarily mean that conventional delivery systems

can be expanded to reach small farms with a favor-
able ratio of benefits to costs.

Recent results from Huffman and McNulty (8, p. 27)
reveal an average man-day of conventional agricul-
tural extension open to all farms in smorgasbord
tradition adds nearly $20,000 to farm income. Their
results are based on a study of 363 relatively
homogeneous corn belt counties in Illinois, Indiana,
Iowa, and Minnesota using data from the 1969 and
1974 Censuses of Agriculture. The results may be
based upward by failure to exclude some of the
effect of "extension" provided by input supply
dealers and other private firms. After correction'
for this bias, benefit-cost ratios and rates of
return would probably be much higher than those
on programs for small-scale farms. Numerous esti-
mates (3, p. 11) indicate payoffs per dollar of
conventional public research and education for all
farms considerably in excess of those reported
earlier for small farms.

Research and extension for small-scale farms must
respond to their changing composition. If the
predominant part-time small farm of tomorrow uti-
lizes labor as dear as that on commercial farms,
much of the size-neutral research on increasing
crop and livestock yields emphasized by land grant
universities will apply to small farms (see 3).
Land grant universities have helped to establish
electronic marketing, cooperatives and other sys-
tems to assist small-scale producers market com-
modities. Where benefit-cost ratios warrant, em-
phasis needs to be focused on "appropriate" small-
farm technology research. But because such a small
portion of farm output is produced by small farms
and because the social benefit-cost ratios are in
most cases much larger by emphasizing farming
technology ultimately to benefit consumers (low-
income consumers especially benefit in relation
to income), the bulk of public research and ex-
tension will focus on size-neutral technology for
all farms to serve economic efficiency and equity.
Federal funding increases will be needed to justify
an adequate research and extension program for small

Research Needs and the Oklahoma Study

Several authors (11, 19, 22) have detailed broad
research and extension needs for small farms.
Rather than repeat the proposals by these authors,
I briefly outline some economic research and ex-
tension underway in Oklahoma that may provide a
frame of reference useful in other states.

The Oklahoma work with small farms entails three
phases: (1) Inventory the existing farming situa-
tion by a comprehensive, personal interview survey;
(2) develop appropriate strategies for alleviating
small-scale farming problems based on the composi-
tion of farms found from the inventory and analyti-
cal tools such as budgets and linear programming,
and (3) employ paraprofessional and other assis-
tance to alleviate small farmers' problems inven-
toried in phase (1) and analyzed in phase (2).

This study of approximately 400 mostly small, part-
time farms in east central Oklahoma utilizes a farm

classification system for analyzing problems and
setting program priorities. Recognizing that lack
of funds for research and extension will continue
to limit severely the use of paraprofessionals,
farms are grouped as follows into categories that
are somewhat homogeneous within classes in pro-
blems and services required and amenable for ranking
among classes according to need for services:

Rural residence
Small farms
Family farms
Large farms

Farm sales per year
Less than $5,000
$5,000 $40,000
$40,000 $200,000
More than $200,000

Each class is then divided into two subcategories:
Farms with net income from all sources above and
below the poverty threshold (or, alternatively,
nonmetropolitan median income). Farms with net
income in excess of the threshold are of low priority
for paraprofessional programs because they are not
needy or produce little farm output. Of course,
all such farms have access to the cafeteria of re-
search and extension traditionally provided

Low-income small farms and family farms next are
subdivided into categories according to characteris-
tics of the farm operator: Bonafide, part-time
and aged as in figure 1. These in turn are sub-
divided into those who want to earn more income
from farming and are interested in paraprofessional
programs and those who want to earn more income
from nonfarm activities.

The highest priority in paraprofessional programs
is assistance for full-time, able-bodied, low-
income, small farmers who want to earn more income
from farming and wish to cooperate. Preliminary
impressions from the survey are that comparatively
few farmers fall in this category. The second
priority may be to assist full-time, able-bodied,
low-income family farmers (sales of $40,000-$200,000)
who want to earn more income from farming. Many of
these later farmers may upon close examination be
excluded from intensive assistance because they
have high wealth or only temporarily low income.

Part-time farmers who wish to earn more from farming
receive lower priority for intensive assistance
because they are likely to have limited time to
spend either with paraprofessionals or farmwork;
also, many are sufficiently educated and involved
to seek out research and extension assistance in
the conventional manner. If these operators and
their families have low income, they often are most
effectively assisted by work force programs to in-
crease off-farm earnings.


The 1970's witnessed the transition of the small-
farm sector from a seemingly uneconomic anachronism
to a vigorous, growing, new sector. In fact, the
transition is the realization of trends underway
for decades culminating in the near demise of the
once dominant low-income, low-wealth, low-educated,
low-option, full-time, able-bodied farm operator

and the rise of the part-time small farmer. The
latter is frequently well endowed with income,
human and material resources, and vocational

Selected implications of this report are summarized

(1) U.S. farming will be dominated by two groups
by the year 2000: A few large farms producing
most of the output and a large number of part-time
small farms accounting for the majority of all
farms. Squeezed in the transformation into smaller
numbers and proportions of farm output is the mo-
derate-size, full-time family farm. Growth in
part-time small farms will nearly offset the de-
cline in bonafide small and mid-size farms, ten-
ding to stabilize total farm numbers.

(2) Families will live on small farms not because
they know of or have no alternatives but primarily
because they prefer farming and rural residence as
a way of life and have the off-farm income to fi-
nance that consumption preference.

(3) Small farms will seek labor-extensive rather
than labor-intensive enterprises because operators'
time will be limited.

(4) Part-time farmers will participate more than
bonafide small farmers in conventional extension
activities but will not be strong or frequent
participants. Reasons for lack of enthusiasm
will be competition for time, lack of need for
.additional income from farming, and inadequate
scale to reap large benefits from information
search. The reason will no longer be lack of
education to understand recommendations, social
isolation, working class tendencies to feel out
of place in a middle class audience, traditional
values that oppose change, and fear of attempting
new ways that might jeopardize already meager in-
come. Many will need information on elementary
principles of farming because they will not have
been raised on the farm.

(5) Small farms with part-time operators will not
be very responsive to farming economic conditions.
Returns from farming will have small impact on the
economic circumstances of those who make most of
their income from nonfarm sources. Income of the
modal small farm now is influenced much more by
what happens to the nonfarm economy than by what
happens to the farm economy.

(6) Any sharp change in trends in figure 1 from
the 1974-78 pattern toward more small farms will
depend heavily on public policy and energy costs.
If land-use provisions are adopted that discourage
conversion of farmland to residential uses, if
real energy costs rise sharply, and if full costs
are charged for rural services that are now provided
on concessional terms to farmers, the number of
small farms will stabilize or decline. But
whether they grow, stabilize or decline, the com-
position of those that remain will alter radically.

(7) Summarizing now the economics of small-scale
farms, we note that in prior decades many small
farms had resources that would earn more elsewhere.

But major adjustments have occurred and most small
farmers probably see no substantial opportunity
for preferred use of their resources. Large num-
bers of bonafide and retirement farmers have left
the farm. Part-time operators are not highly in-
efficient when their returns are properly adjus-
ted to reflect the value of farming as a way of
life. Some bonafide small farmers, many of them
young and recent entrants, are seeking an alter-
native life style which they pay for by low
earnings which do not warrant supplementing with
public subsidies.

Markets can work out most remaining economic ad-
justments of small scale farming to the benefit
of farmers and society except for some market
distortions, two of which are listed below.

One is that society is subsidizing small-farm resi-
dence by tax and service incentives. Examples in-
clude inducements for nonfarm residents to move
to small farms to utilize federal income tax fea-
tures available to farmers, and subsidies to high-
cost schoolbus, road, mail, water, telephone,
electrical and other rural services. Charging
full costs for these services would reduce urban
sprawl, encourage appropriate land use and induce
small farmers (and others) to make decisions con-
sistent with needs of the nation as a whole.

A second issue is the role of public education
and research in meeting needs of the new small-
farm sector. Because agricultural research and
extension alone is not a very effective anti-
poverty device and because the incidence of po-
verty among small farms is now approaching the
same levels as found elsewhere, a case can be
made for allocating special research and extension
efforts to small farms only to the extent warranted
by benefit-cost ratios. Additional funding for
small-farm programs can have a favorable payoff
in relation to costs, but the data to date indi-
cate that it is neither economically equitable nor
efficient to divert such funding from conventional
research and extension. However, we would like to
know more about payoffs at the margin for various
types of programs.

Although numbers of low-income farmers have fallen
drastically in real and relative terms, enough
poverty remains on small farms to be of concern,
with concentrations in Appalachia, Carolina Coastal
Plains, Alabama Black Belt, Mississippi Delta, and
Four Corners Regions. Poor small farmers may be
assisted with public outreach that contains a
battery of tools including human resource develop-
ment programs and, of course, agricultural assis-
tance. For some of the able-bodied, the best
option is improved labor skills and a nonfarm job;
for others it is a more productive small farm.


(1) Brewster, D. 1978. Federal policy and the
small farm, an historical view. Ch. 5 in
Toward a Federal Small Farms Policy. NRC
Report No. 7. National Rural Center,
Washington, D.C.

(2) Carlin, T. and J. Crecink. 1979. Small farm
definition and public policy. Amer. J. of
Agri. Econ. 61(5): 933-39.

(3) Carter, H. O., W. W. Cochrane, L. M. Day,
R. C. Powers and L. G. Tweeten. 1981.
Research and the family farm. Expt. Sta.
Com. on Agri. Pol., Coop. Ext. Ser.,
Cornell Univ., Ithaca, New York.

(4) Colette, W. A. and G. Easley. 1978. The
role of communication and attitudes in
small farm programs. SRDC Series No. 4.
So. Rural Devel. Center, Mississippi State
Univ., Mississippi State.

(5) Enlow, G., C. George, J. Holik and E. Wiggins.
1981. Profiles of families living on small
farms. MP 518. Coop. Ext. Ser., Univ. of
Missouri, Columbia.

(6) Hall, B. and E. P. LeVeen. 1978. Farm size
and economic efficiency: The case of
California. Amer. J. of Agri. Econ.
60(4): 589-600.

(7) Hall, H., E. Smith and A. Pagoulatos. 1977.
Public economics of the small farm. Staff
Paper 40. Dept. of Agri. Econ., Univ. of
Kentucky, Lexington.

(8) Huffman, W. and M. McNulty. 1981. Endogenous
agricultural extension policy and the pro-
ductivity of agriculture. (Mimeo.) Dept.
of Econ., Iowa State Univ., Ames.

(9) Kerr, H. W., Jr. 1980. A survey of current
and expected research needs of small farms
in the northeastern region. ARR-NE-9.
SEA/USDA, Washington, D.C.

(10) Lin, W., G. Coffman and J. B. Penn. 1980.
U.S. farm numbers, sizes, and related
structural dimensions. Tech. Bul. No. 1625.
ESCS/USDA, Washington, D.C.

(11) Madden, J. P. and H. T. Baker. 1981. An
agenda for small farms research. NRC
Monograph. National Rural Center,
Washington, D.C.

(12) Miller, T. 1979. Economies of size and other
growth incentives. Pages 108-15 in
Structure Issues of American Agriculture.
Agri. Econ. Rept. 438. ESCS/USDA,
Washington, D.C.

(13) Miller, T., G. Rodewald and R. McElroy.
1981. Economies of size in U.S. field
crop farming. Agri. Econ. Rept. No. 472.
ESCS/USDA, Washington, D.C.

(14) Orden, D. and D. Smith. 1978. Small farms
programs: Implications from a study in
Virginia. Res. Div. Bul. 135. Virginia
Polytechnic Institute and State Univ.,

(15) Orden, D., S. Buccola, and P. Edwards. 1980.
Cooperative extension small-farm programs
in the South: An inventory and evaluation.
Res. Div. Bul. 153. Virginia Polytechnic
Institute and State Univ., Blacksburg.

(16) Saupe, W. 1980. Information needs relating
to small-farm programs and policies.
ESCS Staff Rept. EDD/ESCS/USDA, Washing-
ton, D.C.

(17) Smith, E., H. Hall and D. Simon. 1980. Po-
tential effect of small-farm technical
assistance programs on public revenue
accounts. Staff Paper 101. Dept. of
Agri. Econ., Univ. of Kentucky, Lexington.

(18) Tweeten, L. G., G. B. Cilley and I. Popoola.
1980. Typology and policy for small
farms. So. J. of Agri. Econ. 12(2):

(19) Tweeten, L. G. and W. Huffman. 1980. Struc-
tural change. Part 1 in Structure of
Agriculture and Information Needs Regar-
ding Small Farms. National Rural Center,
Washington, D.C.

(20) U.S. Bureau of the Census. 1981 (and earlier
issues). State and county data for
Oklahoma. 1978 Census of Agriculture.
Vol. 1, Part 36. U.S. Dept. of Com.,
Washington, D.C.

(21) U.S. Dept. of Agri. 1981. A time to choose.
Office of the Secretary, USDA, Washingtor D.C.

(22) West, J. 1979. Agricultural economics
research and extension needs of small-
scale, limited-resource farmers. So.
J. of Agri. Econ. 11(1): 49-56.

(23) West, J., v. Harrold, K. Schneeberger and
L. Williamson. 1975. Missouri small
farm program: An evaluation with a
control group. SR 176. Agri. Expt. Sta.,
Univ. of Missouri, Columbia.




Samuel W. Smith 1/


The cultural practices of Caretaker Farm were
studied to model the process for determining the
future equipment needs of small farms. Even more
than the large-scale farmer, the small-scale farmer
can not always farm the way he wants to because of
the inappropriateness in design and scale of essen-
tial equipment. In many instances, the farmer
makes awkward and inefficient adaptations of exist-
ing equipment to avoid the all-too-common situation
where the technology itself dictates the practice.
A better process for designing and developing
equipment is needed, based on close observation of
farms that follow good husbandry and the condi-
tions that favor and protect the soil-plant asso-
ciation. Once a set of compatible equipment is
developed for small farms, farms all over the world
will be able to practice a resource conserving,
economical and self-sufficient agriculture.

Keywords: Agricultural engineers, agriculture,
cover crops, crop rotation, cultural practices,
equipment, farmers, fertility, green manure,
legumes, natural processes, permanent beds, ro-
tations, self-sufficient agriculture, small farms
soil, soil-plant association, soil structure, sus-
tainable agriculture.

1/ Farmer, Caretaker Farm, Williamstown,
Massachusetts 01267


As I began to prepare this paper with the request
"to address all aspects, including domestic and
foreign, of the future equipment needs of small-
scale farmers," I quickly found the effort was
leading to an annotated shopping list of equipment
needs of small farms around the world. Such a
list, I thought, while helpful to manufacturers
currently searching for new products, wouldn't be
of lasting interest to readers. It would, I felt,
be analogous to a fall preview of spring fashions -
something of immediate interest and curiosity but
stale and outdated by the end of the winter season.

What follows is not an abstract listing of dispa-
rate agricultural needs but rather an in-depth des-
cription of the cultural practices of Caretaker
Farm and, hopefully, by extension, a new way of
visualizing the farming process and the related
but subordinate process of how future farm equip-
ment might best be developed.

New farming practices are needed to prevent the
long term decrease in organic matter in the soil,
loss of structure and water infiltration capacity,
and the consolidation of the soil by monocultures
and wheel traffic. The deterioration of the
health of the soil has led to a greater tillage
effort with a responding loss of soil by the in-
creased flow of run-off water from the puddled

As Dr. Wesley Buchele, Iowa agricultural engineer,
stated, ".....the farmer farms as his machinery
systems allow him to farm." I agree. Consequent-
ly, I hope that some day all farmers will be allow-
ed to farm in a way that meets the needs of the
earth with less subservience to what the equipment
market happens to be currently offering in their
sales catalogues.


Because tools and equipment should follow practice,
future equipment needs do not exist until the prac-
tice has been developed. There only exist immedi-
ate needs. In regards to future needs, there is a
fertile connection in the process between the
evolution of cultural practices that occur on farms
dedicated to good husbandry and the innovative
equipment technology that may, with luck and the
cooperation of agricultural engineers, emerge from
that process. In other words, if the chemistry
between the farmer with a feeling for cultural
technique and soil husbandry and the agricultural
engineer with similar traits plus the habit of pay-
ing frequent visits to working farms is right,
equipment with authenticity and integrity will

This paper describes the evolutionary process of
cultural technique on Caretaker Farm. What is
written here is from a working farmer's perspec-
tive. The overall goal is to contribute to a
better and more precise response to the needs of
farmers all over the globe for equipment that will
enable them to practice a resource-conserving, eco-
nomical and self-sufficient agriculture.

This paper will hopefully strike a responsive cord
in the attuned agriculturalist because it des-
cribes a farmer's (and, equally important, a
worm's) perspective of what is good for the farm.

For the last ten years, I've approached questions
regarding cultural technique and equipment from
the standpoint of the fundamental conditions
necessary for a sustainable and continuous cropping
system on a small truck (vegetables and berries)
farm. I asked what can I do to create a soil envi-
roment for cultivated plants that is economical to
sustain and that comes closest to the conditions
that plants enjoy in their most healthy, natural,
undisturbed environment?"

The fundamental conditions (1) are:

1. A soil that is always firm.

2. A soil in which passages created by roots, soil
organisms and other natural causes are renewed
and maintained.

3. A soil where there isn't a risk of water-

4. A soil that is always covered (preferably
with something growing).

The practices I follow on my farm that come clos-
est to maintaining the above conditions and that
also insure a high level of production of market-
quality crops include:

1. Permanent Beds. I follow a system for planting
all crops including long-term, legume-based cover
crops in permanent planting beds and keep all
traffic off these areas throughout the year and
even from season to season.

2. Shallow and Infrequent Cultivations. I persue
every conceivable possibility for restricting
tillage practices to the absolute minimum.

3. Maintaining a Soil Cover Throughout the Year.
I maintain a permanent soil-plant association by
keeping the soil covered at all times with either a
cash crop, a short-term cover such as buckwheat,
mustard or rye grass, a long-term cover of a grass/
legume sod that's fitted into a planned rotation,
or a mulch.

4. Following a Long-Term (7-Year) Rotation. I
follow a rotation which includes a minimum of three
years in a grass/legume sod.


To relate these broad practices to a specific farm-
ing situation, it is important that I describe the
farm I know best, my own Caretaker Farm.

Caretaker Farm is indeed a small farm comprising a
total of 35 acres. This area includes a stream,
some bogs, 5 acres of permanent pasture, 10 acres
of steeply wooded hillside, and about 10 acres of
tillable land. The tillable land is Sudbury fine

sandy loam (Class II Agronomic Capability) and War-
wick gravelly loam (Class III).

Eleven years ago all the tillable land on the farm
was worn-out with little or no reserves of nu-
trients or organic matter. At best, it would sup-
port a poor stand of grass or a crop of unmarket-
able vegetables.

The first garden in 1970 was less than a half
acre--all was dug and cultivated by hand. By 1975
I was cultivating an acre, but I still completely
relied on hand tools except for the sparing use of
a roto-tiller to lightly incorporate residues from
winter cover crops into the soil surface.

I have gradually increased the cropping area since
1975. But I remain wedded to simple hand tools and
labor-intensive methods. The reason behind my ap-
proach to equipment is less philosophical than it
is to the fact that there are few implements, ex-
cept the simplest hand tools, that are suitable to
my practices.

A potentially big change came in the spring of
1980 when I began preparations for bringing some of
my best land into production. This addition
involved four and a half acres of flat meadow and
increased my total production area to seven acres.
This provided the flexibility for the full imple-
mentation of a 7- to 8-year rotation that will in-
clude a deep-rooted grass/legume sod and, ulti-
mately, for beginning a long-term program of
self-sufficiency and reducing the need for off-
farm inputs.

But before I describe the 1980 and 1981 seasons at
Caretaker Farm and the farm's long-term program
for becoming self-sufficient, I will briefly trace
the methods and practices that have evolved on the
farm over the previous ten years.

I have developed a permanent bed system of farming.
Every crop including long-term cover crops have
been fitted to this system. It's a system that,
while it employs some of the features known to many
agriculturalists in connection with the use of
beds, is somewhat unique to Caretaker Farm. It
makes possible the goals of a practical system of
self-sufficiency in fertility and a reduction in
the scale of essential farm equipment.

The permanent bed system at Caretaker Farm has
reached the stage in theory and practice where it
illuminates unfulfilled future equipment needs.
The permanent bed system begs for the timely appli-
cation of the talents of inventive agricultural en-
gineers. The engineer must design and develop
equipment that will not only meet the immediate
needs of the system--indeed some existing and
readily available equipment can do that--but also
enhances the special qualities and contributes to
the development of the potential of this system of
better husbandry.

A Detailed Description of the Caretaker Farm System

In terms of a permanent, protected, non-compacted,
well-drained planting area, the beds are well-nigh
ideal. The beds are 42 to 46 inches wide and vary

from 20 to 250 yards long. The center of each bed
is precisely 60 inches from the center of the next
adjoining bed. Each bed is separated from its
neighbor by a furrow or path 14 to 18 inches wide.
All wheeled and foot traffic is limited to this

All the beds on the older two acres of cropland
were built by hand. The process of making the beds
is as follows: The old sod is broken by a spading
fork or a conventional moldboard plow. The land is
then disked, fertilized, and seeded to a quick-
growing cover crop that's suited to competing well
with the heartiest and most aggressive of weeds.
Following the initial cover crop, the land is
either formed into permanent beds or seeded to a
deep-rooted mineral-extracting crop such as a
mixture of grass and alfalfa. When the new land
is finally ready, the beds are made by the follow-
ing steps:

1. A taunt line is stretched along the border of
the newly cultivated land.

2. A long-handled shovel is used to dig a shallow
trench approximately 6 inches deep and 12 inches
wide along the edge of the taunt line.

3. The soil from the trench is thrown onto the
middle of the first bed.

4. The bed is raked smooth.

5. Succeeding beds are made the same way with the
trenches and beds running parallel at 5 foot incre-
ments to the first bed unit.

After the beds are made, there's a strict injunc-
tion against any traffic over them or any cultural
practices and implements on them that would ad-
versely affect their structure or their integrity
as a permanent home for succeeding soil-plant com-

With permanent beds, this injunction is not diffi-
cult to follow. The goal, as the seasons and years
pass, is to improve the physical qualities and en-
vironment of the beds as a site which can sustain a
continuing diversity of plant and soil life and on
which natural biological processes can freely oper-
ate. In simple, practical terms, this means:

1. Keeping something growing on the beds at all
times to build organic matter and protect the soil
from rapid changes in temperature and moisture.

2. Employing only shallow and infrequent culti-
vations to assure a firm and uniformly structured

3. Protecting (again by keeping to shallow and in-
frequent cultivations and following a carefully
planned crop rotation) the naturally formed cracks,
openings, burrows and passages that run through the
entire soil profile.

On my first garden eleven years ago, the initial
weed-competitive ("cleaning") cover crop was always
the preface to the construction of permanent beds
and continuous vegetable cropping thereafter. But

beginning last year, the cleaning crop has been the
precursor of a grass/legume sod. This summer, for
example, an acre and a half was seeded to a mix-
ture of alfalfa and timothy around the middle of
August while another two acres were seeded in late
August to a mixture of rye and hairy vetch. Both
seedings are on land that a few months earlier was
in old, worn-out sod, the sod having been mold-
board plowed in late May and seeded to buckwheat in
early June.

There are exceptions or alternatives to the early
inclusion in a rotation of a deep-rooting legume
sod, but most of them involve a reliance on chemi-
cals. And this ignores the long-term goal of work-
ing with natural biological processes (examples
being the carbon and nitrogen cycles) instead of
depending on practices based on off-farm inputs,
whether in the form of chemicals or your neighbor's
increasing valuable manure.

Now let's study the significance of permanent beds.
My goal is to develop a system that, on the one
hand, is more self-sufficient, and, on the other,
best responds to the labor and equipment situation
of the small truck farm. In pursuing this goal,
I'm trying to develop a set of practices that come
closest to creating on cultivated land the condi-
tions that healthy plants enjoywhile growing in
rich, undisturbed, natural habitats.

What is the relationship between these funda-
mental conditions and permanent beds? What, to be
more specific, is the relationship as I perceive
it through the workings of Caretaker Farm?

Condition I: A soil that is always firm, giving
good anchorage and conducting water upward from
the subsoil to some extent.

With permanent beds, the main impediment to the up-
ward capillary movement of soil water--plowing,
heavy and frequent cultivation or any other form of
"open heart surgery-type tillage" (4) on the soil--
is eliminated.

With permanent beds, a firm soil is preserved be-
cause the depth and frequency of cultivations is
decreased. Moreover, because traffic of all forms
(machine and human) is kept off the beds, there is
no need to reestablish a proper seedbed and root-
bed with complex tillage operations between each
crop or each new planting season. One plows once
to reduce the bulk density of the soil and then
never plows again. Indeed, with permanent beds, a
proper seedbed is assured without anything more
than a shallow cultivation in spring or between
succeeding crops.

With the firm, undisturbed soil of permanent beds,
the soil warms quicker in the spring (as opposed
to the loose-cultivated soil associated with con-
ventional tillage operations and seedbed prepara-
tion). Indeed, it is only under these conditions
that a soil will conduct heat from the surface to
the lower areas where it is stored and gradually
released overnight.

Condition II: A soil in which ready made passages
for plant roots are always being renewed and main-
tained. These passages are lined with concentrated

Plant Foods and with Ample Air and Moisture.

Because the permanent beds require less cultiva-
tion, existing soil passages are protected. These
passages are renewed through the root channels de-
veloped by the planting of deep-rooting legumes in
the crop rotation and the activity of soil organ-
isms, provided the latter have an ample supply of
food on or near the surface of the soil.

The increase and preservation of soil passages in
the bed system helps to provide superior drainage
and prevent waterlogging. This, too, makes for
earlier plantings.

The preservation of passages, channels, cracks and
other openings from the soil surface on down also
assures good aeration. In other words, the soil
easily breathes while remaining firm and relatively
undisturbed. Good aeration, in turn, favors the
activity of free-living, nitrogen-fixing
bacteria. Naturally, these bacteria also require
a food supply in the form of soil organic matter
on or near the surface. When the permanent bed
system provides a constant food supply through crop
rotations and the conservative use of composts,
these bacteria will supplement the nitrogen needs
of growing crops.

Condition III: A soil where there isn't a risk of
waterlogging in wet weather because the beds are
raised and there isn't a plow pan or impervious

The furrows between the beds provide drainage for
excess water. Because the elevation of the beds
is above the furrow, an hydraulic gradient is
created that causes, even under continuous heavy
rain, rapid drainage to the field capacity of the

The system reduces to the absolute minimum any
practices that might lead to panning by controlling
traffic on the beds. Parenthetically, anything
that can reduce the amount of time and energy
required for tillage practices is a real economy.
The permanent bed system does that. It's the best
system there is for reducing cultivations and for
avoiding panning or compacting crop land.

Condition IV: A soil that is always covered,
either by growing plants or a surface litter,
gives protection against rapid changes in tempera-
ture, moisture and the nutrient level.

Mulches, both living and dead, provides a cover
that protects the bed from direct sunlight which
might otherwise rapidly heat and dry the bed.

I sometimes find that mulching with dead matter is
logistically difficult (this, of course, points to
an authentic future equipment need) or creates a
physical environment that encourages certain fungal
organisms or other pest conditions detrimental to
plants. The alternative is an appropriately spaced
living mulch of plants. And uniformly spaced
plants on beds provide a much fuller coverage of
the soil than in other systems of cropping.

Beds help the farmer organize his farm for the pur-
pose of maintaining a nearly unbroken soil-plant

association and the most favorable environment
possible for soil organisms. As the English agri-
culturalist, Lawrence Hills, says, "the most im-
portant principle is to organize your crops so that
as soon as something comes out there is something
else to lant or sow afterwards.(2) Under the
permanent bed system, it is easier to follow that
principle than under any other arrangement. Since
the planting system is in blocks of beds rather
than in long rows, crops are harvested block by
block or in distinct units that can easily and
quickly be replanted with another vegetable or a
short-term, quick-growing cover such as buckwheat,
sorgum-sudan grass, sunflowers, rape, or mustard.

When the beds are kept covered the breakdown of
organic matter is more gradual and steady in the
environment that is created within and by the beds.
For example, economies in the decomposition of soil
organic matter are brought about by the minimal
cultivations necessary for weed control, maintain-
ing adequate tilth, and preparing the seedbed.

In either a conventional or bed system, available
nutrients are firmly tied up by the roots of living
plants and are not readily leached by drainage
water. But once the plants die, the available
nutrients may be leached from the soil by drainage
water. Nonetheless, with beds, since excess water
flows overland on the bed to the furrow, less
leaching of nutrients takes place even in the ab-
sence of a soil cover.

Completing the Virtues of the Permanent Bed System.

From the perspective of agricultural techniques,
the permanent bed system comes closest to no-till
farming without the potential long-term damage
(from herbicides) to the soil-plant community
associated with the latter. Indeed, the permanent
bed system creates the most suitable biological en-
vironment possible for the soil-plant community
under the necessarily artificial conditions imposed
by all agricultural practices.

From a labor or mechanization standpoint, weed con-
trol is easily accomplished on permanent beds. In
fact, the genesis of the system at Caretaker Farm
was the need for an efficient means of weed control
under labor-intensive conditions. But regardless
of the size of the farm, all cultivations (whether
by hand or machine) under the permanent bed system
become much easier in the uncompacted soil of the
bed. And, as time goes on, the conditions for
simple, low-cost, non-chemical methods of weed con-
trol become better and better.

Since the permanent bed system leads to a real re-
duction in cultivations, both in terms of depth and
frequency, harvested crops are much cleaner than
under conventional growing conditions. Also, by
limiting cultivations and maintaining the organic
matter content of the soil through a legume/green
manure based rotation, a type of soil is formed
that does not easily splash.

The permanent bed system maximizes the efficient
and productive use of hand labor.

Stooping for cultivation and harvesting is reduced
because of the extra inches of height afforded by
the beds over the paths.

The organization of the lad into beds also helps
to integrate everyone working on the farm into the
total farm system in that beds and cropping areas
are synonomous and clearly discrete areas.

The care of the beds provides everyone--old hands
and novices alike--with a special objective and
sense of comfortable familiarity with the land.
The farm is more than a lot of endless rows; it's
a lot of endless beds. But beds, I've found, have
more character than rows.

Finally, the permanent bed provides the farmer with
a greater sense of accomplishment, satisfaction and
stewardship because it maintains the soil in a con-
dition that is most favorable for plant growth.

Cultural Practices at Caretaker Farm Comprise a
System that Has Never Been Mechanized

The development of Caretaker Farm (the designing by
trial and error of a permanent bed system and the
persistent effort of keeping something growing on
the land at all times) is an example of what a
minority of farmers are doing all over the country
to expand upon the current store of knowledge as
to what constitutes good husbandry and a sustain-
able agriculture.

But it is in the nature of things for agricultural
innovation to be frustrated by the inherent limita-
tions of existing equipment. And it is only the
individual innovator (and not his or her neighbor)
who will attempt, for the time being, to make do
with what is available from equipment manufac-

On Caretaker Farm, I have managed with the follow-
ing inventory of mostly hand tools:

2 long-handled shovels for forming the furrows
(paths) between the beds.

2 heavy iron rakes for smoothing beds.

2 long-handled potato forts for use in the repair
of beds, for incorporating soil amendments and for
occasional secondary tillage purposes.

1 dibble stick (a sharpened broom handle) for
ma!.ng holes for transplants.

1 5" hoe for making wide, flat seed furrows.

1 warren hoe for seed furrows and V-shaped trans-
plant trenches.

3 scuffle or hula hoes for cultivation.

36" water fillable lawn roller to form a firm seed-
bed after broadcasting and lightly raking in fine
grass or legume seed.

2 wooden boards (l"x6"x14') for providing a
straight line and accurate row spacing on the bed
when seeding and transplanting.

Some scythes for mowing cover crops.

A rototiller for incorporating green manures and
crop residues.

2 large wheelbarrows or hand-drawn carts.

1 hand-cranked broadcast seeder.

Caretaker Farm now has seven acres under a crop
rotation. The bed system remains exactly as it
was when the gardens were smaller, but the equip-
ments for the present and future have changed.

Below is the new list of equipment currently
available from dealers and catalogues to
complement the original inventory, all of which
remains necessary and appropriate:

25-40 hp tractor.

5 foot cultipacker seeder for cover crops.

2 middle buster shovels or two 10-12" furrow
openers set five feet apart on a tool bar for
building beds.

1 heavy duty rotary cutter or a heavy duty flail
mower. Both machines for mowing cover crops. The
flail mower can also be used as a forager in the
process of collecting hay or mulching material.
Both machines should be adaptable to cutting right
down to the soil surface so as to leave the least
amount of stubble and thereby reduce the possi-
bilities for regrowth.

1 five foot, heavy-duty disk harrow with a combi-
nation of plain and cut-out blades. In the
permanent bed system, the disk harrow becomes the
primary tillage tool (plows, rotovators and other
forms of primary tillage equipment should not be

Front end loader for tractor.

1 ton dump cart or small, PTO-driven manure

Spring shank cultivator

3 precision seeders on a tool bar.

Mechanical transplanter.

Where and how does this additional equipment fit
into the farming system at Caretaker Farm?

Seven-Year Rotation at Caretaker Farm

The best way to answer the question is to summarize
the seven-year rotation underway at the farm.

A study of the rotation, the use of equipment, and
the melding of the rotation with the permanent bed
system can begin at any point within the rotation.
For the present purposes, I will describe the rota-
tion as it runs through one field.

In mid-August of the current year--year "zero" in
the rotation--the beds in the field were seeded to
a mixture of 70% alfalfa and 30% timothy. The
alfalfa/timothy sod will remain in place for
roughly 33 months from the time of seeding.

The best available equipment for seeding the beds
to a grass/legume sod without damaging their inte-
grity is a five foot cultipacker seeder. Seeding
the permanent furrows (paths) presents a problem
because the rollers on the cultipacker are not
able to make contact with the floor and sides of
the furrow. The solution to this is to lightly
rake the furrow after the seeder has passed and
then make a second pass over the bed with the
tractor alone so that the wheels of the tractor
can firm in the seed that has fallen in the
furrows. Alternatively, if adjoining beds are
being seeded at the same time, the firming in of
the seed in the furrow separating the beds will
happen as a matter of course as the seeding opera-
tion moves from one bed to the next.

Year One

During year one, the sod is mowed at least twice
for hay or mulch, or, alternatively, the cuttings
can be allowed to just fall back in place.

Incidentally, if the cuttings are not removed, the
vegetable farmer or the farmer that doesn't carry
livestock should not be embarrassed. Indeed, as
future research may demonstrate, rotting hay is
better than manure for growing things, for the
latter only contains what is left of the former
after the cows have been nourished by it.

Year Two

Usually three mowings of the grass/legume sod are
made in year two. The height of the mowing is
important. The stand should not be clipped too
close (about 9 to 12 inches is ideal) or else the
maximum development of an extensive root system is

As to mowing equipment, there is a need for agri-
cultural engineers to develop new designs to fit
the permanent bed system. In the meantime, five
foot, heavy-duty rotary cutters will meet most of
the cutting requirements for handling the various
covers in the seven year rotation.

The significance of the deep-rooting, grass/legume
sod in the rotation cannot be overestimated.
Through the development of a deep and extensive
root system, the foundation is laid for
maintaining the structure and fertility of the
beds. Moreover, it is through this phase in the
seven year rotation that there is the greatest
increase of essential nutrient elements added to
the soil organic matter. This increment represents
part of what can subsequently be cropped and
carried off the farm without adversely affecting
the balance of the soil or the status of the farm
as a self-sufficient sustainable entity.

Year Zero

Year Three

In the mid-spring of year three, the field is cut
one more time and then the beds within the field
are disked to kill the sod. The amount and depth
of the disking proceeding the next planting in the
rotation can be significantly reduced if the sod
stand is cut right at the soil level (the ideal
here is to try to come as close to skinning the
soil as possible) of the beds.

The next step is to reestablish the essential con-
figurations of the permanent beds using two middle
buster shovels (or two 10 to 12 inch furrow
openers) set five feet apart on center or on the
same spacing as the wheels of the tractor. After
the sides of the beds and thepaths have been
reformed by the shovels, the surface of the beds
are smoothed with another light disking or raking.

Transplants can go in immediately following the
above steps. However, if the bed is to be seeded
with various vegetable crops, the beds are given a
two week respite to allow for the decomposition of
any residues that have been incorporated into the
soil surface of the beds. This respite is also
important to allow for the germination of any
dormant weed seeds. The beds are then lightly
disked again and the seedbed is ready.

Since most of the late-in, late-out vegetables are
fitted into year three in the rotation, there isn't
enough warm weather left in the season to obtain
more than a mediocre catch on a winter cover crop
seeding. Therefore, the farm's yearly production
of compost is spread on the beds during the late
fall. After spreading, the compost is lightly
tilled in with a spring shank cultivator prior to
leaving the beds in the field fallow over the

Year Four

In year four, the beds in the field are ready for
planting of all the extra early-in crops. Because
of the previous fall practices, the field is in
ideal condition for seeding or transplanting with-
out any work other than, perhaps, a light raking
of the bed surface.

Because of the extra early planting in year four,
the harvest from the beds can be completed by late
August, thus providing sufficient time for a good
catch on a winter cover crop of wheat or other
winter-hardy grain.

Equipment for sowing the wheat includes a hand
cyclone seeder and disk harrow or, under favorable
conditions that guarantee almost immediate
germination, the cultipacker seeder alone.

Year Five

Since a clover will be sown by broadcast seeding
into the winter wheat in late March of year five,
the seeding rate on the wheat should be reduced by
25%. The lower seeding rate on the wheat will
give the spring planted legume a better chance to
become established and vigorously grow in the early

A month or so after the clover is seeded and
rolled with a cultipacker, the wheat will be cut
in the boot stage as green chop, silage or mulch.
Cutting the grain before maturity results in an
even better establishment of the legume seeding.

During the remainder of year five, the clover --
ideally sweet clover -- will remain in place as a
soil-building crop.

Year Six

In the spring of year six, the clover is cut down
as low as possible to the soil surface. The beds
are disked to kill the clover and, if necessary,
reformed following the same practices used for
going from a grass/legume sod to vegetables at a
previous stage in the rotation.

The vegetable crops planted in the late spring of
year six should be ones that can be harvested a
few weeks before the first end-of-season frost.
The beds are then cleaned with a light cultivation
and raking and seeded to winter cover crop that is
a mixture of rye and hairy vetch.

In order to create the optimal conditions for
germination of late summer/early fall cover crop
seedings, there's a premium on equipment and time-
liness of operation. But with the good tilth and
stable fertility of the permanent bed system, a
farmer with appropriate seeding equipment is able
to manage within the tightest of rotational

In the spring of year six, a problem could develop
from the excessive release of nitrogen from the
decomposing roots and plants of the one-year legume
(clover) sod. This same problem could also arise
at the beginning of year three when the rotation
moves from a grass/legume sod into vegetables.
The best way to avoid the problem and obtain the
greatest benefit from the proceeding legume is to
cut the legume plants right down to the soil sur-
face and then remove most of the tops for mulch or
compost on another part of the farm. The best
equipment for this task would be a flail mower
fitted with a rear delivery forage chute for
delivery to a trailer. After the plant material
on the beds has been cut and removed, the beds
require only the lightest of diskings in prepara-
tion for the following vegetable crops.

By adhering to the above practices, the root net-
work of the legume sod remains in place and undis-
turbed. The roots will thus decompose gradually
and release stored nitrogen at a rate commensurate
with the needs of the coming crop and create a
balanced soil-plant economy within the bed.

The practices described above for handling green
manures in the rotation complement and derive from
the permanent bed system and offer an alternative
to conventional methods that call for the full in-
corporation of green manure crops. Indeed, under
conventional practices, the application of heavy
tillage equipment appears necessary to achieve a
rapid, but wasteful, decomposition of plant and
root residues to allow for the creation of the
kind of seedbed conditions to which farmers have
become accustomed.

Year Seven

The last year in the rotation begins as early as
the soil can be worked with a series of diskings of
the rye/vetch cover crop planted the previous fall.
The incorporation of the winter cover doesn't
happen all at once; rather it proceeds at a rate
commensurate with the need for space for a suc-
cession of early vegetable plantings.

Even with a non-legume cover such as rye, it's
possible that an early incorporation of the crop
when it is in an extremely young, green succulent
stage can, as with the plow-down of a legume,
create an excess release of nitrogen in the soil.
Again the plant parts of the crop can be mowed at
the soil surface and carried off, thus eliminating
the need to mix the residues throughout the top
soil layer.

There is a second alternative for handling the
excess nitrogen that is often released and wasted
under conventional tillage practices. Just prior
to plowing down or rotovating the green manure
crop, spread rough compost, straw or other highly
carbonaceous material on the young, lush sod. This
material, when tilled in with the sod, will
provide extra carbon for the soil bacteria to work
on and thus deter them, stimulated as they would
be by the sudden infusion of excess air and
nitrogen from normal tillage practices, from going
after the reserves of soil humus for their energy

Finally, there's a third alternative to a full
scale plow down of a cover crop. This would be to
simply mow the cover and then punch plant into the
stubble. Experimentation in this method is
required to check various stubble heights for weed
control and different other effects. Such experi-
mentation should include covering the stubble with
sheets of black plastic and planting directly into
the sheets.

As the final year in the rotation draws to a
close, the cycle begins again with the reseeding
of the field into a grass/legume sod.

The nice thing about the above seven-year rotation
from both the perspective of greater self-
sufficiency and quality crop production is that
the farm is in a soil-building grass/legume or
clover sod for roughly 45 out of 84 months or 54%
of the length of the rotation. And yet the sod/
green manure crops are only interrupting three out
of seven arable crops. In addition, the deep
rooting legume crops, while neither adding much to
labor costs nor interfering with labor efficiency,
more than pay their way as a basic contributor to
maintaining the long-term security of the land and
the farm.


Until the current stresses on the nation's soil and
water resources precipitate a crisis or ecological
catastrophe, and as long as there is a steady flow
of off-farm resources entering through the farm
gate, the conventional agricultural system will

work. But it's a system that is vulnerable to
interruptions in inputs; that is uneconomical be-
cause it fails to avail itself of many of the com-
ponents of a balanced soil-plant economy that are
freely supplied by natural processes; and that is
not sustainable because of the accumulating evi-
dence of its negative effects on soils and a
healthy soil-plant association.

Once in place, a self-sufficient agriculture over-
comes these weaknesses and is essentially invulner-
able. The sobering fact is, however, that only a
tiny percentage of the nation's farms have moved
along the road to self-sufficiency.

Any for the rest, as witnessed by Caretaker Farm's
work with permanent beds, crop rotations and often
make-do adaptations of equipment, there is an
awful lot of new practices to be learned and new
equipment to be designed based on these improved



When men do work upon matter they employ tools
which are of two kinds: physical tools of wood,
bone, stone, metal; and psychological tools which
are expressed in methods, and which become formal-
ized as techniques;.....The psychological tools can
be divided into two subclasses, the intellectual
and the spiritual; the intellectual tools are con-
cerned with method; the spiritual tools are con-
cerned with relationships with the rest of the uni-
verse....A man uses all three kinds of tool to turn
a piece of waste land into a farm.

An early problem which man had to solve was that
of tree felling, and in course of time he evolved
a perfect axe head. This tool was as good as it
could be by late Neolithic times, and it remains
unchanged in form....But the axe was only the
physical tool which ancient man used to cut down
trees, and the intellectual tool enabled him to
devise the most effective way to swing his axe, to
see where the tree should be cut in order that it
should fall in a certain way. But what of the
spiritual tool? It is this member of the trinity
of tools which enables men to control and check
their actions by reference to the "feeling" which
they possess for the consequences of the changes
they make in their environment. Man was anciently
aware of the whole world as alive, and finding him-
self animated by spirit very properly supposed all
other living creatures--and for him life was mani-
fest even in stones--to be similarly animated.

This point of view is not one which we could adopt
today, but it should be recognized that it was
immensely valuable to the soil community and there-
fore, in the long run, to man.....No Agricultural
Executive Committee, no Soil Conservation
regulation could have been more effective. We use
today the axe-head made by the earliest tree
fellers, but not the spiritual tools of which they
made use to regulate tree felling. What have we
put in their place?"(3)

This paper calls for the implementation of some-
thing that is essentially new to the whole food
system -- an effort to design and develop equip-
ment for small farms. It also details the process
or framework in which the design and development
work should take place that is it should grow
out of a close examination of the best and most
innovative practices taking place on a scattering
of small farms all over the country.

Future equipment for both crop and livestock pro-
duction should be designed with the intention of
enabling farmers to reduce the cost of farming to
themselves and to the land rather than simply pro-
viding them with a means of utilizing more and more
costly off-farm inputs.

This implies a new direction for agriculturally re-
lated businesses -- one that might be less profit-
able for the producers and marketers of some agri-
cultural inputs but more in the long-term interest
of farmers and the nation's soil and water re-


The Caretaker Farm bed system provides for main-
taining the four fundamental conditions for healthy
plant growth. In addition, the following features
and benefits are derived from the bed farming

A. Physical Conditions of the Soil

1. Beds warm up faster in spring and are warmer
through the day.

2. Beds do not become waterlogged -- excess water
drains from them to the furrow and well drained
soils are warmer soils.

3. Beds are better aerated than flat land.

4. Nutrients are not leached from the bed by
excess water.

5. Beds improve the capillary movement of soil

6. Since crops are continuously grown on the bed,
the bed never consolidates from lack of root

7. Tillage is not required to break up
consolidated soil.

8. There is no traffic in the bed to compact the

9. Continuous growing of cover increases organic
matter of the soil.

10. The bulk density of the soil decreases.

11. The nutrient supply is slowly released from
the decomposing organic matter and is immediately
available for uptake by roots.

12. Bed farming promotes the growth of free-
living, nitrogen-fixing bacteria by maintaining
a food supply on or near the surface.

13. All root and earth worm channels are main-
tained in tact in the bed.

14. Residue and plant covered beds have higher
populations of earth worms and soil bacteria.

15. Increasing the organic matter changes the
color of the soil to a blacker soil.

16. Black soils are warmer soils.

B. Management of the Beds

1. Beds reduce time and energy required for
primary and secondary tillage.

2. Workers stoop less when planting, weeding and
harvesting beds.

3. Bed system maximizes the productivity of the
labor force.

4. The labor force is easily managed on bed

5. Beds are discrete areas for management pur-

6. Records are kept by beds.

7. Beds look beautiful.

8. Since the use of beds eliminates three-fourths
of the pedestrian paths between the rows, the
width of rows can be reduced and productivity of
the land maximized.

9. Bed farming can be used on any size farm.

10. High organic soils do not stick to root crops.
Roots come out of the ground clean and ready for

11. Shoes and clothing stay clean while working
residue-covered beds.

12. Soil splashing onto leaves of vegetables is
reduced on residue-covered beds. There's less
sand and dirt to be washed from the vegetables.

13. Highly organic, residue-covered soil can be
planted, weeded and harvested while crops are wet.

14. Bed farming encourages timely planting, weed
control, and harvesting.

C. Bed System Fitted Into Seven Year Rotation:
Summary of Rotation

Year Zero: Field seeded to mixture of timothy and
alfalfa to establish grass/legume sod.

Year One: Sod Grass/legume mixture.

Year Two: Sod Grass/legume mixture.

Year Three: Late spring till-in sod; plant vege-
tables including late harvested varieties; late
fall incorporate manure/compost; leave field fallow
until following spring.

Year Four: Very early spring plant hardy vegeta-
bles; late summer plant winter wheat.

Year Five: Very early spring broadcast clover;
late spring cut wheat before maturity for mulch or
haylage or, alternatively, allow to mature and har-
vest; for remainder of year clover nurtured to
grow into vigorous sod.

Year Six: Mid-spring till-in clover sod; plant
vegetables; late summer plant cover crop of vetch.

Year Seven: Early spring till-in vetch; plant
vegetables; late summer reseed back to grass and
legume mixture to begin rotation again.

D. Mechanization of Cultural Practices for Bed
Farming (Unfulfilled Future Equipment Needs)

1. A self-propelled vehicle should be designed and
developed for working within the guidelines of the
bed farming system. Implements to be matched to
the vehicle include the following:

2. Seeder that makes furrows of varying shapes in
the bed, plants seed, covers the seed with
weed-free soil carried in hopper on vehicle and
waters the seed.

3. Spreader for laying fertilizer, manure, compost
and mulch on the bed.

4. Heavy duty cutter that can mow vegetable plants
and sod or cover crops to the precise level of the

5. Mid- or belly-mounted cultivators.

6. Harvesting implement for cutting off vegetables
from bed and transporting harvested crops.

7. Seeder for planting a wide diversity of
grasses, legumes and other valuable forage and
cover crops.

8. Bed former.


1. Hainsworth, P. H., Agriculture: A New
Approach; London: Faber, 1954; p. 45.

2. Hills, Lawrence D, Grow Your Own Fruit and
Vegetables; London: Faber and Faber, 1971;
p. 56.

3. Hyams, Edward, Soil and Civilization; New York:
Harper Colophon Books, 1976; pp. 274-276.

4. Personal communication from Dr. Wesley F.
Buchele, Dept. of Agricultureal Engineering,
Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa; June 1981.



J. K. McDermottl/

Terminology currently used in agricultural re-
search and extension in obsolete and clearly in-
adequate. This reflects in part the lack of
conceptualization and the weakness of the concepts
upon which we now depend and in part the tradi-
tional nature of the agricultural research and
extension establishment. The problem is especially
serious in international work and is becoming
serious even within the tradition.

Keywords: Agricultural extension, agricultural
research, farming systems, small farms, techno-

1/ Associate Director, Office of Agriculture,
Bureau of Science and Technology, Agency for
International Development. Views in this paper
are those of the author and are not intended to
represent those of the Agency.


Our "concepts" in dealing with the appointed sub-
ject are hopelessly inadequate, so inadequate, in-
deed, that they literally do not serve to give you
a very secure expectation of what this paper is
all about. As long as we were dealing domesti-
cally, we could limp along. Since most of us were
nurtured in the womb of the Land-Grant College, we
shared a common heritage, or common tradition. As
we move onto the international scene, however, the
conceptual inadequacies become almost fatal. Our
traditionalism has almost done us in.

If I seem to be exaggerating the situation, it
only betrays the enthusiasm with which I call
attention to the problem.

Our problems start with the very words "research"
and "extension." These are little more than labels
in our system. The fact that we have two labels
can be traced to a historical accident occasioned
by a bureaucratic play to get more money into the
state experiment stations. Up until 1909, state
experiment station directors were using Hatch Act
funds for publications and for work with farmers.
That year, A.C. True of the USDA issued instruc-
tions that all charges for extension and printing
be eliminated from Hatch Act funds. At the same
time, he stated his appreciation for extension and
pledged to do all in his power to get funds for
extension. That he was sincere was evidenced by
the fact that later in his career he was to head
extension work in USDA.

Thus, what is essentially a single, integrated pro-
cess was simply chopped in two. We labeled one
segment "research" and the other segment "exten-
sion." We grafted over the wound by inventing so-
called "extension specialist" with nothing more
than slight interruption in our stride.

But when the system started to emigrate, our sins
caught up with us. The labels simply had no power
as concepts, even though we tried to use them as
such. As someone said about the split season in
major league baseball, "the situation is wrong,
and the more you fuss with it the wronger it
gets..." The problem is both (a) basic and (b)
doubled headed.

Basically, the process of technology innovation
(what research and extension is all about) is a
single process. We can recognize the person who
never gets off the experiment station or out of
the laboratory as dealing in research. At the
other end, we can recognize the county agent or

field agent (who seldom gets on an experiment
station or into a laboratory) as doing extension.
There is a considerable segment in the middle in
which we simply cannot distinguish research from
extension. See diagram below.

The mischief caused by this "conceptual gap" in
our our foreign assistance program has been consi-
derable. We've done some fairly good work at help-
ing to build capacity to deal with the ends of the
technology innovation process. We have been clear-
ly inadequate at addressing the mid-section. No
matter how good the ends are, they don't add up to
much if you cannot join them together.

We are trying to repair that damage now, as will
be discussed later.

The situation becomes complicated by the fact that
the farmer is also a researcher. Virtually no
farmer will adopt a new technology without trying
it himself or watching a neighbor try it. Fortun-
ately, there is almost always one farmer who will
try almost anything once. If it stands the test
on his farm, then he will adopt it, and some of
his neighbors will also. The extension demon-
stration is in many cases the final step in the
technology generation segment of the process. The
technology is still under test, the farmer's test,
which is the stiffest.

The second head of the problem comes from our not
distinguishing science from technology, in
agriculture We simply throw them together in the
bin labeled "research." This is more serious than
mixing apples and oranges, which are at least
fruits. It's more like mixing pears and pigs.
Science is analytic. It abstracts. It controls
all of the factors except the one under study.
Science aims to give you a bit of information.
That bit of information has no value per se. Tech-
nology synthesizes. This process is exactly
opposite that of science. It puts together old
technology, new bits of information, and even
guesses to come up with a product that works.
Science must control factors in the environment.
Technology has to be fitted to the environment.
It has to function in an uncontrolled environ-
ment. Our non-agricultural counterparts have
avoided this mistake. They use the terminology "R
and D," which distinguishes between "research" and
technology "development." It's time that we did
in agriculture.


Basic Applied
Research Research Development Testing Adaptation Integration Diffusion Adoption
(Pure (Practi-
Theore- cal)

The Technology Research and Development Innovation Process

As long as we don't, the wrong situation gets
wronger. In our frustration over the inadequacy
of the term "research," we have coined a multitude
of modifiers to help us talk with each other--such
phrases as "adaptive research," "demonstration
research," "test-bed research," "applied research,"
"basic research," "on-farm research," "farming
systems research," and others. The problem with
all of these coined phrases is that they have
almost no value in communication. Each one of
them means only what the user has in mind at the
time he uses it.

"Technology transfer" is another one of those all-
meaning, non-meaning terms. On some occasions it
is a synonym for "extension." in my business, how-
ever, it can mean international transfer of techno-
logy, which puts it into a completely different
context and for which at least one fairly sophisti-
cated conceptualization has been worked out.

"Extension: has some inadequacies, even as a
label. We need to think of "diffusion" of techno-
logy. However, "diffusion" and "extension" are
not synonomous. "Extension" is really an adminis-
trative form, and in the United States this admin-
istration form has taken on a life of its own. At
the same time, diffusion as a function is per-
formed by many administrative forms or organi-
zations--cooperatives, private industry, mass
media, and credit institutions.

We've never developed a very useful concept of the
"small farm." Howard Kerr came up with a defini-
tion in his survey, and it's interesting that two
of his three factors have little to do with farm-
ing. One of them deals with off-farm work, and
the other deals with total income. The total in-
come level is the one that gives us the most pro-
blem. On the international scene, we are continu-
ally confusing farming with poverty when we get to
dealing with the small farm. Howard Kerr recogni-
zes the same issue, in his criterion of total
family income of a "small farmer" being below the
median non-metropolital income.

Internationally, we add another confusing element,
namely, the confusion between the commercial and
subsistence. There are some of us who are urging
that the Agency needs to deal with the "small-farm,
commercial" sub-sector of the agriculture sector.
We hold that simply improving "subsistence" farming
doesn't get us anywhere. We're trying to estab-
lish the criteria for commercial agriculture of
selling at least half the production and of being
in the market for inputs as well as for outputs.
So far the definition has not caught on. We are
consistent with Howard on one measure of size,
using "family labor" as the criterion for "small,"
i.e., the family contributes at least one-half of
the labor on the farm, but that definition like-
wise has not caught on in LDCs. That criterion
will have a meaning in the LDC context, however,
different from that in the U.S. context, chiefly
because of the different structure of capital and
labor between the United States and the LDC

We are making some headway in filling in the seg-
ment of the technology innovation process. This

is the conceptual gap I referred to earlier. How-
ever we are doing it without much help from our
concepts. Perhaps in the pragmatic U.S. tradi-
tion, if we can make it work, then we can either
develop our concepts or decide we do not need them.
We have re-discovered "farming systems." That's
what the agronomist, George Warren, discovered al-
most 60 years ago and from which he developed the
farm management concept, which was to develop into
a subject matter field and, in turn, was to figure
in the creation of two professional disciplines,
agricultural economics and rural sociology.

"Farming Systems" is another non-concept, and the
trouble with its use as a label is that is is used
for so many different types of activities. As far
as concepts are concerned, this terminology may be
jumping from the frying pan into the fire. Farming
Systems Research FSR, it's called -- can mean
either (a) R and D work which sets out to develop
one or more systems of farming that can be alterna-
tives to the systems currently being used, or (b)
a modified form of conventional agricultural
research that involves coming to terms with the
current systems and of testing new technologies on
the farms (or within the current systems) before
recommendations are made.

The (b) meaning is instructive for us, especially
for us in international work. After 20 years' ab-
sence from the domestic scene, I realize I don't
know the domestic situation anymore. Any of you
who are familiar with the rich Land-Grant tradi-
tion will recognize this meaning of "farming
systems" as an old colleague. If you are not
steeped in the tradition, you may find yourself
also re-inventing the wheel. The "farm management
survey" as an instrument is as old as I am (more
than half a century), and its purpose was exactly
to understand the farmer. The old "type of
farming area" concept was virtually a farming
system concept. The type of farming area was an
area characterized by a predominant farming system.

In modern parlance, an area dominated by a common
farming system is called a recommendation domain.
A public agency dedicated to technology innovation
must look for the commonness among farmers. None
of us, certainly no LDC, can afford to treat each
farm as a separate system, although there is
always the tendency to try.

On-farm testing is not new. The result demonstra-
tion used to be one of the most popular extension
methods. Perhaps it still is. Whether it was a
test or a demonstration, we don't know. We called
it a test if the person who did it drew his pay
from the experiment station. We called it a demon-
stration if it was done by an extension worker.
No matter, for the audience i.e., the farmer,
it was a test. And if it didn't work out very
well, it was also a test for those who put it on.

Why it is that we have had to re-invent the wheel?
Many of us involved with international work were
brought up in the Land-Grant tradition. Perhaps
we are as traditional, or maybe even more so than
the so-called traditional farmer we are trying to
help out. Traditionalism is an interesting
phenomenon. It leads one to behave in

a certain manner (a) as his seniors did, (b)
almost as if that is the only way, and (c) without
questioning, either whether it's right or wrong or
just what is it. Our Land-Grant tradition was
rich. It was also complex. It was also a great
institutional shelter for U.S. workers. Each
could perform his function with neither an under-
standing of the tradition or a need even to worry
about it. All he had to understand was his own
role in it. Thus there was no pressure on us to
conceptualize -- to understand the tradition -- to
make it rational and objective. For this failure
to conceptualize, we in international work have
paid a high price.

I have been off the domestic scene for almost a
quarter of a century. I don't know how well the
Land-Grant traditions that I regard so highly, are
serving you today. But as you, in a way, re-trace
history to take another look at the small farmer,
my intuition is that the use of labels for
concepts may not be serving you much better than
it is serving us.



Howard W. Kerr, Jr.l/

Once again and as indicated in a May 1979 study,
small-scale agriculture in the Northeastern Region
is in a transition which is expected to continue
throughout this decade. Agricultural enterprises
of small farms will change. At present, approxi-
mately 2 of 3 small farms are engaged in forage/
livestock and 1 of 3 in horticultural enterprises.
Expected in 1990 will be 56 percent of small farms
engaged in forage/livestock, 39 percent in horti-
culture, and 5 percent in specialty crops. The
number of small farms in the NER will continue to
increase by about 8-10 percent by 1984 and by the
same amount again by 1990. Growth will occur in 5
of 6 counties located in close proximity to popu-
lated areas and a 5 to 10 percent decline will
occur in 1 of every 6 counties located in rural
areas. Future priority areas for small farms
research were identified as marketing and manage-
ment. Research priorities for horticulture were
strawberries, apples, sweet corn, tomatoes, and
cole crops; for forage and livestock, beef cows
and calves, sheep, and hay. A continuing need
will be the close working relationship of Exten-
sion Service (ES) county agents and researchers.

Keywords: Agricultural enterprises, agriculture,
economics, extension, family farms, farmers,
northeastern region, research, small-scale farms,
survey, technology.

1/ Coordinator, Small Farms Research,
Northeastern Region, Beltsville Agricultural
Research Center, Beltsville, MD 20705


When one thinks of agriculture in the northeastern
United States (NER) he or she may imagine herds of
dairy cattle on lush valley pastures, or hillside
orchards with ripening apples and peaches, or flat
fields of yellow corn or small grains. This
picture is partially correct, but not completely
so, because agriculture is all of these and much
more. This tranquil, still-life picture does not
depict the living, changing industry that is
agriculture today.

Small family farms are abundant in the northeastern
United States, and the majority of family farms
are engaged in either horticulture or forage/
livestock enterprises. However, while these are
the major enterprises, the family farms are
diverse because of the region's great diversity
in geography and topography; e.g., the tree-
covered hills of Maine, the mountains of West
Virginia and Pennsylvania; the coastal plains of
New Jersey, and the low flat lands of Maryland's
Eastern Shore. All of the northeastern states
contain rural and urban centers interspaced among
major metropolitan centers.

The Agricultural Research (AR) Northeastern Region
(NER) is comprised of 12 states containing 298
counties, an area of over 200,000 square miles,
and a population in excess of 55 million people.
In aggregate, the region is an amalgamation of
metropolitan and rural areas with various
topographies and climates. The region's agri-
culture is varied, and both large and small farms
are found in every state.

In colonial times, agriculture was the major
enterprise of the region. Today, agriculture is
no longer the major industry, but agriculture is
very important to the region, both as an occupa-
tion for its inhabitants and as an industry needed
by all. Oftentimes, it has been stated that the
Northeast is more than 75 percent dependent on
foodstuffs from outside of the area. In these
times of spiraling inflation, high food costs, and
other potential or unexpected threats such as the
medfly, civil disobedience, contamination, etc.,
the stabilizing and fostering of an increased
local food supply can become a crucial factor.

Farming in the NER is in transition. Techniques
of production are changing, marketing procedures
are shifting, and lifestyles of small farm
families are continually being upgraded. It is
difficult to keep abreast of all the changes.
However, if NER small farm families are to be
truly assisted by the Federal Government, their
needs must be identified, and appropriate and
fulfilling research programs, must be planned and

Knowing the specific research needs of small farm
agriculture is the most important problem to
solve. Despite limited funds and staff, and
because small farm agriculture involves a wide
range of diverse agricultural practices,
identification of the answer is vital to all --
administrators, researchers, farmers, and
consumers. Getting the answers is difficult and
could not be accomplished singlehandedly. To

assist us, I sought assistance from many sources
-- key researchers located in the various NER
State Agricultural Experiment Stations, scientists
at private educational institutions, individuals
in the private sector, and most vital, the
cooperation of people in the Extension Service

To identify small farms needs and to plan
appropriate research programs for the limited
AR/NER research dollars and manpower, the NER in
May 1979 opted for a survey of 70 selected
cooperative county agents in the 12-state region.
The various state directors of the Cooperative
Extension Services identified the county agents
for solicitation of the needed information, A
2-page questionnaire containing 11 questions, a
memorandum explaining the purpose of the survey,
and a definition of small farm operators was
mailed to the participants. The definition was
based on the following factors:
-- Family net income from all sources (farm
and nonfarm) is below the median
nonmetropolitan income of the State.

-- The family is dependent on farming for a
significant portion, though not neces-
sarily a majority, of their income.

-- Family members provide most of the labor
and management."

The information obtained was analyzed and a
publication, ARR-NE-9 A Survey of Current and
Expected Research Needs of Small Farms in the
Northeastern Region, was published. Information
in the report has assisted the NER Administration
and management to maximize the allocation of
limited research dollars earmarked by Congress to
support small farms research. Most important, the
information has proven useful for implementing
immediate agricultural research and planning
long-range technology.

While the above definition was widely employed by
the Department prior to the current administration,
the emphasis now is directed more to family farms.
Nevertheless, because my research objective was to
update the earlier study, I have utilized the
aforementioned definition in the current study
The purpose of the updated study was to further
refine the original study because of recognized
dynamic changes in several sectors of our economy
over the past 2-year period. Whereas the earlier
study projected what may occur in the year 1984,
the current study again looks at 1984, and in
addition, at 1990.

In the original study, open-ended questions were
used. All questions in the new study were
structured so as to reflect the respondent's
evaluation and rating in order of impact or
importance relative to a specific topic about the
operation of small farms or about members of
families on small farms.

Seventy questionnaires were mailed to participants
in March 1981. The participants were the same
individuals screened in the first survey. Sixty-
seven respondents completed and returned the
questionnaire by July 1, 1981 and this information
was used as the basis of the current study. Three
questionnaires were not completed or not returned.
One respondent indicated "there were no small farm
families or farms in his county," and one
respondent did not reply until after the July 1
deadline. None of the latter respondents had
participated in the first study. Forty-eight of
the 67 participating county agents had participated
in the earlier study, and 19 were participating
for the first time. As shown in the following
data, 16 of the respondents had 5 years or less of
service in the county for which they were
reporting, 38 had 11 or more years, and the
average was more than 14 years, as was the case in
the former study.




5 or less
6 10
11 15
16 20
21 25
26 or more


Horticulture and forage/livestock are the major
enterprises of NER small family farms. Each of
these enterprises embraces a wide variety of
particular commodities. In the most general
terms, horticultural enterprises involve either
vegetable or fruit and berry production, whereas
forage/livestock enterprises involve dairying,
beef, or sheep production.

Respondents were requested to estimate the
percentage of small family farms in their county
that were engaged in these two enterprises in 1981
and what they expected the percentage to be in
1984 and 1990. As shown in the following data,
NER horticulture enterprises will substantially
increase in the next 10 years at the expense of
forage/livestock small farms:

Year Horticulture Forage/Livestock Other

1981 30.38%

1984 34.13%

1990 38.63%







In 1981, two of every three (63 percent) of the
small family farm operations in the NER were
engaged in forage/livestock enterprises. In the
western areas of the region, particularly in the
Piedmont and Appalachian areas, small-scale farm
operations were predominantly forage/livestock.
However, a decline is expected in the number of
small family farms engaged in forage/livestock in
the future as small farms shift to horticulture or

combine horticultural operations with their forage/
livestock enterprise. A substantial transition
will occur during the 80's. By 1984, NER small
farms engaged in forage/livestock will decline to
59 percent, and horticulture will gain more than 4
percent, to reach 34 percent; by 1990 forage/
livestock will further decline to 56 percent and
horticultural enterprises will increase to nearly
39 percent. Other enterprises in the NER, such as
production of tobacco, maple sugar, cranberries,
etc., will remain relatively constant throughout
the 80's and will constitute about 5 percent of
the enterprise mix.

The respondents listed several comments relating
to why there will be a substantial shift in small
farm enterprises during the next 10-year period.
Less livestock will be produced due to the
increasing cost of grain and the cost of producing
livestock. The percentage of meat in the diet of
many people is decreasing. As the price of land
increases, small farmers will be forced to produce
crops yielding higher returns and to produce fewer
low value crops. Market outlets for locally-
produced livestock -- beef, swine, and sheep --
are decreasing, and many small farm operators are
experiencing difficulty in finding a place to
market their production. Many of the respondents
indicated that livestock enterprises will become
less attractive as input costs continue to rise
while returns to the operator remain relatively

The anticipated shift to horticultural enterprises
or combinations of horticulture with forage/
livestock by some small farmers will be dictated
by many factors. The climate and markets in the
NER favor fruit and vegetable crops; less invest-
ment is required for these than is required for
starting a livestock enterprise. The rapid
expansion of farmer retail markets in all states
within the NER encourages horticultural production.
In addition, there appear to be even greater
opportunities for expanding horticultural produc-
tion in most areas. Many small farm operations
are restricted by small or limited acreage;
therefore, they have little opportunity for a
forage/livestock enterprise. Further, to afford
and be able to acquire land (or more land) to
become farmers, high value crops are necessary.
The respondents indicated that retail vegetable
operations are the most profitable small farms
enterprise. One respondent indicated that
"horticulture requires less work, less cost to
establish and maintain, and requires only a few
months work during the year. Conversely, people
engaged in livestock are oftentimes tied down 24
hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per
year. New people engaging in their first live-
stock enterprises quickly lose their enthusiasm,
sometimes after only one or two years, and quickly
get out of the livestock industry."


It is paramount that the very limited amount of
funds allocated for small farms research be
targeted to commodities that will benefit a
maximum of NER small farm families. This task is

not easy because small farms produce such a wide
variety of commodities. To better understand the
problem, lists of important commodities relative
to the major enterprises, horticulture and forage/
livestock were supplied to the respondents. For
the years 1981, 1984, and 1990, respondents were
asked to rate the commodities in each enterprise
in order of importance to small farms in their
particular county (Table 1).

Theoretically, those commodities that received the
highest ratings should receive allocations of
research dollars, as the research would have the
most impact to benefit NER small family farms.

The commodities listed under each enterprise were
rated by actual times reported by the respondents
for each of the specified years. The weighted
value was obtained by totaling the reported
numerical values (1st = 9, 2nd = 8, and 3rd = 7,
etc.) of commodities for each enterprise. Average
weighted value of the commodity to the enterprise
was ascertained by dividing the weighted value by
the number of times the commodity was rated. The
average weighted values may tend to be biased
upward because not all respondents provided a
complete breakdown into specific ratings.


The weighted average values of the various
horticultural commodities were varied but were
relatively close, particularly when compared in
the three specified years. However, some horti-
cultural commodities can be distinguished as more
important to small farms than others. The most
important horticultural commodity was strawberries,
with an average weighted value 6.91 in 1981, 6.91
in 1984, and 6.84 in 1990. In 1981, sweet corn,
with an average weighted value of 6.25, was the
most important vegetable of small farms; in 1990
the value was almost identical, 6.27. Tomatoes
were the second most important small farms
vegetable. Apples were the most important tree
fruit crop in 1981, 6.07, and in 1990, 5.97. The
average weighted value of peaches in 1981 was
3.84; 1984, 4.64; and in 1990, 5.0. While the
importance of this tree fruit is gaining, the
actual numbers of counties producing the commodity
are only about half the number compared to the
number of counties producing apples or
strawberries. In order of importance, the data
indicate research dollars should be targeted
relative to vegetables in the following order:
sweet corn, tomatoes, and cole crops. For tree
fruit and berries, emphasis should be on apples,
strawberries, and blueberries. Also, there is
small farm interest in production of greenhouse
plants and ornamental nursery operations and in
the future, more research should be targeted to
these commodities.

Typical respondents' comments about horticultural
commodities were as follows:

"Vegetable crop production will grow at a
tremendous rate in the coming years."

"As food production costs rise, more emphasis
should be put on horticultural crops that can
produce more per acre of high nutritional value."

"There is a growing interest in small fruit,
particularly strawberries and vineyards. I see
this trend continuing in the future years, also,
all other small fruits should be very strong as
small farm crops in future years."

"Due to their growing season and the NER
climatic conditions, small fruits, apples, sweet
corn, and perhaps cole crops are the most

"A keen interest in good marketing opportuni-
ties for small fruit production will greatly
change this area from vegetables to a
concentration of fruit and berry production."

"Vegetables and small fruits have the best
opportunity for retail sales and require less
land investment."

"Production techniques for greenhouse plants is
of the highest priority, plus development of
early-late and long season vegetable varieties
to help extend the production time for NER

Forage and Livestock

The average weighted values of the forage/
livestock commodities were relatively close;
however, declines of 0.1 percent or more of the
average weight between 1981 and 1990 were noted
for 4 commodities: dairy cattle, poultry, silage,
and swine. Conversely, increases of more than 0.1
percent in the average weight rank were noted for
goats and the category "other" commodities.
Rabbits were the predominant commodity in the
category "other".

For 1981, the average weighted value of 6.69 for
dairy cattle was the highest rate of all forage/
livestock commodities; however, the actual
reported value, 48, was exceeded by 4 commodities;
beef, cow/calves 58, average weighted value 6.09;
sheep 57, average weighted value 6.00; pasture 57,
average weighted value 5.37; and hay 56, average
weighted 6.16. Of the three commodities relative
to forage enterprises, hay was identified as the
most important for NER small farms and for live-
stock enterprises, beef cows/calves and sheep.

Typical respondents' comments about forage/
livestock commodities were as follows:

"As these new small farm operators find out
there is work connected with food production,
they lose interest very rapidly and therefore
the decreasing livestock and increasing
vegetables, hay and pasture. Also, grain prices
are $250/ton, up from $150/ton in the past few

"No future--have to buy all the feed and can't
compete with feed-growing areas."

Table l.--Ratings by respondents of horticultural and livestock commodities for 3 years to
establish priorities for NER small farms limited research dollars

1981 1984 ; 1990

Commodity Number Weighted Average Number Weighted Average Number Weighted Average
of value weighted of value weighted of value weighted
ratings value ratings value ratings value


Apples-------------- 42 255 6.07 39 236 6.05 38 227 5.97
Blueberries--------- 33 173 5.24 34 187 5.50 33 177 5.38
Cole crops--------- 27 129 4.78 24 125 5.21 24 129 5.38
Cranberries--------- 5 5 1.00 3 5 1.67 3 8 2.67
Green beans--------- 27 112 4.15 23 97 4.22 19 76 4.00
Greenhouse plants--- 40 169 4.23 36 154 4.28 34 155 4.56
Ornamentals/nursery- 43 182 4.23 39 166 4.26 38 151 3.97
Peaches------------ 25 96 3.84 22 102 4.64 22 110 5.00
Raspberries--------- 44 190 4.31 39 176 4.51 38 171 4.50
Root crops---------- 33 147 4.45 26 121 4.65 27 121 4.48
Squash-------------- 22 78 3.55 18 57 3.17 16 46 2.38
Strawberries-------- 54 373 6.91 53 366 6.91 50 342 6.34
Sweet corn--------- 57 356 6.25 53 326 6.15 48 301 6.27
Tomatoes------------ 48 250 5.21 41 220 5.37 38 213 5.60
Vine Crops---------- 36 163 4.53 32 158 4.94 31 146 4.71
Otherl/------------- 12 71 5.92 11 85 7.73 11 85 7.73

Forage and

Beef cows and calves 58 353 6.09 55 329 5.98 53 322 6.08
Dairy cattle-------- 48 321 6.69 47 311 6.62 44 288 6.55
Feeder calves------- 43 219 5.09 41 203 4.95 39 195 5.00
Goats-------------- 35 164 4.69 36 171 4.75 35 177 5.06
Hay---------------- 36 345 6.16 56 352 6.29 52 315 6.06
Pasture------------ 57 306 5.37 53 292 5.51 51 276 5.41
Poultry------------- 44 196 4.45 43 184 4.28 39 167 4.28
Sheep--------------- 57 342 6.00 55 337 6.13 57 345 6.05
Silage-------------- 38 185 4.87 35 124 4.97 36 170 4.72
Swine--------------- 46 248 5.39 44 229 5.20 41 213 5.20
Other2/------------- 18 106 5.89 18 110 6.11 18 118 6.56

1/ Includes grapes, maple sirup, and tobacco.
f/ Includes bees, cash grains, horses, and

"Research on alternative feed rations. using
grains that can be grown in our area would be
helpful. Again identification and development
of markets in the area would also be of great
assistance--especially for the swine industry."

"Smaller types of livestock appear to be the
future trend, also, high cost of grain may
lead to local grain production."

"More emphasis will be put on the animals that
need little space to grow them and have a good
feed conversion rate."

"Rabbits could develop as a major source of
meat. Research on rabbits, sheep and veal
seem important. Those are short term
enterprises with limited over-head. Management
and marketing research are needed."

"Rabbits and hogs are #1--very efficient
producer of food; goats #2--producers of milk
and meat on small acreages; sheep #3
-- already receiving plenty of research
dollars and attention--but, it's worthwhile
and much needed."


In the first study, respondents were requested to
list immediate research that might enhance small
farms in their respective county. Their sugges-
tions were categorized into 8 areas of research.
Immediate research efforts to enhance NER small
farms were identified as production, management,
and marketing. Small farms with established
commodity mixes and limited resources of land,
capital, and labor needed appropriate research to
enable increases in production. In addition, some
small farm managers were sometimes identified as
inadequate managers and consequently experience
difficulty in adjusting to necessary new marketing

The respondents were also requested to describe
new technology that would enhance the small farms
in their particular county in 1984. The
suggestions received were again subjectively
evaluated and categorized into the identified 8
areas of research. In order of importance,
equipment, energy, production, marketing, and
management were identified as the key areas of
technology need.

For this study, the 8 areas of research were
listed in alphabetical order and the respond-
ents were requested to update the original
assessments of the immediate and future research
priorities for 3 years. Specifically, respondents
were requested to rate the 8 research areas in
order of importance (1 = high, etc.) to small
farms in their county of responsibility (Table 2).

The ratings for each research area were weighted
and the average weighted value for each research
area identified for each of the three specified
years. For 1981, marketing and management were
each identified 66 times by the respondents, and
the average weighted value of 6.02 for marketing
was the highest of all the research areas; manage-
ment, economics, and production followed in rank
order of importance. For the year 1984, manage-
ment, with an average weighted value of 6.02,
ranked highest, followed by marketing, 5.92,
economics 5.29, and energy 5.25. The respondents'
ratings of important research areas for 1990
indicated management and marketing considerations
will remain small farm operators' greatest need.

Contrary to the findings in the earlier study that
identified equipment and energy research as high
priority technology for 1984, the present survey
failed to identify these research areas as high
priority for future technology. An explanation of
this occurrence was unavailable from comments
obtained from the respondents. However, it has
been noted and I have observed in various trade
magazines information that indicates that during
the past years availability of small-scale
domestic and foreign tractors and accessory
equipment has increased. Further, the unavaila-
bility of fuels encountered by small family farms
in rural areas just two years ago has now
disappeared. Perhaps these latter occurrences
have dispensed from the respondents' minds the
need at this time for future research in these

areas. I'm not sure this will be the case next
year or even tomorrow in these times of world

Perhaps the comments of two ES county agents best
summarize the immediate and future research
priorities to assist small-scale agriculture--
"good management is always the key to a successful
farm operation and marketing procedures for small
farms needs a lot of research," and "marketing is
the key element today and will be in the future.
Small farmers used to be able to market effec-
tively, but at present, this is not easily done.
For years marketing research has been much needed
but unfortunately it has been ignored for some


Sixty-six of the 67 ES county agents estimated the
percentage change (increase or decrease) in NER
small farms in their county from 1981 to 1984 and
65 further estimated the percentage change by
1990. For 1984, 3 respondents indicated no change
and 1 did not answer the question. Two did not
respond for the year 1990 and 4 indicated there
would be no change. For 1984, 53 respondents
expected the numbers of small farms to increase
and 10 to decrease. For 1990, 51 of 59 respond-
ents thought NER small farms would further
increase and again, 10 respondents expected the
number of small farms to decrease. The ratio of
5:1 respondents anticipating an increase in both
of the specified years is far greater than the 2:1
ratio indicated by respondents participating in
the first study.

The earlier study estimated that 2 of 3 NER small
farms would increase about 17 percent and 1 of 3
would decrease about 14 percent by 1984. The
current data indicate that by 1984, 5 of every 6
NER counties can expect an 8-10 percent increase
in the number of small farms in both 1984 and 1990
and conversely, 1 of 6 can expect a 5 percent
decline by 1984 and a further decline of 8 percent
by 1990. The declines will occur in counties
located in remote areas and away from the
metropolitan areas where gains will most likely
occur (Table 3).

Typical respondents' comments relative to an
expected increase in the number of NER small farms
in the future were the following:

1984(+10%) "County location adjacent to metro
area makes it attractive for people
with full-time employment to own
small farms and commute to a regular
job. Population growth in county
very rapid. Specialty crop farming
well adapted to part-time operation."


"Growing interest by small operators
in fruit and vegetable production for
pick-your-own operations, farmers'
markets, and roadside sale. Retired
people growing in numbers and looking
for income source to supplement
retirement income."

1984(+10%) "The amount of people interested in
part-time farming has increased
substantially in the last year. I
believe there will be more of an
increase due to higher costs of
transportation and taxes on the
land. The input 70% of their food
is resulting in people becoming more

1990(+10%) "As food becomes more important cost-
wise, there will be less imported
into this state. Much land is not
being used, but with higher costs,
land is no longer sitting idle --
more people want to produce their own
food and sell their excess amounts."

1984(+10%) "This area is close to metropolitan
area and major highways. People can
move out in the suburbs very nicely
and commute to the city. Taxes -- if
you farm--are lower. Therefore, we
have many, many small farms."

1990(+15%) "Same as above--large farms are
going out -- subdividing into
mini-farms estates. High meat and
vegetable costs are encouraging
people to raise their own and to sell

1984(+10%) "Division of larger farms and shift to
horticultural activities instead of
large animal agriculture."



"Further subdivision of larger farms."

"We are currently in a growth situation
with this form of agriculture. Our
increases have been a steady 10% in
the last 3-4 years."

1990(+25%) "Food prices will be high and there
will be a limited amount shipped to
this state from the large growing
areas of California and Florida.
People will be forced to grow and
market locally."

1984(+05%) "Will be an increased number of
people having to find work in
industry and other off farm work
because farms too small to supply
needed income. Some large holdings
to be divided into small farms for
such people."

1990(+10%) "Similar to above. Many people
expected to want small farms to
produce part of food and hold
expenses while working off the farm."

Typical respondents' comments relative to an
expected decrease in the number of NER small farms
in the future were the following:

1984(-10%) "High interest rates, cost of
production, and decrease anticipated
in dairy price supports are not
conducive to making a living on a
small farm. I think they will
eventually be absorbed by larger
operations who have economies of

1990(-25%) "It is thought the trend will continue
on through the 90's as the 80's
appear to be, unless action is taken
to halt it."

1984(-5%) "We are a grazing area primarily for
sheep and beef cattle. There is
little opportunity for the small
farmer to turn a profit on this sort
of operation. Unless there are
unforeseen changes in the economic
picture the decreases could be even
greater than I have estimated. There
are a few people who believe there
will be no livestock industry in this
country by the turn of the century.
If this is indeed the way things are
going to happen, then there will be
no small family farms either."



"No comment."

"When farm land is sold in this county
it usually goes for non-farming
purposes. Therefore, I see no other
feasibility than a reduction of farm

1984(-25%) "Same."

1984(-10%) "Costs of farm inputs too high. Many
will rent farm to neighbor."



"Same as above."

"For both '84 and '90 I believe at
least two major factors will cause a
decrease in small family farms as
defined. First, with the ever
decreasing average age of our farmers
increasing, numbers will retire or be
deceased and these lands will not be
farmed by their children in great
numbers. These farms will either be
rented by others for farming, sold in
many cases to non-residents for
investment or utilized by U.S. Forest
Service and go out of production.
Second, if very low profitability
continues,current farmers will be
forced to seek larger portions of
income from non-farm sources and
probably reduce farming operations."

Table 2.--Ratings by respondents of

research areas for 3 years to establish priorities for NER small
farms limited research funds

1981 1984 1990

Research areas Number Weighted Average Number Weighted Average Number Weighted Average
of value weighted of value weighted of value weighted
ratings value ratings value ratings value

Disease and pest
control 64 296 4.63 59 271 4.59 56 248 4.43
Economics 61 326 5.34 58 307 5.29 56 297 5.30
Energy 61 274 4.49 59 310 5.25 57 302 5.30
Equipment 63 202 3.21 59 186 3.15 57 180 3.16
Management 66 386 5.85 63 379 6.02 60 356 5.93
Marketing 66 397 6.02 63 373 5.92 61 355 5.82
Production 62 326 5.26 58 287 4.95 55 279 5.07
Quality and
preservation 51 110 2.16 47 105 2.23 46 104 2.26

Table 3.--Frequency distribution of respondents observations for 2 years to estimate the expected
percentage change in NER small farms

Range 1/ 1984 1990

From To Frequency Percentage Cumulative Frequency Percentage Cumulative
number frequency percentage number frequency percentage

NC NC 3 4.5 4.5 4 6.2 6.2
+01 +05 23 34.8 39.3 16 24.6 30.8
+06 +10 23 34.8 74.2 15 23.1 53.9
+11 +20 7 10.6 84.8 17 26.1 80.0
+21 +25 -- -- ---- 3 4.6 84.6
-01 -05 5 7.6 92.4 ---- --
-06 -10 4 6.1 98.5 6 9.2 93.8
-11 -20 1 1.5 100.0 1 1.5 95.3
-21 -25 -- --- -- 2 3.1 98.4
-26 -40 -- -- ---- 1 1.5 99.9

Total 66 ---- ---- 65 --

1/ NC = No change

1990(-10%) "Same as above."

1984(-10%) "Increased costs--inflation, fuel
and energy, labor, and net return
decreases as market prices or
products does not keep up with
increase in production costs."

1990(-10%) "More of the above anticipated."


Now and in the future, small family farm
operations and family members will be confronted
with issues that will affect the business and
their lives. Lists are perhaps endless; however,
to obtain some feeling of the magnitude and
significance, a list of critical issues was
established. The issues were the following:
employment opportunities, fuel costs, interest
rates, land price, Federal regulations, and State
regulations. Respondents were requested to rate
the critical issues, each in order of impact on

the lives of family members and the success of the
small family farms in their county. Respondents
were requested to score each issue by 1 of 4 varia-
bles. They were as follows: 1, very critical; 2,
critical; 3, less critical; and 4, not critical.

Figure 1. Critical issues affecting NER Small Far

Federal regulations and State regulations were
scored by the respondents as the least impacting
on family members and small farm operations of all
the identified issues. Small farm operations,
however, will be more impacted by Federal and
State regulations than the family members.
Respondents offered several comments relative to
Federal and State regulations as issues. "Farm
land in estates must be passed on to sons and
daughters involved in the farming operation
without paying excessive taxes; present laws now
are obsolete with rapid inflation." Another
respondent indicated, "Most regulations are
useless and unproductive, including pesticide
regulations and enforcement harassment. Seems
most government agencies (Federal and State) are
anti-agriculture--EPA, OEO, Labor Department,
Immigration, IRS, Water regulations, etc."
Another said, "Federal and State regulations are
more critical to large farming operations than
they are to small family farms." One particular
comment perhaps best identifies an underlying
tone,--"probably all the issues will increase,
becoming critical, unless we have less
regulations--both State and Federal."

Fifty-five respondents gave 2,031 aggregate scores
relative to the identified issues. The arithmetic
mean was computed for each issue relative to
family members and small farm operations for the 3
years -f observation (Figure 1).

m Operations and Family Members

Fuel costs in 1981 were identified by the
respondents as slightly more than critical and
becoming more critical in 1984 for both family
members and the small farm operations. Fuel costs
for family members will intensify throughout the
80's. Although fuel costs are critical for the
small farm operation respondents indicated that
fuel costs as a critical issue would decrease
after 1984. One respondent summarized the
situation as, "I believe our people can learn how
to beat high fuel and interest costs." Another
said "in many cases these high costs will keep
them from becoming overextended as so many of our
small farm operators are now doing."

At present, interest rates are apparently more
impacting on small farming operations than on the
family members, but in the future, the reverse
will occur. Interest rates will be more critical
to family members than to the farming operation.
Ratings of the respondents indicate that high
interest rates now make entry into agriculture
nearly impossible for young farmers, but the
situation may ease or not be as critical in 1990.
Other respondents commented that the cost of
borrowing money and the lack of ready or available

--- -* Small Farm Operations
S-----* Family Members

Employment Federal State
Critical Issues.... Opportunities Regulations Fuel Costs Interest Rates Land Price Regulations

Not Critical 4

Less Critical -- 3

Critical 2 .

Very Critical- 1

Years..... 1981 1984 1990 1981 1984 1960 1981 1984 1990 1981 1984 1990 1981 1984 1990 1981 1984 1990

markets are the key factors as to whether or not county. "In 1955 the cost was $8,000; in 1965,
small farm operations can survive. Similar to the $18,000; in 1975, $50,000; and in 1981, the farm
earlier comment one respondent said, "high interest was $100,000." For 1984 and 1990 he just indi-
rates as well as high fuel costs perhaps keep all cated a question mark. Perhaps this best
energetic farm families from overextending them- describes the impact and importance of land
selves as many small operators have done in the prices on small family farm operations and to
past." family members now and in the future.

Employment opportunities in 1981 were considered
as more critical for family members than for the
farming operations. For 1981, there was a wide
gap between farm and family employment, and the
gap is expected to continue through 1984 and into
1990. While employment opportunities for family
members are expected to continue to remain
critical and at a relatively constant level in the
years 1984 and 1990 as compared to 1981, farm
employment is expected to become more critical and
even more severe in 1990. One respondent
indicated that his county is changing from an area
of losing population to one registering moderate
gains. Population increases thus will be expected
to put additional pressures on employment
opportunities and the county's farmland prices.
Also, some respondents indicated that off-the-farm
work opportunities should improve in the late 80's
and that increasing minimum wages are eliminating
sources of farm labor in many areas of the
northeast. Another respondent reported that in
his county, nearly 50 percent of the labor force
commutes out of the county to work. The latter
indicates that jobs and job opportunities within
many of the counties of the northeast are
oftentimes scarce for rural residents.

Rising land prices were identified as the most
critical issue facing farm families and small farm
operators at present and in the future. By 1984,
the issue of land costs will be nearing the very
critical range for small farm operators in the
NER. At present, farmland availability in some
parts of the NER is almost non-existent for small
family farm operators. Perhaps some relief is in
sight as some respondents expect farmland prices
to settle with the legislation of farm development
rights being established in some states. By this
occurrence the available land will then become
limited and farm employment opportunities will
become critical. Some areas of the Northeast,
especially recreation areas are experiencing
increases in population. The increase in
population will not only put additional pressure
on employment opportunities for rural residents,
but also drive available land prices upward.
Increasing land prices unquestionably will make
land expansion difficult for small farms in the
future. One respondent considered "foreign trade
restrictions on agriculture exports as the
negative factor in keeping farm prices down and
hurting small farms the most." Another said,
"most tax advantages given to farmers have drawn
nonagriculture investors into agriculture, raising
the price of land and creating more absentee
landlords. "Another respondent gave specific
examples of land values soaring in the past and
implied that in the future we may continue to see
land prices rise. Cited as an example were the
escalating costs of a 20-acre orchard in his


Sylvan H. Wittwer 1/ Small-scale horticultural enterprises are a com-
ponent--perhaps the most important one--of small
farms in the United States. All are labor
intensive and characterized by high returns per
unit land area. Issues of labor management and
mechanization are paramount. There are strong
international implications relative to the
transitions in, and a research agenda for small-
scale horticultural enterprises in the United
States. The developing world, too, is affected,
because it is a world of smallness.

Transitions relate to both production and market-
ing. They include the rise of roadside and on-
farm markets, pick-your-own operations, increased
sales outlets in city and small town markets, and
other forms of direct buying and selling of horti-
cultural commodities. New industries in the
bedding plant and nursery business have developed
and old ones revived, with a focus for success on
specialized commodities, which are not attractive
to large-scale growers but do have a program for
direct consumer marketing.

The research agenda for small-scale horticultural
enterprises must address the basic biological
processes that control and limit not only total
crop productivity but the dependability of pro-
ductivity. Significant new biological developments
in genetic engineering are occurring along with
transitions in seed companies which will have im-
pacts on the production of all horticultural crops.
Meanwhile, there are applied problems relating to
production and marketing systems, equipment, pest
control, site assessment, financing, variety deve-
lopment, cultural practices, diversifications,
sales, and concerns about regulations and farm
labor that must be addressed.

Keywords: Cultural practices, direct consumer mar-
keting, economics, equipment, financing, farm
labor, Great Lakes, horticulture, The Northeast,
production and marketing, pest control, small
farms, small-scale horticulture, technological
innovations, variety development.

I/ Director of Agricultural Experiment Station,
Assistant Dean of the College of Agriculture and
Natural Resources and Professor of Horticulture,
Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan



Sylvan H. Wittwer 1/ Small-scale horticultural enterprises are a com-
ponent--perhaps the most important one--of small
farms in the United States. All are labor
intensive and characterized by high returns per
unit land area. Issues of labor management and
mechanization are paramount. There are strong
international implications relative to the
transitions in, and a research agenda for small-
scale horticultural enterprises in the United
States. The developing world, too, is affected,
because it is a world of smallness.

Transitions relate to both production and market-
ing. They include the rise of roadside and on-
farm markets, pick-your-own operations, increased
sales outlets in city and small town markets, and
other forms of direct buying and selling of horti-
cultural commodities. New industries in the
bedding plant and nursery business have developed
and old ones revived, with a focus for success on
specialized commodities, which are not attractive
to large-scale growers but do have a program for
direct consumer marketing.

The research agenda for small-scale horticultural
enterprises must address the basic biological
processes that control and limit not only total
crop productivity but the dependability of pro-
ductivity. Significant new biological developments
in genetic engineering are occurring along with
transitions in seed companies which will have im-
pacts on the production of all horticultural crops.
Meanwhile, there are applied problems relating to
production and marketing systems, equipment, pest
control, site assessment, financing, variety deve-
lopment, cultural practices, diversifications,
sales, and concerns about regulations and farm
labor that must be addressed.

Keywords: Cultural practices, direct consumer mar-
keting, economics, equipment, financing, farm
labor, Great Lakes, horticulture, The Northeast,
production and marketing, pest control, small
farms, small-scale horticulture, technological
innovations, variety development.

I/ Director of Agricultural Experiment Station,
Assistant Dean of the College of Agriculture and
Natural Resources and Professor of Horticulture,
Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan



A symposium such as this, which focuses on
research for small farms, calls for special con-
sideration of the transitions in small-scale
horticultural enterprises. No farm type is more
dominated by small-scale enterprises and diversi-
ties. Small-scale horticultural enterprises
predominate among the small family farms in the
United States. This is especially true in the
Great Lakes and Northeast. In fact, vegetable
production is the major small farm enterprise in
8 of the 12 states in the Northeast region (9).
In no segment of American agriculture are the
transitions more striking and the future more
challenging than in such small-scale horticul-
tural enterprises.

A small-scale horticultural enterprise has been
defined for the purpose of this paper as one

a) has an annual income of at least $1,000 and
an upper limit of $40,000 to $50,000;
b) may vary in size from less than an acre to as
much as 40 to 50 acres;
c) is family-owned and operated;
d) deals with high value, specialized crops;
e) is generally labor- and resource-intensive;
f) has a high cropping index.

Farms of this type will be covered in this paper.
The segment of small-scale horticultural enter-
prises, however, that falls into the category of
home gardens will not be handled, even though
remarkable transitions are occurring. A Gallup
Poll in 1979 showed that 42 percent of all
households in the United States--33 million
families--now raise vegetables. An estimated two
million people gardened on community plots in
1978; and an additional six million said they
would do it if they had access to land (24).
Some innovative production methods (13) have been
introduced for gardens, particularly for vege-
tables to increase productivity. All are labor
intensive. Many European cities are now ringed
by garden plots rented by city dwellers who
bicycle to them during the long summer evenings
and or weekends. In the USSR, there are as many
as 50 million private plots on which an esti-
mated 40 percent of all the potatoes--the most
important food crop in the Soviet Union--are
grown. The remarkable output of private
garden plots in the People s Republic of China is
having important impacts on the nation's economic
policy where the percentage of land available in
the People's Communes has recently been increased
from 5 to 15 percent.

In addition to the definitive characteristics of
small-scale horticultural enterprises listed
above, most of these farms share certain other
attributes, including the following qualities.

1. All are shaped by and depend on human labor.
2. They tend to yield high returns per unit land
3. High technology inputs common to these

enterprises result in high quality products
which remain fresh throughout shipping to
4. Many--at least 60 percent--are operated by
part-time farmers who have supplementary
income from other sources.
5. Most have problems with equipment that is
either outmoded, already used, inefficient in
its use and conversion of energy, not fully
adapted to small-scale farming or too
expensive to be purchased, and not available
when most needed.
6. Many farmers with small-scale enterprises
find themselves caught in the controversy
between mechanization and human labor; they
epitomize the sociological issues that relate
to growers and farm labor relations. One of
the greatest deterrents to young people
returning to or remaining on the farm after
completing higher education relates to labor
management and mechanization. In addition,
there are accompanying unresolved migrant
issues, such as housing and other economic,
social, and political questions. Research
that delves into the sociological problems of
small-scale horticultural enterprises--their
owners, operators, and laborers--is needed,
along with studies of biological, physical,
and economic issues.

The transitions in and research agenda for small-
scale horticultural enterprises in the United
States contain strong international implications.
Fruits and vegetables contribute significantly to
the food and nutrition of people in both agricul-
turally developing and industrialized nations.
Their exact values, however, are not easily
assessed, because, unlike grain, they are not
typically items of international trade. In large
part, they are locally produced, marketed, and

Yet there can be no question that the small farm
is an economically viable unit. The world is
full of such farms. The developing world, in
particular, is a world of smallness (5, 18, 32)
characterized by numerous small farms--tiny by
comparison to large operations in America but
similar in many ways to small-scale horticultural
operations in the United States. These farms,
while small in land and capital, require rela-
tively large labor forces. Even in the United
States, the majority of farms falls into the
category of small-scale operations, and the
current trend is toward even more small and part-
time units. Moreover, the outputs per unit and
capital inputs can be higher. Such labor-inten-
sive operations may signal employment opportuni-
ties that previously have not been noticed,
recognized, or taken advantage of.

Many new and foreseeable technological innova-
tions to be discussed at this symposium are
likely to find their place in the small-scale
enterprise rather than on large farms. All
nations--whether the United States, other indus-
trialized nations, or the developing world--must
direct serious attention toward production tech-
nologies that are scale neutral, nonpolluting,

and environmentally benign, which will add to the
resources of the earth, result in stable produc-
tion at high levels, maximize output, optimize
employment, and minimize resource inputs. Hope-
fully, this paper and other symposium contribu-
tions can fulfill some of these objectives.

The challenge of this symposium is to design a
research agenda that will promote the produc-
tivity of small farms. At stake are the future
welfare and economic viability of the many small
farms throughout the United States, other indus-
trialized nations, and the developing world.

Finally, each new technology, if it is adopted or
useful to the developing agricultural world, must
improve the economic condition of small farmers.
Any research agenda for small-scale horticultural
operations places a great responsibility on
extension specialists to contact the many farmers
who will be needed to put all new technology in


Remarkable transitions (changes) have occurred
during the past decade in horticultural enter-
prises--more so than in any other agricultural
systems. They relate to increased numbers and
diversification, the rise of new industries,
changes in labor management and market outlets,
resource inputs, and an increase in the use of

The transitions that have occurred in small-scale
horticultural enterprises could be classified
into several categories: types of operations,
marketing systems, production systems, and
constraints on equipment and managing systems.

Likewise, issues that relate specifically to
these kinds of operations include:

a) mechanization, labor, and attendant socio-
logical problems,
b) the role and recognition of women,
c) toxic substances in the environment,
d) availability of resources, and
e) frequent high costs of local production as
weighed against production and increasing
transportation costs for produce from distant

Many transitions in both production and marketing
have occurred in small-scale horticultural enter-
prises during the past decade. They include the
rise of roadside and on-farm markets, as well as
pick-your-own or U-Pick operations. Renewed
consumer interest in fresh produce has helped
support the remarkable increase in the number,
size and variety of city markets, people's
produce markets, cooperative markets, and custom

Further, there has been an increased interest by
consumers and farmers during the past decade in
direct buying and selling of farm products,
particularly horticultural commodities. The

passage of the Farmer-to-Consumer Direct Market-
ing Act of 1976 (P.L. 94-463) has facilitated the
transition as has the elimination of the sales
tax on food in many states. There is also a new
recognition of quality by the consumer. The rise
of activity in home gardening has contributed to
that recognition. Per capital consumption of
fresh fruits and vegetables in the United States
is up from 1970. This is especially true for
broccoli, lettuce, peppers, spinach and non-
citrus fruits (27).

The results of a recent study (6) revealed about
15 percent (64,000) of the farmers in Indiana,
Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, and
Pennsylvania sold about $260 million worth of
farm products directly to consumers in 1978.
Those direct sales represented 2 percent of the
total farm income in the 6 states. The commodi-
ties that led in sales were all horticultural--
floral and nursery products, apples, berries,
peaches, sweet corn, tomatoes, and melons.
Direct sales from the farm was most common
followed by roadside stands. Other outlets were
pick-your-own, farmers' markets, and roadside
market operations, and house-to-house delivery.
The pick-your-own and roadside market operations
are now so numerous in Michigan with its more
than 50 agricultural products--mostly horti-
cultural--that a new directory is issued each
year (12).

There are many market opportunities for small-
scale fruit and vegetable growers. These were
reviewed in a major symposium sponsored by the
National Fertilizer and Development Center. Many
direct market opportunities were highlighted in
considerable detail including roadside markets,
farmers' markets, pick-your-own marketing, pool-
ing, and direct wholesale marketing (15).

There has also been a significant rise of new
industries including ones like Michigan's bedding
plant industry (fig. 1) which developed from a
base of vegetable plant production for such crops
as celery. These exemplify the transition from
the production of vegetables to bedding plants
and flowers in many of the greenhouse areas.

At the same time, the number of small fruit and
vegetable processors has declined. Seed company
ownership has changed, leaving such enterprises
under the corporate umbrella of large pharmaceu-
tical or chemical companies. While such trans-
fers of ownership and management have advantages,
they also can bring less-than-ideal changes. For
example, seed may be less available to small
horticultural enterprises, and seed companies may
be less able to be flexible in filling orders.

Still other transitions have altered activities
and attitudes among many small-scale horticul-
tural enterprises. The trend of the past was to
expand enterprises indefinitely, to get larger
and larger--the "bigger is better" concept
prevailed. More acres, however, have not
necessarily maximized productivity. Instead,
change has been prompted by limited resources--
not only of land, but of water and other critical


0 10




1950 1960 1970 1980

Figure 1. Growth of the Bedding Plant Industry
in Michigan

resources. More productivity per unit land area
is now the goal for many enterprises. And while
acreage has not increased, output per acre has.
Examples of this productivity are represented by
strawberries without runners, hedgerows for stone
fruit trees, dwarfing rootstocks and spur-type
fruiting for apples, and increased labor-inten-
sive operations such as the pruning of blueber-
ries and raspberries for greater productivity.

In addition, there are many small nurseries which
demonstrate the transition toward more and more
container growing. This has meant a rapid turn-
over that improves cash flow--a problem which has
been a real and harsh constraint in the nursery
business. Improved cash flow reduces risk and
is, therefore, desirable. The container produc-
tion to realize this better cash flow, however,
depends on irrigation with a readily available
supply of high quality water.

Special reference is made to organic farms. They
tend to be, but are not always, small-scale
enterprises (see [26] for a definition). There
are many diversified small-scale enterprises
among them. The number of organic farmers in the
United States is not known nor are transitions
peculiar to them. It is believed by some that
the increasing costs of chemical fertilizers, the
constraints with the use of pesticides, and
pollution hazards of natural waters with

agricultural chemicals may be resulting in some
shift toward less chemical-intensive farming
systems (17, 26). The argument is that in the
long term this would insure more stable, sustain-
able and profitable agricultural systems (10).
It is not likely, however, that such a shift will
occur with small-scale horticultural enterprises.
Here enhancement of productivity per unit land
area is a major objective. To do this will
likely require more chemicals rather than
fewer (2).

Special sociological, technological, and labor
transitions are characteristic of many contempo-
rary horticultural production units. Most are
managed and owned by part-time farmers. Factory
workers, seeking to supplement their incomes with
crop production, work evenings and weekends.
Producers may start with two or three acres and
later expand to five and then ten or more. Many
high school students and senior citizens respond
to summer work opportunities provided by such
enterprises. Yet vacations may be planned for
the labor-intensive planting and harvest periods
and may coincide with single-crop fruit and
vegetable harvests lasting only two to four

Even so, small-scale horticultural enterprises
have unique connections to and impact on suc-
cesses in rural development. They provide work
opportunities for the children as well as adults,
including senior citizens and those who are
unemployed or retire early. These job opportuni-
ties, in turn, offer additional income and the
satisfaction of work to those who might not
otherwise have them. Small-scale horticultural
enterprises can give training to not only the
children of a family but also to their friends.
A unique employment and educational arena also is
created; it brings the perspective of "hands-on"
or field experience to the biology classes of
primary and secondary school education. Economic
training is provided to rural youth, in general.
The size of each individual operation permits
training of youth for future managerial

One noticeable trend that may be associated with
growing work and economic opportunities for rural
youth is the increasing number of young people
now moving into small-scale horticultural enter-
prises. The work involved is being viewed as a
legitimate and honorable--even desirable--way to
make a living.

In addition, this trend signals a good climate
for the acceptance of new and progressive
advances in research and technology, for it is
frequently easier to teach the novice in a small-
scale horticultural enterprise than a large-scale
grower. Novices--themselves new-may be more
attentive and responsive to innovations. The
established grower, by contrast, might be reluc-
tant to change, because success has already come
from present or "conventional" technology.
Beginners, who need not discard previous notions,
may be more receptive to novel methods and ideas.


Corporate agriculture in the United States has
not been successful (22). The continued survival
of small-scale horticultural enterprises can aid
the successful establishment of direct consumer
marketing and the production of the numerous
specialized commodities that are not attractive
for production by large-scale growers. Such
specialized commodities include unique house
plants, bedding plants, sweet cherries for fresh
market, cherry tomatoes, peppers, garlic, sweet
corn, apricots, currants, blueberries, raspber-
ries, cranberries, quince, ornamental squash and
gourds, pumpkins, chile peppers, Jerusalem arti-
choke, Indian corn, health food store special-
ties, elderberries, French hybrid grapes with
home wineries, Chinese fruits and vegetables
including the Chinese pears, Chinese radish, and
Chinese cabbage. Unique varieties or labels
often make the operation successful. A good
example is the Howell Honeyrock muskmelon grown
in the vicinity of Howell, Michigan. Often there
is the objective of meeting particular demands of
ethnic communities and other special markets,
such as Black, Chinese, Indian, Italian, Jewish,
Southeastern European, and Mexican. Many profit-
able small-scale fruit enterprises have emerged,
having been multiplied from what once was a
single farm with hundreds of acres and thousands
of trees to several individual farms with hun-
dreds of trees on only a few acres. With apples,
they are closely spaced, all on dwarfing root-
stocks and with spur types of fruiting habits.

There are other unique characteristics, needs or
requirements and trends for small-scale horticul-
tural enterprises. For a pick-your-own opera-
tion, the customers do not have to be local.
They will travel some distance and pay for good
quality and freshness. Small enterprises are a
source of high quality tree or vine ripened
commodities. The greatest needs for all units
are for extension, educational programs or
applied problem-solving research to further adapt
production technology to the small-scale horti-
cultural enterprise. The changes in extension
are often likely to be more extensive than those
required in research. Traditionally, the trend
has been for extension personnel to work with
large farmers. This must be overcome.

In addition, special sales associations and
cooperative selling should also be encouraged.
Several farmers, each of whom, alone, can be only
a small seller, would, if combined, have major
market impacts. Cooperatives of small growers
can sell big and gain greater control over their
financial destiny. Shared time in the use of
equipment also offers many opportunities for
lowering production costs. This is essential,
because doing a good job of production is not
enough to insure survival; there has to be an
adequate cash flow.

Creative use of agricultural by-products can
help. There is great and untapped potential for
the utilization of waste and by-products. Many

small-scale horticultural enterprises are in
proximity to urban areas that can become worth-
while markets.

There is a current shift toward locally grown
commodities for fresh and processed food.
Increasing transportation costs are a much bigger
issue with fresh than processed fruits and
vegetables. Energy for transportation is the
constraint, especially for such major crops as
apples and potatoes that are bulky. Yet these
crops have a broad spectrum on environmental
tolerance; they can be grown almost anywhere in
the United States. Therefore, production is
being brought closer to the consumer and can
provide the stimulus for greater regional
independence. Thus, the supporting infrastruc-
ture for small-scale enterprises is subject to

Small-scale horticultural operations need to be
freed from the hindrance of unnecessary govern-
ment regulations dealing with labor. These
include unemployment compensation, workers'
compensation, sick leaves and other leaves and
absences, migrant housing, and social security
payments. Small labor-intensive horticultural
farms often cannot afford the costs that attend
these regulations, and in frustration, some
owners turn to employing illegal farm workers.

Even with these costs and constraints, small-
scale horticultural enterprises are providing a
partial resolution for a sagging economy. People
can devote more time to such activities with
current layoffs, earlier retirements, and shorter
hours. The decline in numbers of migrant worker
population is coupled with a developing symbiotic
relationship between worker and grower. Migrants
now are working with growers for mutual survival.

The sociological problems relative to migrant
housing are real and have to be addressed. Are
we using the most effective designs and programs?
The social dimensions of limited-resource farming
are complex, especially as they relate to migrant
workers and their housing, health, and educa-
tional dilemmas. These difficulties are recog-
nized in this report, but no agenda is proposed
for their solution. No proposals can be advanced
until adequate sociological research provides the
data base needed to identify, isolate, and
resolve these complex issues.

City and small town markets as sales outlets for
small-scale horticultural enterprises are
increasing in numbers and importance. This is a
marked change from a decade ago. County exten-
sion personnel are bombarded with requests to
develop produce markets in towns with 4,000 to
5,000 people or more. The objective is to
attract business to small towns while providing
local market outlets for small farmers. The num-
bers of direct marketing facilities are increas-
ing (6). The key is a core of loyal producers
who can provide a large variety of commodities,
stability of production, and help in avoiding
conflicts between growers, consumers, and spon-
soring organizations. Profits can be especially

attractive with fresh commodities of high
quality, particularly for pick-your-own
operations (table 1).

Table 1. Prices Paid by Consumers for Fresh
Fruit Pick-Your-Own Operations in
Eastern Michigan 1981

Commodity Price/lb. or Bushel

Strawberries (lb.) 554

Raspberries (lb.) 60-654

Cherries [Tart] (lb.) 70-804

Blueberries (lb.) 754

Peaches (bu.) $13-14

Apples (bu.) $7-8

Grapes (bu.) $7-8

Apple production, as a model for small-scale
horticultural operations, is both a challenge and
opportunity. It provides a series of unique
features. Apples are widely adapted and are
dependable producers on many sites where other
fruit crops would fail because of winter injury
and early spring frosts. There has been more
progress with crop management and fruiting types
than for any other horticultural crop. Dwarfing
rootstocks provide every degree of dwarfness and
early fruiting. Cultivars will ripen over
several weeks and even months in some locations.
There are literally hundreds of strains or
mutations of highly colored, attractive, and
fruitful selections. Over 100 exist for
Delicious alone (4). Spray schedules for insect
and disease control have been made widely
available, and there are opportunities for
integrated pest management in which cultural
practices and natural parasites play important
roles. The key is early production and early
return from a limited acreage.


The growth and survival of small-scale horticul-
tural enterprises are dependent on the cost and
availability of equipment. Important issues
about pest control and toxic substances in the
environment must be resolved. The clearance
of chemicals for minor uses is a continuing
challenge along with the development of adapted
cultivars. The survival of small-scale horticul-
tural enterprises also relies on adequate re-
search into the sociological problems tied to
farm labor.

The United States Department of Agriculture, our
host and sponsor for this Special Symposium on
Research for Small Farms, and the State Agricul-
tural Experiment Stations have been alert to
these issues--perhaps not to the extent, however,
desired by some (1). Yet, evidence for support

of research on small farms is demonstrated not
only in their sponsoring of this conference, but
also in such publications as the 1978 Yearbook of
Agriculture,."Living on a Few Acres" (25) and the
recent "Report and Recommendations in Organic
Farming" (26). To these reports can be added the
paper "Research and the Family Farm" prepared by
the Experiment Station Committee on Organization
and Policy (3), and the recent report of a
symposium sponsored by the American Society of
Agronomy (28). All suggest a genuine commitment
to establish a research and technology agenda for
small-scale agricultural units.

Managers of small-scale horticultural enterprises
generally are seeking and using the latest tech-
nological information. But the great differences
among the people served, the large number of
commodities produced, and the marketing options
available to such enterprises typify the diver-
sity of information needed by an audience with
many and varied concerns. Practically, this
often has meant that only some types of informa-
tion could address all small-scale horticultural
enterprises. Much of the current and applicable
production research can be used by most enter-
prises but little research in mechanization,
marketing, and utilization is applicable across
the board. The overall effect often has been
that much of the agricultural research conducted
thus far has threatened--rather than supported--
the survival of the small-scale operator (3).
Meanwhile, much attention has been directed to
informational and extension needs (21), along
with social, economic, and non-technology
considerations (7, 8). It is obvious that the
special attributes of county extension agents and
agricultural scientists must be combined to pro-
vide for the technological needs of the small-

scale operator (9).


Many technological developments are applicable to
the future success of small-scale horticultural
enterprises. Their adoption must be encouraged.
Included are the use of biodegradable plastic
mulches for small fruits and vegetables; liquid
or gel seeding; plug mix seeding and logistical
problems in its use; conservation tillage;
allelopathic responses of certain plant residues
for mulches and for a partial substitute for
chemical control of weeds; the production of
adaptive and superior F1 hybrid vegetable
cultivars for improved quality, appearance,
earliness, and productivity. New F1 hybrids
encompass carrots, onions, cucumbers, cabbage,
sweet corn, squash, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant
and asparagus. The development of cultivars
that differ in maturity is needed to assure
greater spread of the market season by individual
crops. This holds true of many vegetables,
cherries and apricots, and is essential espe-
cially among disease-resistant cultivars which
are the most effective biologically controlled
methods. There is a continue of progress in
protected cultivation techniques, drip irriga-
tion, and slow release nitrogen fertilizers.

Tissue culture techniques are becoming increas-
ingly important--even essential--for the propaga-
tion of disease-free clones of potatoes and for
the maintenance of inbred lines for hybrid
asparagus. For asparagus this technique avoids
the inbred depression encountered through usual
cultural methods.


This conference was designed to focus primarily
on research needs for small farms including
small-scale horticultural enterprises. The
future research agenda for farms of any size
resides in biological improvement and in the
management of resource inputs (31). Central is
the control of basic biological processes that
limit the productivity of all traditional and
economically important crops, including those
produced on small-scale horticultural enter-

To enhance future productivity and quality in
those crops in both agriculturally developed and
developing nations, biology, and more specifi-
cally, potential genetic improvements, must be
advanced. Biological research thatmight enable
all plants to utilize present environmental
resources more effectively should be emphasized.
Such research would likely focus on the following
specific goals:

1. Greater photosynthetic efficiency.
2. Improved biological nitrogen fixation.
3. Genetic improvements utilizing new cell
fusion techniques and haploid culture.
4. More efficient nutrient and water uptake and
5. Minimization of losses from nitrification and
denitrification of nitrogen fertilizer
applied in crop production.
6. Development of increased resistance to
competing biological systems (weeds, insects,
diseases, parasites, nematodes).
7. Alleviation of climatic and environmental
stresses (unfavorable temperatures, soil
moisture, and mineral stresses in problem
8. Regulation of hormonal systems.

These objectives constitute the next generation
of agricultural and food research (29). Benefits
derived from research focused on any one or all
of the above eight areas would be scale-neutral,
that is appropriate for crops grown on farms of
any size. Developing nations ought to be able to
share the same comparative benefits and advan-
tages as the United States in these research
efforts. These frontiers of discovery are open
to all. Advances made by one nation and shared
by others can multiply the benefits of research
many times (19, 20).

The governing principle should be high levels of
crop production. Along with this, the stability
or dependability of production must parallel the
importance of production increases.

Dependable crop production may be achieved by
expanded irrigation of cultivated crops--both
on dry land and under subhumid conditions--a goal
admirably being achieved by the People's Republic
of China. Quantum increases in future food
production will not come from adding water to
desert land, however. Only the use of
supplemental irrigation in semihumid and humid
regimes combined with the judicious use of
pesticides and an expanded use of naturally
produced and synthetic fertilizers will insure
such dramatic and needed increases in food
production and reserves.

In addition, improved pest control, reduced
postharvest losses, advances in the use of
protected environments for horticultural crops,
and alleviation of climatic and environmental
stresses will help stabilize and enhance the
production of high quality products. Further,
plants should be selected carefully and developed
if they show superior characteristics of mineral
metabolism that make them productive on
nutrient-poor soils and under excesses of toxic
elements and salts.

The effects of climate and weather remain the
most significant determinants in horticultural
crop production and account--more than any other
inputs--for unstable and unreliable production
and quality from year to year and in various
locations in the United States. Improving resis-
tance to climatic stresses through genetic
improvement of crops and better management as
designed and developed by substantial research
studies would stimulate the growth and depend-
ability of production and crop quality. With
such developments, many areas now only marginal
for small-scale horticultural enterprises could
become dependable producing regions (23).

Biology and the potentials for genetic improve-
ment can only help spur stable production and
quality food supplies. We are now in the midst
of the greatest biological revolution of all
time--a renaissance in molecular biology brought
on by the possibilities with recombinant DNA and
the sequencing of genes. Genetic engineering has
emerged during the past decade as a series of
techniques of growing cells isolated in proto-
plast culture, anther culture and haploid produc-
tion, protoplast fusion, and plasmid modification
and transfer. So far the plants used have little
or no food importance. There has been no success
yet with legumes and cereal crops. Most of the
excitement thus far has occurred in pharmacology
with the bacterial synthesis of mammalian and
human proteins (insulin, interferon, growth
hormone), but these accomplishments in human
physiology are providing a catalyst for work with
food crops and food animals. For horticultural
crops, collaborative efforts between plant cell
biologists and plant breeders will have to occur.
Meristem and shoot tip cultures are being used
now for rapid multiplication of large numbers of
genetically identical and uniform cut flower and
potted plants. Meristem culture has also been
employed with the potato for production of
virus-free plants. Similar results have been

achieved in producing disease-free plants of the
African oil palm. Tissue culture techniques now
appear essential for the future introduction of
hybrid asparagus which can provide a remarkable
leap in productivity (11).

Some future applications for genetic engineering
in food crops will be the transfer of nitrogen
fixation from prokaryotic species, bacteria, and
blue-green algae to non-nitrogen fixers; the
development of new hybrid plants; improvement of
protein quality in crops; and the introduction of
insect, disease, and herbicide resistance (16).
Numerous vegetable, flower, and fruit crops
respond to tissue culture techniques and clonal

Many large chemical corporations, seed companies,
and newly formed biotechnology institutes are
recruiting from academic institutions outstanding
scientists with specialties in molecular biology,
tissue culture, genetics, and plant breeding.
The rapid rise of new biotechnolgoy companies has
been referred to as "The Second Green Revolu-
tion." The future success of the new ventures in
genetic engineering of plants will depend on
active collaboration between plant breeders and
molecular biologists. All the linkages that will
be necessary to bridge the current efforts in
molecular biology with those of crop production
have not been identified, but the process has
begun. There has been a literal transformation
of American seed companies during the past three
years in the United States. They no longer
exist, as such, but have become integrated with
or subsidiaries of large pharmaceutical and
chemical companies (table 2).

Table 2. Transformations in
Seed Companies

American Vegetable

Past Affiliation

Associated Seed Growers
(Asgrow) Upjohn

Burpee ITT

Dessert ARCO

Ferry Morse Limagraim

Harris, Moran Celanese

Keystone (Corneli), etc. Agri-genetics

Northrup King, Rogers,
etc. Sandoz

Petoseed, Pieters-Wheeler Ball

Important researchable needs relate to new
cultivar developments. Specific cultivars must be
developed to meet the various seasons of the
year. Important in the north are melon and
tomato cultivars to extend beyond the usual
harvest season which ends with August. The

northern tier of states needs cultivars that will
extend the fall season. This means improved cold
and chilling resistance in such crops as
cucumbers, melons and tomatoes. For the southern
tier of states it means heat resistance in the
summer. For example, there are few fresh market
tomatoes in the United States in June. This
means that there are particular production and
marketing problems in the mid-latitudes in the
east and middle west where there is a very short

One can anticipate, also, greater diversification
in small-scale horticultural enterprises for the
future. Increasing attention must be given to
the potentials for intercropping and crop rota-

Research for the future must also relate to
alternating resource systems--land, water and
energy and mechanization, resistance to and
alleviation of environmental stresses, and
competing biological systems. Pesticide
resistance will need to be scrutinized along with
toxic substances in the environment and toxic

Postharvest and harvest losses must be addressed.
Only a portion of many fresh market crops is
harvested. The use of pregerminated seed for
extending the growing season and shortening the
time to produce a suitable transplant will become
increasingly important. The need for cultivars
evaluation will continue as well as the necessity
of increasing productivity to improve the output
per unit land area or resource input. The
improvement of stand is a continuing challenge as
well as uniformity of stand of direct seeded
crops. This can be done by transplanting, but
further efforts should be pursued with respect to
direct seeding.

Relative to marketing, it is important to point
out that no government subsidy or acreage allot-
ments have ever been levied on horticultural
crops. There have been, however, grower-
initiated federal and state marketing orders that
restrict acreage.

A fundamental area for research will be the
nature of resistance to bacterial diseases such
as fire blight and bacterial wilts. Important
will be economic control measures. There is also
a serious need and significance relative to
pesticide application technology. More efficient
applications of pesticides are necessary. This
relates to the integrated pest management

There are problems of air pollution. Small-scale
horticultural operators are often near large
industrial areas.

There is the issue of site specificities. This
involves land planning and use and water availa-
bility and water use efficiency. There will be
the continuing issue of people versus crops and
when water is wasted, energy is likewise wasted.
The importance of appropriate equipment relative

to the small-scale horticultural enterprise will
be a continuing issue.

There is a need for small-scale controlled
atmosphere storage capabilities. Perhaps small
compartments in larger units would be the answer.

Finally, there is the issue of management for
small farms. This relates more to extension and
research. Much research that is already done is
scale neutral and applicable to small farms. In
fact, most research itself is done on a small
scale. Big farms in general have their own
research programs, their repair shops, their
technical advisors and consultants. It has been
emphasized that size neutral output-increasing
technology has contributed to making the U.S. the
bread basket of the world--earn foreign exchange
to pay for oil, and other imports and provide
United States consumers with ample quantities of
reasonably priced high quality food (30).

Economics of scale has not been given sufficient
attention. The philosophy in the decade of the
1950's and 60's was to address large-scale agri-
cultural enterprises. Small-scale enterprises
can be economically sound, but we need to
identify the ingredients that make them
economically viable.

One phase of economics is related to equipment
size. Machines, in general, have followed a
need--a labor void--created as people left farms
in hopes of finding a better life elsewhere.
This labor deficiency dictated the move to
mechanization and also renewed the emphasis on
large-scale operations.

Current trends in farm size indicate that the
numbers of both small and large enterprises are
increasing while the numbers of intermediate
farms decline. In addition, we are now also on
the frontier of robotics. These trends pose an
issue with respect to farm equipment research.
Rather than having each person operate one large
piece of equipment, an option for the future may
be to have each operate several smaller ones.
This might work around the clock with low power
inputs. Currently small tractors and all support
equipment are being advertised much more than in
the past. Until now, most of our small tractors
and support equipment have been coming from other

Implement dealers in the United States are
lagging behind in supplying the needs of
small-scale horticultural enterprises. We are
now witnessing, in the manufacture of farm
equipment in the United States, a trend that
could parallel the demise of the American
automobile industry. Equipment produced
domestically is too large and energy intensive
for the small-scale horticultural enterprise.
Small-scale horticultural enterprises will have
to look at the possibilities and alternatives for
energy self-sufficiency. Few manufacturers, if
any, are producing tractors of 50 horsepower or
less. Growers with small-scale horticultural
enterprises invariably have to purchase imports

or get by with oversized, energy-intensive, used

The costs of this equipment is also a big issue.
Cost or scale must come down. Manufacturers that
can produce small equipment profitably need to be
identified. It is very likely that high density
orchards will start with small growers and not

Computer technology and telecommunications are
going to play an increasingly important role in
small-scale horticultural enterprises. We have
entered an age of solid state electronics.
Controllers, sensors, and microprocessors are now
available. Likewise, remote sensing of environ-
mental data and the more effective use of climate
information in decision-making will become reali-
ties at the local user level (14). The data from
environmental sensing will be transmitted by

Research management for small-scale horticultural
enterprises poses important questions. Should
each experiment station in every state be
involved in research for all of the various types
of small-scale horticultural units? Does
regional research always have to be formalized?
Cooperation between or among states can occur
informally without the constraints of regional
research project outlines and bureaucratic book

Regional efforts to spread among states the
responsibilities of research development for
small-scale horticultural enterprises are
important. For example, research with fresh
market tomatoes is currently conducted in
Michigan, with the emphasis for processing in
Ohio and Indiana. Informal arrangements can be
effective. Grape research now occurs in Canada,
New York, Ohio, and Michigan among an informal
group that meets regularly to coordinate the
effort. Opportunities for such informal
arrangements are widespread.

The role of councils and commissions for support
of such informal regional research will be
essential in the future. Private consultants
also are likely to be employed more frequently to
help groups of small growers. Consultants will
likely begin their work with integrated pest
management systems. Growers may get together to
pay an insect scout.

Further cooperative efforts among growers will be
essential to insure the economic success, and
even survival, of small-scale horticultural
enterprises. Such actions could include
cooperative buying and marketing, sharing in
advisory services and hired labor, and in the use
of equipment. Increased public support for
research should be sought in view of the many
remarkable transitions in technology that have
occurred during the past decade and for those
that are envisioned for the future.


The recommendations which follow are for applied
problem solving research efforts. (The numbering
does not establish priority.) Many would fall
under the category of demonstrations. Some of
the more basic research initiatives are outlined
under the previous heading--General Plant Science
Research Considerations--Philosophical Overview.
It is conceded that the priorities that follow
for production and marketing research may be
considered equally as important for extension.
The best attributes and talents of both research
scientists and extension personnel will have to
be combined to achieve the objectives that

1. Develop integrated energy efficient
production and marketing systems that
maximize production over a wide marketing
period. Both high production and quality
are essential.
2. Design flexible energy efficient tillage,
cultural, harvest, and storage equipment.
The challenge is to downsize and adapt. The
approach is to use many equipment components
as attachments on a main drive or power
3. Seek new approaches for pest control.
Integrated pest management systems will
become essential for the survival of most
small scale enterprises. These systems will
need to insure the health and safety not
only of the applicator but the proximal
communities and consumers.
4. Provide guidelines for site assessments as
to soil, water, climate, and human
resources. These are important both for
meeting production needs and the markets to
be served.
5. Arrive at new and innovative schemes for
financing, including long-term contracts.
Interest rates and operational costs are
rising precipitously. Long-term invest-
ments are necessary for fruit and nursery
6. Seek novel strategies for marketing,
including vigorous individual and collective
advertising through the public media.
Commodity availability from unusual sources
such as farm markets, pick-your-own, and
community outlets should be emphasized.
7. Develop crop cultivars and accompanying
cultural technology that will maximize
productivity and extend the market season.
There have been remarkable achievements with
strawberries for year-around production in
specific locations. Great progress has also
been made with apples. Similar efforts
should be extended to other crops.
8. Continue the expansion and use of resource-
sparing technologies such as drip
irrigation, conservation tillage, direct
seeding, and allelopathic responses.
9. Design optimal strategies for crop
diversification to spread labor, utilize
resources and extend the cash flow.
Identify the combinations of commodities

and production patterns that will most
effectively utilize the available labor and
optimize income.
10. Improve the attractiveness of on-the-farm
sales and pick-your-own operations. Seek
the advantage of increasing consumer
interest in the purchase of fresh fruits and
vegetables as to tolerances of blemishes.
Determine multiple uses of the same
commodity for customers, and superior
structures for laying out pick-your-own
11. Improve social dimensions of small scale
horticultural enterprises. Seek better
methods of dealing with migrants and a
resolution of their social and economic
limitations and problems.
12. Look to other agriculturally developed and
developing nations in Western Europe and the
Far East (Japan, Taiwan, People's Republic
of China) for new and possibly more
appropriate technologies for intensified
agriculture and small-scale enterprises.
These technologies could include those
associated with mechanization, crop
varieties, waste and by-product utilization,
green manuring and crop rotation, and
methods of integrated pest management.


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The author extends thanks and appreciation to his
many colleagues at Michigan State University for
their many helpful ideas and suggestions in the
preparation of this paper. They include Robert
Anderson, Harold Davidson, James Hancock, Stanley
Howell, Jerry Hull, Jack Kelly, Hugh Price, and
Bernard Zandstra of Horticulture; John Ferris and
Mary Zehner in Agricultural Economics; Galen
Brown and Donald Edwards in Agricultural
Engineering; and William Muller and Thomas
Thorburn in the Cooperative Extension Service.
Special recognition is given to Martha Mulder of
the Department of Information Services for her
suggestions and editorial assistance; and to
Terry Kinney, Administrator of the Agricultural
Research Service, USDA for help in procuring
needed references.

Additional recognition and thanks are extended to
other members of the Horticulture Department at
Michigan State University. These include William
Carlson for his assistance with Figure 1; Lowell
Ewart for information on Table 2; and Theodore M.
Thomas, District Horticultural and Marketing
Agent for several helpful suggestions.


Allan K. Stoner 1/


The appropriateness of vegetable crop production
on small farms in the Northeastern U.S. is
discussed. Research on ways to keep farm land
continuously productive and increase yields per
acre is identified as needed in order to assist
small farm operators who wish to maximize their
profit. Specific studies that have been con-
ducted include evaluation of several synthetic
mulching materials and their effectiveness for
vegetable culture, the interactions of various
combinations of cultural practices and their
practicality in combination with various cropping
sequences, the value of degradable plastic
mulches and the feasibility of polyethlene
tunnels for extending the growing season.
Preliminary results from the above studies are

Keywords: Vegetables, cultural practices,
mulches, sequential cropping, small farms

l/Horticulturist, Vegetable Laboratory, and
Chairman, Plant Genetics and Germplasm Institute,
Beltsville Agricultural Research Center,
Beltsville, Md. 20705

Historically most, if not all, of the research
conducted at Beltsville has been relevant to
small farm production. However, during the last
three years, many of us have been asked to focus
more specifically on researchable problems unique
to small farms. Because of my association with
the Vegetable Laboratory and my interest in
vegetable improvement and production, I naturally
think first about how this group of crops fit
into "small farm" production. Being located at
the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, I
have focused my thinking on research to aid small
farms in the Northeastern U.S. where the situa-
tion is somewhat different from other areas of
the country.

Factors that I feel are important to keep in mind
when thinking about research to aid "small farms"
in this part of the country include the following.
First, the northeastern states contain only
7 percent of the U.S. farms and approximately
3 percent of the farmland while in this same
area, 25 percent of the nations population is
concentrated. Second, the average size of the
farms in the northeastern region is approximately
169 acres, compared to a national average of
417 acres. Third, the value of the farmland
in the northeastern states has been increasing
faster than that in the nation as a whole, nearly
tripling in value between 1967 and 1976. Also,
the quality of the land on small farms in this
area is often not particularly good. Another
factor that has become increasingly important
in recent years is the skyrocketing cost of
transporting food to the large population
centers of the Northeast. The latter factor
has already and will likely become an increasing-
ly important factor in determining what crops
are grown in what regions of the country.

Taking the above factors into account, I feel
that vegetables have to be considered as a
viable option for making a small farming
operation a profitable venture. Vegetables are
high value crops that are suited to intensive
culture on small parcels of land. The demand
for these commodities is high and proximity to
large population centers makes it possible to
transport and market high quality products with
minimum costs. Also, even if the land is
marginal in terms of fertility, drainage, etc.,
most if not all soils can be modified or
improved so that one or more species of
vegetables can be satisfactorily produced. The
current importance of vegetable production on
small farms in the Northeastern region has been
documented by Kerr (6).

A "small farmer's" decision on how he should
use his land depends in large part on whether
the intent is to use the income derived from
the farm to supplement the family income or
whether it is to be the primary or sole source
of income. Also important is the availability
of labor and its cost. If vegetable production
is considered, it must be recognized that it is
a labor intensive endeavor.

Our specific goal in the Vegetable Laboratory has
been to explore ways to help the small farmer
maximize his profit growing vegetables. Although
they are not the only factors in determining
profitability, keeping the available land
productive during as much of the year as possible
and increasing yields per acre are major factors.
Keeping a parcel of land continuously productive
can be accomplished through the use of inter-
cropping and sequential or multiple cropping.
This is nothing new, but it has not been practiced
as extensively in this country as in other
countries such as Japan, China, and Israel.
Various indices (crop intensity, multiple
cropping, diversity, harvest diversity,
simultaneous cropping, cultivated land
utilization) have been developed to measure and
compare farmland use and production in multiple
cropping systems (1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 10, 11).

The right combination of cultural practices and
cropping schemes must be determined in order for
the farmer to maximize the usage of his land.
Cultural practices do have a great influence on
the maturity of crops; the insects, diseases
and nematodes that attack them, the amount of
nutrients and water required to grow them; the
quality of the commodities; the carry over of
soil nutrients and pesticide residue from one
crop to another, and last but not least, the
economics of growing crops.

My interest has been to look at cultural
practices that lend themselves to intensive
production of vegetables on small parcels of
land so that I can determine their practicality
for this particular area and to assess what
problems an intensification of production creates
such as alterations in the populations of disease
producing organisms, insects, nematodes, weeds;
concerns over soil compaction and soil fertility;
the buildup of pesticides in the soil, etc.

Specific studies that we have conducted have
involved an evaluation of the effects of
aluminum mulch on the growth of several crops;
a comparison of different types of mulches on
muskmelon production; the interactions of various
cultural practices and their practicality in
combination with various cropping sequences;
the effectiveness of degradable plastic mulches,
and the feasibility of using polyethylene
tunnels to extend the growing season.
In 1977, William Cantelo- and I assessed the
effects of aluminum foil mulch on the growth
of cabbage, acorn squash and pickling cucumbers
and the insects that attack them. This study
was a follow-up to earlier work by Smith and
Webb (9) who showed that the use of aluminum
mulch repelled aphids and subsequently reduced
the amount of virus infection in plantings of
cucurbit crops.

2/ Research Entomologist, Vegetable Laboratory,
Beltsville Agricultural Research Center.

The use of aluminum mulch resulted in yield
increases of 26 percent, 49 percent, and 82
percent for squash, cabbage, and cucumbers
respectively. These increases were attributed
largely to improved soil moisture retention.
Perhaps more interesting than the yield increases
was the apparent protection the mulch provided
cabbage plants from a high population of cabbage
maggot (Hylemya brassicae). Of 144 plants in
the foil-mulched and unmulched plots, 1 in the
foil plots and 12 in the unmulched plots died
during the season with maggots being the
principal cause of death. The mean numbers of
larvae and pupae per plant in the unmulched
plots were 3.94 and 1.00 respectively versus
3.05 and 0.65 in the mulched plots. These
differences were not statistically significant,
although the foil-mulched plots consistently
had approximately 25 percent fewer insects than
the unmulched plots. Beyond the number of
insects, it was apparent that insect development
was slower under the aluminum foil and thus
damage was less. This was presumably due to
the soil temperatures being lower under the
foil than in the unmulched plots.

In a second cabbage planting, plants were
examined regularly for eggs and larvae of the
imported cabbageworm, Pieris rapae. A total of
180 eggs and 193 larvae were observed on plants
in the foil-mulched plots versus 167 and 171 on
the unmulched plots. The differences were not
statistically significant. It is evident from
the data and from observing cabbageworm butter-
fly movement in the plots that the aluminum
had no effect on this insects behavior. The
insect populations in the cucumber and squash
plantings were too low to obtain meaningful

Even though there has been extensive research
on the use of synthetic mulches for vegetable
production (5), there are continually new
products on the market and new ideas for uses
of these mulches. In 1978 and 1979,
Richard Dudley, Floyd Smith-, and I studied
the effects of four synthetic mulches on
muskmelon production (3). The materials used
were aluminum foil on paper, embossed aluminum
on black polyethylene, black polyethylene, and
embossed white polyethylene on black polyethy-
lene. Aphid populations in the plots were
monitored throughout the growing seasons and
yield records were taken (table 1).

In 1978, aphid flights were fairly uniform and
at a very low population level throughout the
trapping period. There was no marked population
peak of winged aphids such as occurs in some
years with the green peach aphid from potatoes,

3/ Research Agricultural Engineer, Agricultural
Equipment Laboratory and Research Entomologist
and Collaborator, Florist and Nursery Crop
Laboratory, Beltsville Agricultural Research

or corn leaf aphid from corn, or pea aphid from

Aphid counts on melon plants growing on all four
mulch treatments were lower than from the plants
on the unmulched check plot with the aluminum on
paper having the lowest count.

In 1979 as in the previous year, all four
mulches were highly repellent to flying aphids.
Aluminum foil on paper reduced aphid catches
98 percent. The experimental product, embossed
white polyethylene on black polyethylene, gave
a 97 percent reduction, and the embossed aluminum
on polyethylene gave an 84 percent reduction.
The black plastic mulch gave a reduction of only
28 percent which was comparble to earlier
observations made by Smith- No virus
infections were detected in any of the plots in
this experiment. Although black plastic was
less effective as an aphid repellent and in
preventing virus infection, the vine growth and
fruit yield of muskmelons grown on black plastic
were superior to those grown on aluminum mulch.
The largest early and total yields were obtained
from the black polyethylene treatment, but the
fruit size was smaller than that obtained with
other treatments.

In 1979, 1980, and 1981, we conducted a factorial
experiment involving two irrigation methods,
two organic soil amendments, and two types of
mulches to study how the interactions of these
treatments affect a spring cauliflower, summer
tomato, and fall cauliflower crop sequence. The
specific treatments included drip and overhead
irrigation; composted sewage sludge and animal
manure as soil amendments; and black polyethylene
and aluminum foil mulches. Data was taken on
disease and insect incidence, earliness, yield
and quality of the tomato and cauliflower.

The analysis of the 1981 data has not been
completed, but a summarization of the 1979 and
1980 results follows. Because of the amount
and distribution of rainfall throughout the
growing periods, the irrigation treatments had
no effect on the yield or quality of cauliflower
produced. The presence of a mulch and the type
used had a greater effect on earliness and yield
than did the soil amendment.

Aluminum foil resulted in earlier heading of
cauliflower, but the heads were of marginal size
to be considered marketable (table 2). On the
other hand, the use of black plastic resulted
in later heading but a significantly greater
number of marketable heads with greater average
head diameter and weight over the season than
the non-mulched or aluminum mulched plots. The
smallest heads from both the early and total
harvest tended to be from the unmulched plots.

4/ Personal communication from Floyd Smith.

Table l.--Effects of Four Mulch Treatments on Aphid Populations and Yield of 'Gold Star' Muskmelon

1978 1979

Treatment/ Total Aphids Reduction Total Aphids Reduction No. Fruit Ave. Wt.
No. % No. % Per Plant Per Fruit

Aluminum on paper 5.5 96.3 2.5 98.1 2.33 4.48

Aluminum on polyethylene 15.5 89.6 20.8 84.3 3.22 4.55

Black polyethylene 54.3 63.9 29.3 77.8 2.82 3.97

White polyethylene on 74.8 48.6 -- -- -- --
black polyethylene
(Polyagro Plastics)

White polyethylene on -- -- 3.5 97.3 3.26 4.30
black polyethylene
(Edison Plastics)

Check (unmulched soil) 150.5 131.8 -- 2.07 4.27

1/ Mention of a trade name or a company does not constitute a guarantee or warranty of the product by
the U.S. Department of Agriculture and does not imply its approval to the exclusion of other products
that may also be suitable.

Table 2.--Interaction of Soil Amendments and Mulches on Yield of 'Snow Crown' Cauliflower

1st Harvest Total 2 Harvests

Treatment Ave. No. 2/ Ave. Head Ave. Head Dia. (ins)
(mulch/soil amendment)- Heads/Plot- Dia. (ins)










5.8 c

6.7 ab

6.4 bc

4.7 d

6.0 bc

4.2 d

7.5 a

4.9 d

7.3 a

6.7 bcd

7.0 be

7.6 ab

5.6 d

7.4 be

5.5 d

8.9 a

6.2 cd

8.0 ab

1/ Mulches; none=unmulched; alum=aluminum foil; black=black polyethylene

Amendments; manure=360 lbs dry animal manure/plot
sludge=390 Ibs dry composted sludge/plot
none=5.4 lbs 5-10-5 fertilizer/plot

2/ Yields followed by the same letter are not significantly different at the 5 percent level.

Even though the application rates were adjusted
so that the same amount of nitrogen was provided
by each treatment, plots amended with animal
manure or composted sewage sludge tended to yield
larger heads at both the first harvest and over
the season than those where only commercial
fertilizer was added. The entire planting was
treated with an insecticide at planting so there
was no opportunity to observe any effects of
aluminum on cabbage maggot.

When tomatoes followed cauliflower in 1979, those
plots amended with animal manure or sewage sludge
yielded a greater number of marketable fruit than
did those where only an equivalent amount of
nitrogen fertilizer was added (table 3). However,
there was no effect on total fruit yield for both
the early and total season harvests.

Black polyethylene and aluminum foil mulch both
resulted in reduced total yields for the first
harvest, but greater total and marketable yields
for the season. An evaluation of the inter-
actions between soil amendments and mulches
shows that the greatest early total weights
were obtained where no mulch was used regardless
of the soil amendment. However, over the season,
the four combinations involving the two mulches
and two soil amendments resulted in the largest
number of total and marketable fruit and were
not statistically different.

In 1980, the use of sprinkle or drip irrigation
did not result in statistically significant
differences in total weight, marketable number
or marketable weight of tomatoes at either the
first harvest or for the season, but the trend
was for greater yields when either irrigation
treatment was used. Sprinkle irrigation did
result in significantly more fruit rotting,
primarily buckeye and rhizoctonia, than the
drip or no irrigation treatments for the first
harvest, but not for the season.

The use of sewage sludge or only inorganic
fertilizer resulted in greater yields than
animal manure for the first harvest of the
season (table 4). However, for the season,
the use of manure resulted in significantly
greater number of marketable fruit and a
definite trend toward a greater weight of
marketable fruit.

Aluminum foil mulch was significantly better
than no mulch or black polyethylene for
producing early marketable numbers and weight
of fruit. On the other hand, black polyethylene
was superior over the seasons five harvests.
An evaluation of the interactions between
treatments clearly showed that the effects of
the mulches overshadowed the effects of the
other treatments. Black polyethylene in
combination with other treatments clearly
resulted in greater marketable weights while
no mulch in combination with other treatments
had the opposite effects.

A serious problem associated with the current use
of plastic mulches is the year end disposal of
the material. Preliminary studies we conducted
with commercially available degradable plastic
mulches did not give satisfactory results. Under
our conditions we found that these materials
either degraded too early to be totally effective
or did not degrade quickly enough so that the
disposal problem encountered with traditional
plastic mulches was still a factor. However,
further product development and research on
their utilization should make degradable plastic
films an important factor for the production of
vegetables on small farms in the future.

It has been demonstrated that plastic row covers
can be effective in promoting early production of
warm season crops (12). Equally important in
keeping farmland productive for as many months
as possible is to explore ways to produce cool
season crops even earlier in the spring than is
normally possible and to extend production of
these crops later into the fall and winter.
During 1980 and 1981, we did this by field
planting cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli,
brussel sprouts, collards and lettuce in
slitted plastic tunnels 4 weeks before they
would normally be planted in the spring and
by planting the same crop at 2-week intervals
beginning in late summer.

Our preliminary results indicate that it is
possible to harvest cabbage and broccoli up
to 3 weeks earlier in the spring from plastic
tunnels than from non-covered rows. Harvesting
of late planted crops could be extended well
into December and January with the use of
slitted plastic tunnels. The primary problem
encountered was the buildup of insects in the

All of the results discussed above are preliminary
and have served to create more questions than
we have answers. As further research is conduct-
ed on the above mentioned or other cultural
practices, it must be kept in mind that this
must be coupled with research on the economics
of using these practices, marketing of the
commodities grown, and more effective transfer
of research results to the user. It is perhaps
in these latter areas where the greatest
opportunity to serve "small farmers" exists.

Table 3.--Interaction of Soil Amendments and Mulches on Yield of Five Plant Plots of 'Pik-Red' Tomatoes, 1979

1st Harvest Total 3 Harvests

Treatment Total Wt. Marketable Wt. Total Wt. Marketable Wt.
(mulch/amendment) 1/ (Ibs) 2/ (Ibs) (lbs) (lbs)

none/manure 3.4 a 1.9 a 26.2 bc 12.8 cd

none/sludge 3.0 ab 1.5 ab 28.2 abc 13.1 cd

none/none 2.5 abc 0.9 b 24.9 c 10.3 d

alum/sludge 2.1 bc 1.9 a 32.0 ab 16.5 abc

alum/manure 2.1 bc 1.6 ab 29.9 abc 17.9 ab

black/manure 2.0 bc 1.5 ab 27.8 bc 16.2 abc

alum/none 2.0 bc 1.1 ab 32.4 ab 13.9 bcd

black/none 1.8 c 1.2 ab 25.5 bc 12.9 cd

black/sludge 1.7 c 1.6 ab 35.0 a 19.1 a

1/ Mulches; none=unmulched; alum=aluminum foil; black=black polyethylene

Amendments; manure=360 lbs dry animal manure/plot
sludge=390 lbs dry composted sludge/plot
none=5.4 lbs 5-10-5 fertilizer/plot

2/ Yields followed by the same letter are not significantly different at the 5 percent level.

Table 4.--Interaction of Soil Amendments and Mulches on Yield of Five Plant Plots of 'Pik-Red' Tomatoes, 1980

1st Harvest Total 5 Harvests

Treatment Total Wt. Marketable Wt. Total Wt. Marketable Wt.
(mulch/amendment) 1/ (lbs) 2/ (lbs) (lbs) (lbs)

none/none 2.92 a

alum/none 1.81 b

black/none 1.77 b

alum/sludge 1.70 be

none/sludge 1.60 bc

black/sludge 0.77 cd

none/manure 0.54 d

alum/manure 0.44 d

black/manure 0.33 d

1/ Mulches; none=unmulched; alum=aluminum
Amendments equal carry over of 360 lbs
5.4 lbs of 5-10-5 fertilizer from 1979
the entire plot.

2/ Yields followed by the same letter are

.85 a 21.5 d 11.8 c

1.0 a 35.1 abc 28.5 ab

.62 a 39.6 ab 28.4 ab

1.0 a 30.2 c 23.4 b

.19 abc 14.0 d 5.9 c

.52 abc 42.75 a 36.8 a

.04 c 17.1 d 11.4 c

.27 abc 33.0 bc 29.4 ab

.12 abc 37.5 abc 31.8 ab

foil; black=black polyethylene
dry animal manure, 390 lbs of dry composted sludge, and
plus 5 lbs of additional 5-10-5 fertilizer broadcast over

not significantly different at the 5 percent level.

Literature Cited:
1. Andrews, D. J. and A. H. Kassam. 1976. The
importance of multiple cropping in increasing
world food supplies. In M. Stelly,
L. C. Eisele, and J. H. Nauseef, (eds).
Multiple Cropping. Amer. Soc. of Agron.,
Madison, Wisconsin.

2. Chuang, F. T. 1973. An analysis of the
change of Taiwan's cultivated land
utilization for recent years.
Rural Econ. Div. of JCRR Rpt. 21,
Taipei, Taiwan. R.O.C.
(Translated from Chinese)

3. Dalrymple, D. G. 1971. Survey of multiple
cropping in less developed nations. Foreign
Econ. Development Service Rpt. 91,
Washington, D.C., p. 6-8.

4. Dudley, Richard F., Allan Stoner, and
Floyd Smith. 1980. Aphid counts, soil
temperatures, and yields of muskmelons
grown on four synthetic mulches.
Proc. Nat. Agr. Plast. Cong. 15:107-110.

5. Hopen, Herbert J. and Norman F. Oebker.
1976. Vegetable crop responses to
synthetic mulches. An annotated bibliography.
Special Publication 42, Illinois Agricultural
Experiment Station.

6. Kerr, Howard W., Jr. 1980. A survey of
current and expected research needs of
small farms in the northeastern region.
USDA, SEA, Agricultural Research Results,

7. Menegay, M. R., J. N. Hubbell and R. D. William.
1978. Crop intensity index: A research
method of measuring land use in multiple
cropping. HortScience 13(1):8-11.

8. Menegay, M. R. 1976. Farm management
research on cropping systems. Asian
Vegetable Research and Development Center,
Shanhua, Taiwan. R.O.C. Tech. Bul. 2.

9. Smith, F. F. and R. E. Webb. 1968.
Repelling aphids by reflective surfaces, a
new approach to the control of insect-
transmitted viruses.
Proc. Nat. Agr. Plast. Conf. 8:89-97.

10. Strout, A. M. 1975. Some definitional
problems with "multiple-crop diversification".
Philippine Econ. J. 14:308-316.

11. Wang, Y. I. and Y. H. Yu. 1975. Historical
evolution and future prospect of multiple-
crop diversification in Taiwan.
Philippine Econ. J. 14:26-46.

12. Webb, Otho S. and J. Brent Loy. 1980.
The great vegetable cover up.
Amer. Veg. Grower 28(2):8-9.


Willaim W. Cantelo 1/
George E. Cantwell 2/


In simulated feeding studies, the effects were
determined of several population levels of the
Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa
decemlineata, on the production of indeterminate
and determinate tomato cultivars. First
individual larvae and adult insect were confined
in petri dishes with tomato-leaf disks and daily
consumption was measured with an area meter. In
45 days, consumption of foliage averaged 145 sq.
cm. for females and 115 sq. cm. for males. As
larvae, the two sexes consumed similar
quantities: 1st instar, 1 sq. cm., 2nd instar,
3 sq. cm., 3rd instar, 11 sq. cm., and 4th
instar, 26 sq. cm. From these and other data, a
model was developed. Foliage was cut from
tomato plants in the field to represent 6
theoretical populations of insects throughout
the season, and harvested fruit was weighed. At
the indicated ratios for female per plant at the
beginning of the season, deficits in yield were
as follows, respectively, for determinate and
indeterminate cv: 0.0006, 2 and 6%, 0.002, 18
and 1%, 0.006, 25 and 27%, 0.017, 29 and 49%,
and 0.05, 47 and 50%. Bacillus thuringiensis
var. thuringiensis (Serotype 1), when applied at
dilutions of 10-1 to 10-5 in laboratory
tests to tomato foliage infested with Ist-and
2nd-instar larvae, killed at least 90% before
they reached the 3rd instar. The high dosages
were necessary to kill the older larvae.
Insects died 4 to 8 days after treatment,
depending on dosage. Adult beetles were not
killed but ceased feeding 4 to 7 days after
exposure. Weekly applications at 10-3 and
5x10-2 of the B.t. formulation in the field
provided good plant protection and reduced the
beetle population by 80 to 88%.

Keywords: Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa
decemlineata, Bacillus thuringiensis, damage
threshold, tomato.

1/ 2/Research Entomologists, United States
Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research
Service, Vegetable Laboratory, Agricultural
Research Center,Beltsville, Maryland 20705


Tomatoes are one of the main crops grown on
small farms in the Northeastern U.S. (4). The
insect pest of greatest concern to tomato
growers is the Colorado potato beetle (CPB),
Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say). Early research
found that the CPB could not complete its
development on tomatoes. Evidently the insect
had the genetic plasticity that enabled it to
expand its host range. This plasticity also
enabled it to overcome most of the chemicals
that were initially effective in controlling it
(3). As a result the number of efficacious
chemicals available are few and are becoming
fewer as the CPB becomes resistant to them.

This situation encouraged us to seek alternative
solutions to the CPB problem. In one approach
we determined the effects of several levels of
CPB population on tomato yield. Possibly
knowledge of those effects might enable growers
to reduce pesticide treatments and thus delay
the development of insecticide resistance. In a
second approach we evaluated a microbial
material that controlled the CPB on potatoes (1).


Materials and Methods

In our early studies of the effect of beetles on
yield we tried to isolate known numbers of
beetles in tomato plots. Corrals 4x2x0.6 m high
of 6 mil black plastic sheeting were erected; 16
tomato plants were planted in each and infested
with several population levels of adult CPB
(fig. 1). The beetles are reluctant flyers and
were considered unable to climb the plastic
walls and escape. Many, however, soon
disappeared. Marked beetles were placed in the
corrals and were found in other plots, some as
far as 500 m away. Under our conditions beetle
movement was evidently much greater than that

Figure 1. Plastic corrals used in attempt to
confine Colorado potato beetle.

reported by Logan and Casagrande (6) who
maintained various beetle densities in open
plots of potatoes. The beetle may be more
restless on a less preferred host like tomato.
Next we confined the beetles with tomato plants
in 2x2x2-m saran screen cages. Population
development was often very slow with high
mortality--possibly because of high temperatures
in the cages.

Instead of using live insects we decided to
simulate beetle feeding by removing known
quantities of foliage. We developed a model
that described the daily foliage removal of a
population over two generations.

First, the amount of foliage consumed by beetles
at each stage was determined. We placed 24 male
and 22 female newly emerged beetles, each in a
separate petri dish with 3.3 sq. cm leaf disks
from tomato cv. Manapal. Fresh disks were added
daily and the leaf area remaining was measured
with an area meter. The beetles were held in a
chamber at 240C with a photoperiod of 18
hours. Foliage consumption by 199 larvae was
determined in a like manner. For each insect we
recorded the instar daily and the sex at

On the basis of foliage consumption we developed
a model for calculating field damage to a tomato
crop over a season. This model assumed that a
female laid an egg cluster containing 35 eggs
every other day for 14 days, a total of 490
eggs. Survival from egg to 1st and 2nd instar
was 0.68, to 3rd and 4th instar 0.57, and to
adult 0.39. These estimates were calculated
from life tables developed for beetle feeding on
potatoes (2). Mortality may be higher on
tomatoes. The lengths of stages were: 9 days
for the egg; 4 days each for the first 3
instars; 5 days for the 4th; and 8 days for the
pupal stage. Adults were assumed to live for 31
days. We recognize the artificiality of the
model but believe it approximates the natural

We assumed the first egg cluster was laid May
27. Calculations were made for initial
populations of female beetles of 0.05, 0.017,
0.006, 0.002, and 0.0006 per plant. To simulate
this damage, we cut disks of 1.9 sq. cm. from
the edge of the leaves 3 times a week in the
test plots beginning May 23. As the theoretical
population increased, the use of disk cutters
became too time-consuming and half a leaf at a
time was cut with scissors.

Each test plot consisted of 20 tomato plants
with four replicates for each of the 5 levels of
defoliation plus an undefoliated check. The
design was a randomized block. We used two
cultivars of tomatoes, Supersonic, an
indeterminate variety, and Campbell-28, a
determinate variety. Each cv. had a complete
set of 24 plots. The ripe fruit were harvested
once or twice a week until frost. The fruit
were counted and weighed.


Table 1 lists the daily consumption of the adult
beetles for the 45 days. Some beetles lived
more than 45 days but ate little tomato
foliage. One female fed for 136 days before
dying and one male for 218 days. Female beetles
consumed 26% more foliage than males. Males and
females consumed 25% of their total intake by
day 4 after emergence and, respectively, 50% by
days 14 and 9, and 75% by days 30 and 16. Thus
foliage consumption was less age dependent in
males than in females. Tamaki and Butt (7)
found that for the 10-day period after emergence
unsexed beetles ate 6.87 sq. cm. of potato
foliage; our beetles ate 6.34 sq. cm. of tomato

Table 1. Daily tomato foliage consumption (sq.
cm.) of adult Colorado potato beetles.

Mean Error
7.69 0.87
11.80 1.23
13.97 1.21
12.01 1.38
8.10 1.00
5.56 0.82
6.13 0.74
4.03 0.91
3.67 0.57
5.72 0.92
4.37 1.15
6.35 1.16
5.86 1.57
4.90 1.72
5.07 1.66
4.69 1.27
3.00 1.27
2.73 0.97
2.07 1.16
1.81 1.02
1.49 1.41
0.85 0.77
1.85 1.56
2.32 1.89
1.47 0.95
0.96 0.65
0.61 0.53
0.57 0.50
1.60 1.60
0.59 0.59
0.45 0.45
0.54 0.54
0.54 0.54
0.54 0.54
0.19 0.19
3.11 1.76
0.64 0.64
1.23 0.81
0.70 0.37
0.70 0.37
0.64 0.33
1.80 1.24
1.12 0.65
1.01 0.61
0.02 0.02

Mean Error
8.23 0.57
8.45 1.11
8.18 1.22
5.84 0.86
3.76 1.05
3.13 0.76
3.03 0.46
3.18 0.92
2.25 0.66
2.11 0.52
4.36 0.89
2.02 0.68
1.35 0.69
2.59 0.45
3.16 0.80
2.09 0.64
1.55 0.95
1.42 0.03
2.31 0.87
2.33 0.12
1.50 0.14
1.66 0.21
1.61 1.17
1.76 1.47
0.80 0.53
1.00 0.40
2.02 0.73
2.60 0.70
1.17 0.12
1.96 0.01
2.08 0.05
1.88 0.15
2.17 0.14
1.75 0.27
2.02 0
1.89 0.14
2.00 0.75
2.26 0.76
2.24 0.75
2.90 1.41
1.71 0.45
1.22 0.93
1.22 0.93
2.13 0.87
0.03 0.26

For the development of the model the adult daily
consumption was considered to be for 1-5 days,
8.80 sq. cm.; 6-10 days, 3.88 sq. cm.; 11-15
days, 4.00 sq. cm; 16-20 days, 2.22 sq. cm.;
21-25 days, 1.53 sq. cm.; and for 26-31 days,
1.31 sq. cm. Figure 2 depicts the calculated
consumption of a population originating with one
female on May 23.

Foliage consumption by larvae is listed in table
2. Adult female beetles are usually
conspiciously larger that adult males, but the
amount of foliage eaten differed little between
larvae that were to develop into males and
females. Consumption by larvae was 49% more
than that reported by Tamaki and Butt (7) on
potatoes. Because tomatoes are a less preferred
host than potatoes, possibly the larvae must
consume more tissue to obtain sufficient
nutrients to complete development. Latheef and
Harcourt (5) made a similar observation. For
development of the model, values (sq. cm.) for
daily consumption assigned to instars were; 1st,
1; 2nd, 3; 3rd, 11; and 4th, 25. At the
highest defoliation level (female/plant) the
yield of both determinate and indeterminate
tomato cultivars was reduced by nearly 50%
(table 3). Analysis of variance showed that the
effect of defoliation was similar on fruit
weight but not on fruit number from the two
cultivars. Yields differed little between the
two lower infestation levels and uninfested
plants for the indeterminate cultivar. The high
variance of the yields from the determinate
cultivar prevented clear statistical
differences. The difference in weight was
significant only between the highest level and
control. The data suggest, however, that only
the lowest infestation had no appreciable effect
on yield. We are continuing this research and
will plan to study higher theoretical
populations of the Colorado potato beetle.



Figure 2. Projected tomato foliage consumption by
two generations of the Colorado potato beetle
beginning on May 23 with one fertile female beetle.


Table 2. Tomato foliage consumption (sq. cm.) by each instar of the Colorado
potato beetle.

Female Male
Instar Mean Standard Error Mean Standard Error
1 1.11 0.06 1.05 0.08
2 2.74 .37 3.01 0.33
3 11.26 1.01 10.30 1.00
4 25.94 1.71 25.49 1.63
Total 40.96 5.87 39.58 1.23

Table 3. Effect of several defoliation levels (female per plant at
beginning of season) on yield per tomato plant.

Determinate cv.!/ Indeterminate cv.l/
Female/plant Weight (kg) -Number Weight (kg) Number

0.00 4.37 a 44.08 a 6.98 a 41.18 a
.0006 4.29 a 43.10 ab 6.55 a 39.08 a
.002 3.59 ab 35.98 abc 6.88 a 38.44 a
.006 3.26 ab 31.34 abc 5.13 b 29.58 b
.017 3.10 ab 30.93 bc 3.53 c 19.21 c
.05 2.33 b 24.74 c 3.49 c 17.95 c

1/ Means in a column followed by the same letter are not significantly
different according to Duncan's multiple range test, P=0.05.


Materials and Methods

Laboratory Tests-An experimental preparation of
Bacillus thuringiensis var. thuringiensis
(Serotype 1) containing spores, crystals, and
B-exotoxin was tested against the CPB in
laboratory feeding tests. The B.t. preparation
(serial dilution of 10-1 through T105) was
sprayed with aerosol containing a
chloroflurocarbon on tomato leaves that were
about 2.5 cm. long. Leaves were sprayed until
dripping, allowed to dry, placed in a vial with
a cotton plug and water, and then held with 20
beetle larvae or adults in a clear plastic box
at 240C with a 17 hr. light, 7 hr. dark
cycle. Additional treated foliage was supplied
when necessary. Controls were sprayed with
water. Each test was replicated three times.
Mortality was determined daily from day 3
until day 12 after the initial treatment.

Field tests-The same B.t. material also was
tested in the field. Water dilutions were
sprayed on tomato plants weekly, and the degree
of protection from CPB was determined. The
dilutions were applied with a compressed air
sprayer to the leaves until dripping. Controls
were sprayed with water.

In the field test, there were 36 plots, with 12
tomato plants each, and four replicates of 3
control (water sprayed) and 6 test plots. Thus,
one test plot in each replicate was sprayed with
one of the three dilutions (5x10-2, 10-3,
and 10-4) of the B.t. preparation. When
plants were about 5 cm high, one adult male and
one adult female CPB were placed on each plant.


Laboratory Tests-When Ist-and 2nd-instar CPB
larvae were fed tomato foliage sprayed with any
dilution between 10-1 and 10-5 of the B.t.
preparation at least 90% were killed before the
3rd instar. As the dosage decreased, however,
the time necessary for 90% mortality increased
from 4 days at 10-1 to 8 days at 10-4. In
comparison with 1st- and 2nd-instar larvae,
3rd-and 4th-instar larvae were less
susceptible: similar concentrations produced
less mortality and the time necessary for a
given level of mortality increased. At a
dilution of 10-4, many insects exposed
initially as 4th-instar larvae went through
pupation and emerged as adults capable of
feeding, maturing, and laying viable eggs,
however, a few in the laboratory had anatomical
deformities attributed to the teratogenic
activity of the B.t. At a dilution of 10-5,
no 4th-instar mortality was detected. Adult
beetles exposed to high concentrations ceased
feeding in 4 to 7 days depending on the
concentrations. These data are summarized in
Table 4 .

Field Tests-Because of apparent impaired killing
efficiency, the 10-5 dilution was not applied
in the field test. Because laboratory tests
showed that even high concentrations of the B.t.
preparations would neither kill adult beetles
nor prevent them from laying eggs, the field
tests were planned to prevent the larvae from
developing past the 2nd instar. The B.t.
preparation was applied once a week, a procedure
that prevented most of the destructive 3rd- and
4th-instar larvae from forming and also
prevented the development of adults. (Although

Table 4. Effect of serial dilutions of a preparation of Bacillus thuringiensis
var. thuringiensis (containing 20 x 10 9 spores & crystals/ml)
on different stages of the Colorado potato beetle. Laboratory Tests.

Larval Instar
1st and 2nd 3rd and 4th Adults
Dilution % mortality-days until dead % mortality-days until dead % mortality

10-1 100 4 100 5 0l/

10-2 100 4 50 6 02/

10-3 87 4 90 10 02/

10-4 90- 8 80 8

10-5 0 0*

1/ stopped feeding at 4 days
2/ stopped feeding at 6 days
3/ stopped feeding at 7 days
* pupated and emerged

laboratory tests indicated that adults on
treated foliage refused to feed after a period
of time, no data were gathered to confirm this
behavior in the field).

Two weeks after the adults were released into
the tomato plots (10 days after 1st spray), both
egg masses and adults were counted.
Distribution was similar among treatments and
controls (Table 5). After two additional weeks
of treatment, however, counts of larvae and
adults showed significant differences. The two
highest concentrations of the B.t. preparation
had reduced the populations by 80 to 88% as
compared with the controls; the lowest
concentration (10-4) had not changed the
populations significantly. Feeding damage was
severe to both the control plants and plants
treated with the 10-4 dilution, but plants
treated with higher concentrations were almost
completely protected.


For definitive damage thresholds, additional
data are needed. The results of the microbial
studies indicate that B.t. var. thuringiensis is
indeed toxic to the CPB. When concentrations of
10-3 and 5x10-2 were sprayed on tomato
foliage, they protected the leaves adequately
for one week; when leaves were ingested by 1st-
and 2nd-instar larvae they reduced the beetle
population by nearly 90%. The material neither
kills adult beetles nor prevents the female from
laying viable eggs but may stop feeding of adult

Acknowledgements. This study would not have
been possible without the assistance of the
following: W. R. Smith and G. B. White,
Agricultural Research Technicians; and B. F.
Harrison, R. M. Noland, L. Venables and A. M.
Wieber, Biological Aides.

Table 5. Effect on Colorado potato beetles on tomato plants of weekly application of
spray containing dilutions of a preparation of Bacillus thuringiensis var.
thuringiensis (20 x 109 spores and crystals per ml). Field tests.

Average number per plot % reduction
Dilution 10 days after 1st spray 25 days after 1st spray from control
egg masses adults larvae & adults*

water only 20.7 4.7 68.8 a --
10-4 21.2 7.5 60.0 a 81.2
10-3 17.5 4.0 12.5 b 81.2
5x10-2 21.4 5.8 8.0 c 88.4

* means with the same letter are not significantly different at the 0.05 level
according to Duncan's multiple range test.

Literature Cited

1. Cantwell, G. E. and W. W. Cantelo. 1981.
Bacillus thuringiensis a potential control agent
for the Colorado potato beetle. American Potato
Journal 58:457-468.

2. Harcourt, D. G. 1971. Population dynamics
of Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say) in eastern
Ontario. III. Major population processes.
Can. Ent. 103:1049-1061.

3. Hofmaster, R. N. 1980. The Colorado potato
beetle problem. The Vegetable Growers News

4. Kerr, H. W. 1980. A survey of current and
expected research needs of small farms in the
northeastern region. USDA-ARR-NE-9, 30pp.

5. Latheef, M. A. and D. G. Harcourt. 1972. A
quantitative study of food consumption,
assimilation, and growth in Leptinotarsa
decemlineata (Coleoptera:Chrysomelidae) on two
host plants. Can. Ent. 104:1271-1276.

6. Logan, P. A. and R. A. Casagrande. 1980.
Predicting Colorado potato beetle Leptinotarsa
decemlineata (Say) density and potato yield
loss. Environ. Ent. 9:659-663.

7. Tamaki, G. and B. A. Butt 1978. Impact of
Perillus bioculatus on the Colorado potato
beetle and plant damage. USDA Tech. Bull. 1581,
11 pp.


W. V. Welker 1/

3. R. Teasdale 2/

The unique characteristics of small farms and
the associated requirements for weed control are
defined. Herbicides which can be aoolied to
minor-use horticultural crops and which are
compatible with multiple crooping systems are
most useful on small farms. Weed control
systems which provide full season weed control
are necessary for the small farmer to realize
optimum returns. These systems will involve
various combinations of herbicides, mechanical
cultivation, mulches, crop rotations, and
specialized application equipment. These
systems must be tailored to meet the specific
weed species, crops, and overall objectives of
individual small farmers and the specific weed
problem and cropping situation. Good
communication between researchers, extension
specialists, and farmers is essential to
facilitate rapid assimilation of new research
findings into small farm practices.

Keywords: Horticultural croos, herbicides, small
farm, weed control

1/ Weed Scientist, Appalachian Fruit Research
StatTon, Kearneysville, WV 25430.
2/ Plant Physiologist, Beltsville Agricul-
tural Research Center, Beltsville, MD 20705.



Weed control is a fundamental need of all
farmers regardless of the size of their farms.
Most basic methods of weed control can be used
successfully on farms of any size. A radically
new approach to the development and application
of weed control technology is, therefore, not
required for small farms. However, certain
unique characteristics of the small farmer
require that different weed control strategies
be developed. This paper will define some of
these characteristics and the research
priorities which are needed to develop the
appropriate weed control systems for small
farms. Specific weed control recommendations or
specific research project results are outside
the scope of this paper.

Horticultural Crops

Horticultural crop production is the most
popular agricultural enterprise of small farmers
of the northeastern region. However, fewer
herbicides are available for use with the
minor-use horticultural crop than with the major
field crop. Recent research in conjunction with
the IR-4 program has resulted in the
registration of a number of herbicides for
certain minor-use crops. This will aid the
small farmer in obtaining broad spectrum weed
control in many horticultural crops. Each
herbicide has a weakness for certain tolerant
weed species which will become the dominant weed
population if the same herbicide is used
continuously for a number of years. Therefore,
there is a need for new herbicides for each crop
in order to provide a range of products which
can control the specific weed spectrum that may
develop in any specific field.

The development of new herbicides for the
minor-use crops which most typically are grown
by northeast small farmers should be an
important research priority. Such research
should include an evaluation of methods for
better use of available herbicides as well as
evaluation of new chemistry. Most of the
available herbicides have not been thoroughly
investigated to determine whether or not
different application timing or placement can
increase selectivity or whether certain crop
varieties may be more tolerant than others.
Novel methods for using crop protectants such as
charcoal or chemical antidotes may also increase
selectivity. In these ways, herbicides which
are marginally phytotoxic using conventional
application techniques might be applied safely
to horticultural crops.

Weed Control Systems

The small farmer in the northeast operates on a
limited acreage and requires intensive farming
practices to optimize production. As a result,
the level of weed control needs to be higher on
small farms compared to larger farms. The
expenditure per acre is greater and often the
land value is greater, therefore, the need to
produce a greater return per acre is essential.

Weeds can interfere with crop production by
interfering with harvesting operations and
reducing crop quality late in the season as well
as reducing yields through direct competition
for essential growth factors throughout the
season. Therefore, full season weed control is
important for the small farmer to realize
optimum returns.

Full season weed control is difficult to obtain
in horticultural crops. Most fruit crops are
perennial and require weed control for the
entire growing season. Lack of soil preparation
each year creates conditions favorable for the
development of perennial weeds which are often
more difficult to control than annual weeds.
Annual applications of single herbicides are
usually unsuccessful because perennial weeds are
allowed to become dominant and phytotoxic levels
of herbicides can develop. The use of systems
involving herbicide combinations, annual
rotations, and integration with other methods
are needed to solve these weed control

Vegetable crops are generally low growing and/or
do not produce a full-leaf canopy. As a result,
many are poor competitors with weeds and also
require full season weed control for maximum
production. Grower experience and research has
shown that any single method of weed control
performed at planting is insufficient to obtain
full season weed control in most vegetables. A
herbicide program involving both planting and
post-emergence applications is usually necessary
for achieving full season weed control. Tractor
cultivations and plastic mulches are often
included with herbicide programs to improve weed
control and provide additional production
advantages for some crops. More research is
needed to identify which systems of weed control
are economical and efficient under different
growing conditions.

Multiple Cropping

Most small farmers grow an assortment of fruit
and vegetable crops. The resulting cropping
systems of small farms are more complex than
those on large farms and require more intensive
management. As a result, weed control practices
are also more complex and require intensive
management to be effective. Herbicides must be
chosen for their residual phytoxicity, as well
as their weed control properties. Many areas in
the northeast can support two or three crops per
field each season, and herbicides can be used
only when they are compatible with succeeding
crops in the rotation. Herbicides which can be
applied to a wide range of horticultural crops
are valuable to the small farmer because they
allow more flexibility in arranging crop
sequences and simplify the number of herbicides
which need to be applied to simultaneously
planted crops.

Recent herbicide development has emphasized
specialized products for controlling specific
problem weeds in agronomic crops. Some of these
herbicides will help the small farmer too, even

though the small farmer has a greater need for
broad spectrum herbicides. Such herbicides
ideally should be safe on many horticultural
crops and provide control of a complimentary
spectrum of weeds to those already controlled by
available herbicides.

Weed Control Methods

Weed control by herbicides is the most effective
and economical method available. It would be
desirable if a herbicide program alone could
provide complete weed control. However, in
certain cropping situations, limitations on the
weed control spectrum and/or selectivity of the
available herbicides may require the use of
selected non-chemical methods for supplemental
weed control. Non-chemical methods alone can
rarely provide complete full season weed control
without hand labor.

Mechanical cultivation provides only temporary
control of escaped weeds; however, no residual
control is obtained. It can be a useful tool
when integrated with a herbicide program. For
example, in some orchard situations, cultivation
can be used to remove and/or prevent the
establishment of perennial weeds where an
adequate herbicide is not available. Some
cultivation may also be desirable from a
cultural standpoint. This, however, must be
integrated with the herbicide program so that
the two practices are compatible.

Mulches, such as plastics, straw, and wood
chips, can provide good weed control, as well as
favorable soil moisture, temperature, and
aeration conditions for plant growth. Many
horticultural crops respond to mulches with
increased yields and earliness which alone can
justify their use. Clear plastic mulch requires
the use of herbicides or fumigants, whereas, the
opaque mulches, such as black plastic, can
provide complete weed control within the row.
Herbicides are required for control of weeds
between plastic strips. The limitations on the
use of plastic mulches are their expense and the
difficulty of removal.

Most cultural practices for growing crops
influence both weed species and weed control and
can be manipulated to supplement primary weed
control practices. Multiple cropping practices
of most small farmers allows truly creative
approaches to weed control through crop rotation

Biological weed control has been used
successfully for controlling a few specific weed
species particularly in range and aquatic
situations. It has potential for controlling a
specific problem weed in perennial horticultural
crops and for reducing the pressure of a
specific problem weed from the area surrounding
cropping fields. Biological control, however,
is not a viable possibility for general weed
control in crops. Control is not complete or
rapid enough to prevent competition from
impeding the development of most crops.
Furthermore, biological control is targeted for

specific weed species and cannot prevent other
weeds from taking its place.


The equipment requirements for small farms are
varied and can range from the very sophisticated
and expensive to the most simple. Conventional
sprayers and cultivation equipment are
affordable and suitable for most small farm
operations. Simple sprayers and cultivators may
be the only tools available. In certain cases,
with small acreage, hand labor may be the major
means of weed control especially if cost-free
family labor is available. Equipment designed
for hand operation could be very useful to these
farmers. Such equipment also could offer the
opportunity for more selective placement of
herbicides than would be possible with tractor
mounted equipment. For example, a self-feeding,
hand-held herbicide wiper utilizing a hockey
stick which was developed at the Appalachian
Fruit Research Station could be used for
applying a non-selective herbicide for control
of escaped weeds in many horticultural crops.

Much of the specialized equipment needed in
horticultural crops must be specially built.
Over-the-row spray booms which improve precision
and provide uniform coverage can be used to
spray both sides of a row crop ranging from
vegetables to tree fruits. Shields for lifting
and spraying herbicides beneath horticultural
crops are very useful tools. Injection
equipment for placing a herbicide beneath the
soil surface is a tool that allows certain
herbicides to be used in a different manner.
Equipment that places a protective layer of
activated charcoal above a seeded crop is
another example of equipment used to improve
selectivity. Special additives and spray tips
and spray heads that greatly reduce spray drift
are used by some small farmers. When controlled
release formulations of herbicides are
available, the small farmer with the specialty
crops will be the first to utilize them.
Granular formulations of herbicides greatly
increase the selectivity and are a very useful
tool to the small farmer.

Recently developed techniques of applying
non-selective herbicides to weeds growing taller
than the crop, utilizing either a wiper or a
recirculating sprayer has limited value in
horticultural crops. Even though a wiper can be
built by the farmer or purchased at a reasonable
price, it should not be considered as a basic
part of the weed control program. Severe
competition has occurred in many horticultural
crops before the necessary height differential
has been achieved for wiper applications. This
technique is a useful tool for treating
troublesome perennial weeds, however, it should
not be relied upon to replace conventional
practices for annual weed control.

Information Transfer

Small farm operations in the northeast vary
tremendously. Growing conditions range from

sandy coastal soils to the heavier piedmont
soils and from the short growing seasons of New
England to the relatively long seasons of
Virginia. Farming operations vary from
part-time to full-time and from technology
intensive to manual labor intensive.
Educational background and motivation of the
farmer also vary tremendously.

Given such great diversity of farming conditions
and philosophies there is obviously no single
weed control system which is suitable for all
northeast small farmers, but in most cases there
does exist a practical solution for specific
weed control problems. Most of the tools for
obtaining adequate weed control are
available--the problem becomes that of
transferring this information to the farmer.
This involves identifying the weeds present and
then tailoring a weed control and crop rotation
system which will provide both short-term and
long-term weed control.

The burden of information transfer falls on the
agricultural extension system and there is a
need for this system to reach out to small
farmers. A close relationship between research
and extension facilitates rapid transfer of new
knowledge. This interaction is beneficial to
both the researcher and the extension
specialist. If small farmer attitudes are
resistant to change or nurture excessively rigid
farming philosophies, they can only prevent the
requisite flow of information and ideas. If
extension specialists, researchers, and small
farmers actively seek advice and exchange ideas,
a major hurdle toward achieving good weed
control on small farms will be overcome. Only
through a vigorous information exchange system
can the results of future research be made
available to benefit the small farmer.



Jules Janick 1/

Genetic resistance is the most attractive method
of pest control provided resistant cultivars can
compete in the marketplace with standard cultivars.
The incorporation of genetic resistance is best
attempted for these pests and diseases which
limit present production. The objective of
incorporating genetic resistance to all present
and future pests is obviously unrealistic so
incorporation of pest resistance must be
considered as but one component of a pest
management system.

Keywords: Apple, Malus domestic, tomato,
Lycopersicon esculentum, plant genetics, plant
breeding, small farms.

1/ Professor, Department of Horticulture,
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907.


Success in the production of horticultural crops
demands constant and careful attention to the
control of a myriad of destructive diseases and
pests. There are two approaches to pest control.
One approach is directed at the pathogen or pest
itself and involves the use of techniques that
prevent or restrict invasion of the plant. Such
techniques interfere at some point with the
successful completion of some stage in the
"disease" cycle. This approach includes such
practices as legal control (quarantines,
inspections of plant materials), cultural control
roguingg, surgery, sanitation, rotations, special
growing techniques), physical controls (screens,
traps, hot water treatments), and chemical control
(pesticides, repellents). The other approach is
directed toward directing the plant's ability
to resist or at least tolerate intrusion of the
pathogen or pest through genetic resistance.
Genetic resistance varies from complete absence of
injury (immunity) through various degrees of
partial resistance. Tolerance is a type of
resistance in which the plant suffers some injury
but is able not only to survive but continues to
be reasonably productive. The lack of resistance
is referred to as susceptibility.

Various levels of resistance to viruses, bacteria,
fungi, nematodes, and insects, as well as rodents
and birds exists in agricultural crop plants
including fruit and vegetable crops. The nature
of plant resistance lies in structural
alterations or biochemical effects that either
prevent or discourage intrusion and persistence
of particular pathogens and pests. Some plants
show resistance to a whole group of pathogens or
pests; others have only a specific resistance to
a particular species, or race. When pathogen and
plant exists together in a very close relationship
for long periods of time it appears that the plant
evolves genetic resistance at the same time the
pathogen or pest evolves the genetic ability to
violate or overcome this resistance. Thus, the
spontaneous origin of new races of pathogens is
one of the major problems the plant breeder faces
in attempting to incorporate genetic resistance
into an improvement program.

The incorporation of genetic resistance would
appear to be the ideal solution to control pests.
Genetic resistance does not depend on the
vigilance of the grower but continues night and
day, day after day. Genetic resistance in a
stroke eliminates costly pesticides, pesticide
application equipment, and residue problems. Once
the new cultivar is produced the cost of control
is nil. However, it is clear that complete
dependence on genetic resistance is wishful
thinking. Total reliance on natural resistance
is based on the naive assumption that plant biotic
environment is static rather than dynamic. The
fact is that our crop plants feed not only humans
but a host of other organisms. New races of
pathogens and pests will continually appear and
any shield of resistance will be sequentially
challenged by new lances of increased pathogenicity
and virulence. Further new pests and diseases
will continually appear through introduction,
and it is unlikely, even though resistance may be

available, that all the resistances can be
combined together with acceptable quality and

Nevertheless, genetic resistance remains the
first line of defense upon which growers--large
or small--depend. The small grower, more
sensitive to short-term disasters, will find it
only prudent to rely on genetic resistance
whenever possible.

There are various limitations to the use of
natural resistance. These include:

1) Unavailability of practical levels of

2) Resistance available but not incorporated
into suitable cultivars.

3) Improbability of obtaining multiple

4) The development of pathogenic races
violating resistance.

5) Difficulties of cultivar shift in
perennial species.

6) Problems of combining resistance and
other horticultural or agronomic

It is now clear that in the choice of cultivar,
disease resistance must be balanced against
performance in the absence of the disease. It is
a truism that a disease-resistant cultivar that
produces an inferior product will be only valued
in time of epidemics. In the absence of the
pathogen, resistance will be quickly forgotten
and the cultivar will be discarded as a direct
consequence of natural selection by growers for
high performance.

The use and limitation of disease resistance can
best be discussed using two examples tomato and


The tomato, one of the most important vegetable
crops, has serious disease and pest problems.
Major diseases with sources of resistance are
presented in Table 1. The diseases most difficult
to control and hence the most critical are two
soil-borne diseases: fusarium wilt incited by
Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici and
verticillium wilt incited by Verticillium albo-

Field immunity to fusarium wilt was discovered in
a wild species Lycopersicon pimpinellifolium by
Bolin and Tucker in 1940. Resistance was
conditioned by a single dominant gene (I) and
rapidly incorporated into adapted genotypes.
'Pan American' was released in 1941 and now
practically all new cultivars have incorporated
this gene.

Table l.--Major Tomato Diseases, Pathogens, and Sources of Resistance (2).



Examples of

Fusarium wilt

Verticillium wilt

Bacterial wilt

Bacterial canker

Late blight

Early blight

Septoria leaf spot

Leaf mold

Gray leaf spot


Tomato mosaic

Spotted wilt

Curly top

Root knot

Fusarium oxysporum f. sp.
lycopersici (Sacc.)
Snyder & Hansen

Verticillium albo-atrum
Reinke & Berth

Pseudomonas solanacearum
(E.F. Sm.) E.F. Sm.

Corynebacterium michiganense
(E.F. Sm.) H.L. Jens

(Mont.) DBy

Alternaria solani
(Ell. & G. Martin) Sor.

Septoria lycopersici

Cladosporium fulvum Cke.

Stemphylium solani

Colletotrichum phomoides
(Sacc.) Chester

Tobacco mosaic virus

Spotted wilt virus

Curly top virus

Meloidogyne spp.

Pan American

VR Moscow

P.I. 127805A

Bulgarian 12

West Virginia 63

68B134 (foliage)
Southland (collar rot)

Targinnie Red

Waltham Mold
Proof Forcing


P.I. 272636

Ohio M-R9

Pearl Harbor





Recessive or


Dominant or

Dominant or
partially dominant





Dominant or

Dominant and

Dominant and


A new race of Fusarium (race 2) was soon found
that could attach the (I) gene but not until this
race became an economic problem in Florida in the
mid-1960s was there any serious concern.
Fortunately, independent resistance to race 2 was
available in several Plant Introduction
accessions and soon incorporated into breeding
lines. 'Walters' was the first cultivar release
to contain resistance to both races of Fusarium.

Verticillium wilt was differentiated from fusarium
wilt by W. F. Bewley in 1921. Various sources of
multigenic resistance were available but real
progress awaited the incorporation into breeding
lines of a single dominant gene for resistance
(Vr) originally derived from an accession
identified as 'Peru wild'. The first two cultivar
possessing verticillium resistance were 'Loran
Blood' and 'VR Moscow' released by 0. S. Cannon

in 1952. At present, fusarium and verticillium
resistance are being combined as a standard
procedure in most tomato breeding programs. Such
cultivars are often identified by the acronym VF.

Considerable progress has been achieved in the
development of resistance to other diseases in
tomato. Cultivars with resistance to such
diseases as nematodes, tobacco mosaic virus,
early blight, and bacterial wilt are being
released throughout the world but are not
generally available in a range of adapted
cultivars for specific areas of the United States.
Although genetic variability in resistance to
various insect pests has been identified there
has been no concerted effort to develop insect-
resistance in tomato.

The world-wide effort for incorporating genetic


disease resistance in tomato has been successful
in many areas, as follows:

1) Identification of genetic resistance to
most tomato diseases.

2) Determined mode of inheritance for
resistance of each disease.

3) Transfer of resistance to breeding lines
and a few cultivars.

4) Release of adapted cultivar with combined
resistance to verticillium and fusarium
(race 1) for the continental U.S.

Although the task is not complete at the present
time, small growers in the temperate U.S. do have
a wide choice of cultivars with combined fusarium
and verticillium resistance, diseases uncontrolled
by chemicals. Other pests and diseases must still
be controlled by other means. Further progress in
breeding should reduce, but probably not eliminate,
the dependence on chemical control.


There are serious problems in incorporating
disease resistance into perennial fruit crops,
such as apple. As appearance and quality is the
most important criteria, the fruit of any
disease-resistant cultivar must be fully
competitive on the market. However, the present
marketing of apples is based on established
cultivars which dampens enthusiasm for cultivar
change. Further, since apple, as most perennial
fruit crops, are long-lived and slow into coming
into bearing, growers are reluctant to make
rapid changes in cultivars. In order to be useful
a new disease-resistant orchard must maintain its
resistance for many years but clonally propagated
fruit cultivars are especially vulnerable to the
occurrence and build up of new races. Most
discouraging, the sources of resistance to many
diseases are found in wild species with commercially
unacceptable fruit, sometimes pea-sized and
unpalatable, which demands several generational
cycles of crossing and selection (1). Clearly
disease-resistant fruit breeding is for those
with persistence and not for the faint of heart.

The basic concepts of disease resistant breeding
of perennial fruit crops are the same as in
annual crops but special features of perennials
make disease resistant breeding a formidable
endeavor. Breeders of fruit species do face
special problems not common in other agricultural
crops. These include lengthy juvenile periods
and long generation time, large plant size, high
heterozygosity, and polyploidy. This is somewhat
counter-balanced by vegetative propagation which
enables individual genotypes to be perpetuated
intact in spite of heterozygosity.

Practically all of the commercial apples are a
result of chance selection of desirable seedlings.
The major cultivars ('Delicious' and its strains,
'Golden Delicious', 'McIntosh', 'Rome' and
'Jonathan') possess unique combinations of

desirable traits selected from literally hundreds
of thousands of seedlings. However, each has
serious faults which require improvements, among
which are disease and pest susceptible. For
example, all of the leading apple cultivars are
susceptible to apple scab incited by Venturia
inaequalis (Cke.) Wint. and fireblight incited by
Erwinia amylovora (Burr.) Winslow et al.;
'McIntosh' is extremely susceptible to scab and
'Jonathan' is extremely susceptible to fireblight.

A further complication is rootstock. Production
of apples is based on a multiple component tree--
usually a rootstock of one genotype often
selected to control tree size, and a scion
selected for fruit characters. More complicated
possibilities exist; the most complex is a
seedling root, a bodystock, a dwarfing interstock,
and a scion cultivar but the problems of virus,
incompatibility, and expense make such trees of
questionable value. Thus,disease-resistant
rootstocks and scion cultivars are needed.

In spite of these difficulties, success has been
achieved in breeding apples with field immunity
to scab. The techniques in the identification,
capture, and transmission of the gene that
confers resistance, a remarkable story, is the
result of a cooperative breeding effort between
Purdue University, Rutgers University and the
University of Illinois. Individuals who have
carried on this program include E. B. Williams,
F. H. Emerson, and myself of Purdue University,
L. F. Hough and Catherine Bailey (retired) of
Rutgers University, D. F. Dayton and J. B. Mowry
(retired) of the University of Illinois and the
late J. R. Shay of Purdue University and the
University of Oregon.

The gene for scab resistance used in this program
was first identified by Dr. L. F. Hough from a
collection of Malus species and hybrids assembled
by Professor C. S. Crandall at the University of
Illinois in the early 1900s. Apparently the
"rediscovery" of Mendel's Law's in the first
years of the 20th century prompted Professor
Crandall to attempt to relate the inheritance of
apple to the fledging science of genetics.
Ironically, Dr. Crandall retired in 1927 thinking
he had failed to find a single character under
single gene control.

In 1942 Dr. L. F. Hough joined the Department of
Horticulture at the University of Illinois and
"inherited" the breeding material left by
Dr. Crandall. As a result of a severe epidemic
of apple scab defoliating all susceptible unsprayed
apple trees, one progeny showed an almost 1:1
segregation for scab resistance. This progeny
was derived from the cross (Malus floribunda 821 x
Rome Beauty) x (M. floribunda 821 x Rome Beauty).
Further crosses with two resistant selections from
this cross (F2 26829 and F2 26830) indicated that
resistance was conferred by a single dominant gene
subsequently named V (Venturia resistant from
floribunda). The 1:f ratio apparently resulted
from the following cross:

Vf Vf x Vf vf 1Vf Vf : Ivf Vf

It was later demonstrated that intercrossing plants
heterozygous for resistance would produce the
classic ratio of 3 resistant:1 susceptible.

Subsequently studies by J. R. Shay, E. B. Williams,
and D. F. Dayton indicated over 20 Malus species
and hybrids possessed genetic resistance to apple
scab (3). Further some of these sources were
shown to have definite reaction types e.g. a pit
type, a non-pit type, a weakly sporulating type,
etc. (3). Eventually through a series of inter-
crosses (tests of allelism) it was established
that many of these sources were due to the same
gene. Eventually 6 different genes (defined gene
pools) were isolated as follows:







Original source

M. floribunda

M. micromalus

A Russian apple

M. baccata jackii

Hansen's baccata #2

Antonovka (pit)

However, the development of races of Venturia has
eliminated some of these genes from the program.
Thus, a race has been found (race 5) that can
overcome the V (micromalus pit type reaction).
The V gene however, has not been attacked by
fungaf mutation and is the mainstay of the present

The V gene had many desirable attributes: 1) it
showed no evidence of being violated by fungal
races, 2) it was not linked to any undesirable
effects, 3) it acted as a true dominant in the
diploid, triploid or tetraploid condition, and
4) it was found in 2 selections, F2 26839 and
F 26830, that were horticulturally advanced over
tie original species. (Malus floribunda 821 has
tiny fruit about 1 cm in diameter.) These two
selections formed the basis of the present scab
resistant program in apples.

The transfer of the dominant gene for scab
resistance was obtained by a series of sexual
hybridization of genotypes heterozygous for the
Vf gene to adapted, high quality but scab-
susceptible genotypes (vf v ). In such a cross,
half of the progeny contain the dominant V gene
in the heterozygous condition and can be nearly
identified in the seedling stage when innoculated
with spores of the cultured organism.

In making crosses, the scab resistant genotype can
be either the seed or pollen parent but is usually
the pollen parent because the scab resistant
selections are usually small trees which will not
support a heavy crop. However, abundant pollen
from these selections can be easily collected,
stored, and shipped. This enabled the actual
cross to be made in adapted, frost-free
locations over wide areas of North America.

Seed from controlled crosses made each spring have
been assembled at Purdue University where they are
germinated after stratification and then screened
for scab resistance in the greenhouse during the
winter in the seedling stage. This phase of the
program is under the able direction of
Dr. E. B. Williams of the Department of Botany
and Plant Pathology. Resistant plants are then
moved directly to the field (or nursery). Thus,
only scab resistant plants are grown to fruiting
in the field at close spacing; selections are
then made to provide the best parents for the
next generation.

The crossing process must be repeated with the
most horticulturally desirable of the scab
resistant seedlings. After 3-4 generations this
process in essence "captures" the dominant scab
resistant gene from Malus floribunda 821 and
dilutes and eventually replaces all the other
genes of Malus floribunda with the genes of the
high-quality, adapted but scab-susceptible types.
These genes are recombined into new combinations
to give new types of apple. To avoid inbreeding
backcrossingg is equivalent to selfing in
bringing about homozygosis) the high quality-
susceptible genotypes (equivalent to the
recurrent parent in a classical backcross program)
and varied each generation.

The program has been very productive. By 1967
five selections with promise were identified as
"Cooperative" selections for grower test. At
present (1981) 22 such selections have been
released and the following named: 'Prima' (Coop 2),
'Priscilla' (Coop 4), 'Sir Prize' (Coop 5), and
'Jonafree' (Coop 22), and 'Redfree' (Coop 13). A
selection tested in France was named 'Priam' and
a scab-susceptible seedling from this program was
named 'Viking' by the Wisconsin Agricultural
Experiment Station. Although the program was
conceived to increase grower efficiency by reducing
fungicidal sprays the impact of the environmental
movement and the current energy crisis has greatly
increased the relevance of this program.

The success of this modified backcross program was
due to a number of factors which should be

1) A distinct horticultural advantage is
immediately conferred to any seedling
that possessed the Vf gene.

2) The serendipitous transfer of other
desirable genes of Malus floribunda
such as genes for attractive fruit finish.

3) Unconscious selection for precocity by
the continual crossing of selections
which fruit in the early years after

4) Selection for earliness and tolerance
to other diseases and pests. Disease
tolerance is easily recognized because
scab resistance makes it possible to
grow seedlings without fungicide

Equally important has been the bonus achieved by
the coordination of apple breeding that this
cooperative program engendered. The program is
now formally and informally cooperative between
many apple breeding programs throughout the world.
In 1963 an informal organization known as the
Apple Breeders Cooperative was formed which
coordinates research effort among apple breeders
with special attention to disease resistance.
As a consequence of this effort a number of
disease resistant programs have been organized
throughout the United States and Canada.

Apple trees with immunity or high levels of disease
resistance are of obvious value to the homeowners
in assuring them of greater success with less
effort. The advantages to the commercial grower
include the following:

a) Practically the complete elimination of
sprays on young, non-bearing trees.
Until trees begin to bear the only
spray applications needed would be for
the control of mites or scale insects.

b) Reduced cost of spray chemicals resulting
from drastic reductions in the number and
type of fungicides required. In most
instances this would mean no need for
fungicides until the late cover sprays
when summer diseases may need control
measures. However, this assumes that
scab-resistant apples be grown in
relatively large blocks.

c) Reduced cost of production resulting
from savings of labor, gasoline, and
equipment maintenance expenses due to
the reduced number of sprays required.

d) Increased pack out of saleable fruit
resulting from the elimination of fruit
losses due to scab infection.

e) Reduced problems with spray residues on
the fruit and in the environment, an
item of ever increasing importance in
grower relations with the consuming

It is, of course, obvious to all growers that it
is not enough to simply have these new disease
resistant apple cultivars and be able to produce
good quality fruit at reduced cost of production.
The fruit must also be sold through the market
channels and eventually to the consumer. This
is where the major "road block" presently exists.
It is difficult to sell new, unknown cultivars
in large quantities to a consuming public that
has been heavily preconditioned to purchase
'Delicious', 'Golden Delicious', 'Jonathan', or
'McIntosh'. For any new cultivar to become
popular with the consumer and eventually create
a market demand it must be either (a) similar to
an existing popular cultivar and marketed under
that name or (b) possess such outstanding
characteristics of tree growth, yield and high
fruit quality that it will be widely accepted
by both the grower and the consumer. Several of

the new apple scab resistant cultivars have
potential for local markets. Such cultivars
would be especially adapted for homeowners or
those small growers who market their fruit to the
consumer via roadside markets or "U-pick"
marketing procedures. In this instance, disease-
resistant apples should prove of highest value to
small farms.


1. Janick, J. and J. N. Moore. 1975. Advances
in fruit breeding. Purdue University Press.
West Lafayette, Indiana.

2. Webb, R. E., T. H. Barsdale, and A. K. Stoner.
Tomatoes p. 344-361. In: R. R. Nelson.
Breeding plants for disease resistance. Penn.
State University Press, University Park.

3. Williams, E. B. and J. Kuc. 1969. Resistance
in Malus to Venturia inaequalis. Annu. Rev.
Phytopath. 7:223-246.



James P. Tette 1/

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a developing
concept in agriculture which seeks to optimize
pest control in relation to the total plant
production system in light of economic, social,
and environmental conditions. While pesticides
continue to be one of the primary tools in crop
protection, IPM programs seek to develop methods
which minimize the need for this type of control.
The education and service components of IPM must
be carefully designed or they will overlook the
needs of the small farmer. The Cornell IPM effort
seeks to develop concepts and educational aides
which are applicable to the small farm as well as
large operations. Most of the IPM projects in New
York operate at the farm level where farmer coop-
eration and informational needs help shape the
form of the program. Components of IPM education
and delivery developed in the program include pest
fact sheets, visual guide charts, crop protection
manuals, a computer-based information system, IPM
workshops, and training schools. The changing
informational needs of small farmers and the new
forms of information delivery have created new
challenges and opportunities for extension and
research through IPM programs.

Keywords: Environmental, extension, Integrated
Pest Management (IPM), Northeast, pest control,
pesticides, plant protection, small farms.

1/ Cornell IPM Program Leader, New York State
Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva, N.Y. 14456


The goal of integrated pest management (IPM) is the
optimization of pest control in relation to the
total plant production system in light of economic,
social, and environmental conditions. In this
approach, consideration is given to all types of
pests which adversely affect plant production.
Pilot IPM projects are developed to prevent or
mitigate losses caused by pests through the use of
biological, cultural, chemical, and other methods
of control. Ultimately, IPM programs seek to
provide users and advisors with information and
training in the principles and application of IPM.
Each IPM project examines the pest problems on a
farm and the plant protection decisions a farmer is
faced with to determine if those decisions can be
improved in the light of new information. In many
ways, those involved in IPM programs are research-
ing extension methods of educating and assisting
farmers so that they will get the most out of their
operation with the least amount of chemical-energy

During the past nine years, Cornell IPM pilot
projects in tree fruit, vegetables, and forage
crops have addressed the needs of small farmers as
well as those of larger operations. Many of the
participants in the projects have been small
farmers, i.e., they provide most of the labor and
management on their farms and are dependent upon
their operation for a significant portion of their
income. Some of the farms have been small from an
acreage and an income point of view. In developing
an IPM approach, we have tried to avoid the danger
of believing that modern pest control requires
sophisticated monitoring or decision-making equip-
ment such as computers. We have also tried to
avoid the danger of focusing all of our efforts
into developing one form of IPM implementation such
as through a consultant selling IPM services to a
farmer. Thus, one perspective has been to develop
the necessary IPM information and guidelines for a
small farmer to use in implementing his own IPM
program. A sort of "do-it-yourself" approach
where the technology has a low capital-to-labor
ratio. In fact, most of the time, the IPM approach
emphasizes labor. Another perspective, no less
important than the first, has been to develop a
system which blends pest, crop, and weather
monitoring with other management practices into an
IPM service that can be purchased by small farmers.
This approach is more comprehensive than the first
in that it includes management practices such as
record keeping, calibration of spray equipment,
consideration of various pesticide application
methods, consideration of various pest management
strategies, and evaluation of the crop at harvest.

While both of these perspectives are unique in
terms of implementation, they seek to answer some
very fundamental questions; questions about pests
that have been overlooked to a great extent since
the advent of synthetic chemical pesticides;
questions that were ignored because pesticides
were in a sense the miracle drugs for agriculture.
Make no mistake, pesticides are still one of the
most important tools we have in our war against
pests. However, through IPM, they can be used more
judiciously than ever before.

One key element of IPM that was missing on most
was the lack of someone looking at the crop in a

systematic way to observe pest and crop development.
Pesticides covered over so many potential errors in
controlling pests that farmers stopped looking.
What we have had to do in the Cornell program is to
emphasize that someone should be in the field or
orchard looking to see what is happening. In many
respects, the IPM approach involves trading chemical-
energy inputs for labor inputs. However, in empha-
sizing systematic observations all IPM programs
take on the challenge of providing comprehensive
guidelines for the observer. Once the observer is
in place, the questions that arise are: 1) How do I
make my observations? 2) Where do I look for a
pest? 3) What does it look like or what should it
look like when I find it? 4) When is the best time
to look? 5) What does it mean when I find it?
6) What can I do about it? 7) What will the long
term effects of weather and crop growth have on this
pest? There are, obviously, more questions that
could be stated here, but those that are listed are
the center of our current research efforts in IPM.
At present, basic research efforts in IPM include
understanding the best way to sample a pest and
observe a crop. To make maximum use of the obser-
vers time research is attempting to pinpoint the
best time and place to look for pests. For example,
studies are underway in several crops to understand
the relationships of crop growth, pest biology, and
weather. This is leading to methods of alerting
agents and farmers to the best time to look for a
given pest. Research is also being conducted to
relate the levels of pests observed to the need for
action. In addition, basic research is being
conducted on control methods that offer an alterna-
tive to chemical pesticides. In a nutshell, basic
research is addressing sampling methods, the long
term effects of weather on crop and pest biology,
and the use of biological control agents such as
beneficial insects. It is also examining the use of
pest resistant varieties, the use of reduced rates
of pesticides, and the use of cultural methods as a
form of pest control.

To appreciate how all this basic research is moving
down to the small farmer, we really must examine the
ways in which we are researching implementation
methods. To do this, we should keep in mind that
implementation does not only take place at the farm
level, but must also take place in the extension
structure. While extension agents should continue
to deliver timely information to farmers across the
radio and through newsletters, they must have more
timely and interpretable information available to
them. For example, most of our experience with an
excellent extension agent staff in New York indi-
cates that agents have been handicapped to a great
extent by not knowing when and where to look for
pest problems or, in fact, how to look for them
except in an after-the-fact mode. Consequently,
much of their information to growers is of a prevent-
ative nature, i.e., "Now is the time when this pest
usually occurs", or "I've seen this pest causing some
problems so you had better apply your control meas-
ures". Because of the lack of information to the
questions outlined earlier, many extension agents
have been forced into a "spray" or "control" mode.
It is only recently, as research begins to answer
some of the questions outlined above, that agents
are changing their approach and encouraging growers
to make frequent observations on their crops and
relate what they see to other factors.

One more point that must be made here is that all
of the finest research in the world will not lead
to a great deal of progress at the farm level
unless there is some type of return from the farm,
back to research. Our studies in New York show
that researchers are often handicapped in making
advances because of a lack of feedback on their
current strategies. Thus, some of the challenge
faced in implementing an IPM system in New York
revolves around creating the methods and means of
returning the results of implementation back to
research. For example, a crop protection scientist
may develop a new control strategy for a pest
which, although logical to him, is in conflict with
strategies for a pest of a different kind, or is in
conflict with a grower's economic ability to im-
plement the strategy. Through the IPM effort,
these problems can be quickly pointed out to
research for strategy modification or for incorpor-
ation into future research priorities.

The best way to understand the results of the New
York IPM effort and how it pertains to small farms
is to review some examples. Pilot projects are
created at the farm level to explore and develop
the various components of IPM. Scouting services
are often provided as part of the project because
of the need to develop a demonstration project
which satisfies rigid operational requirements.
The early years of a project demonstrate the
possibilities of IPM to those in research and
extension as much as to the farmer. Furthermore,
the IPM projects document the complexities a farmer
faces in assimilating new technologies and in
changing attitudes about pest control. After a
period of several years, the pilot projects reach a
point where an IPM approach is available, and
farmers can be instructed in the methods of
carrying out their own program or can be directed
to an IPM service organization.

Among the implementation aspects that are
researched are methods of obtaining the greatest
amount of pest and crop information through the
least amount of time spent in the field. Most of
the current results of these studies have been
realized through farmer cooperation. For example,
farmers have allowed project personnel to conduct
commercial scale studies of the levels or numbers
of pests which cause economic damage. Similar
studies have explored the use of biological
control agents such as ladybird beetles and
predatory mites in commercial settings. The
unique aspect of this type of research is that all
of these studies are influenced and shaped by the
day-to-day operation of the farm. This approach
is presently being referred to as the farming
systems approach where the primary aim is to
increase the overall productivity of the farming
system. One pilot project in New York which did
not start with scouts was conducted with alfalfa
growers. Through extension agents and printed
materials, growers were instructed in pest sampling
and identification. Each week during May and June,
participating growers received a post card from
their extension agent alerting them to alfalfa
weevil development. When the weevil was in its
most damaging stage, farmers knew it was time to
sample their fields for this pest. Sampling
involved walking a 100' circle in the alfalfa field
and shaking 30 alfalfa plants over a 2 gallon pail.

The larval count and the height of the alfalfa
plant were then marked on a chart. With a little
help from the chart, the farmers decided to harvest,
spray, or do nothing to the crop for the weevil.
This is the fastest and easiest IPM decision-making
method developed in the Cornell program.

Unfortunately, farmers can't see every pest problem
in time to react to it or before it causes economic
damage. Some pests, especially plant diseases,
appear quickly and usually at or near damaging
levels. Most farmers have traditionally found that
the best remedy for diseases was a preventive
control measure. However, scientists have found
that the conditions for several plant diseases can
be effectively monitored and even predicted through
careful analysis of weather conditions. For
example, potato late blight infections can be
forecast by monitoring certain weather conditions.
Data from a hygrothermograph can be worked into
simple mathematical formulas which forecast either
the need for control or the suggestion to take no
action, Similarly, conditions for apple scab
infections can also be tracked with weather equip-
ment, and control measures timed more accurately.
Thus, it is now possible to react to some pest
problems when conditions are favorable, as opposed
to applying control measures in anticipation of
conditions which may, in fact, never materialize.
In these two examples, a pesticide is still the
best means of control, but improved timing usually
means less pesticide in the environment.

In one of the New York vegetable projects,
decisions for control of a plant disease are based
upon weather observations coupled with observations
on soil moisture and crop growth. Each of these
factors is recorded on a chart which assists the
farmer in decision-making. Other elements in the
vegetable projects include the use of sequential
sampling procedures which allow an observer to make
a decision about pest densities without sampling
large portions of a field. The projects also
introduced pesticide rating charts to assist a
farmer in choosing the proper chemical for the pest
problems at hand. Scouting reports on the levels
of pests each week provide data which can be used
to rate the performance of pesticides under
commercial conditions. This, in turn, has led to
pesticide rating charts for most pest situations.
Still other aspects of the vegetable projects
include the use of pheromone, blacklight, and
sticky traps to monitor insect activity. This
activity is recorded on visual pest progression
charts which provide a farmer with information on
pest levels. The projects also provide information
on the proper timing of cultural methods such as
cultivating which help keep insect and weed pests
in check.

Developments in the tree fruit project include an
entire system of tools and techniques which a
farmer can follow to implement IPM. The underlying
principle for making this system work is based upon
a sound understanding of a farmer and his operation.
Once the fruit IPM system was in place, several
results were realized. The most significant being
that fruit quality and quantity remained the same
over a six year period while the farmer realized
economic gains through reduced pesticide-energy
inputs, and at the same time, reduced the level of

pesticides being introduced into the environment.
In developing IPM principles and practices for
tree fruit, we have found that even the small
farmer would rather hire-in the IPM service rather
than try to take time to do it himself. One reason
for this is that small farmers like receiving the
individual attention that an IPM service provides.
Since some small farmers are part-time farmers,
they often cannot be in the orchard or field at the
right time. It was also observed that small
farmers were looking for the perspective of an IPM
advisor who visits many farms and sees the inten-
sity of various pest populations on these farms.

Implementation of IPM is in constant evolution.
Some of our current efforts revolve around
assisting farmers in the organization of an IPM
scouting service. For example, in fruit, the IPM
program has helped growers organize a cooperative
for pest management services. This cooperative
will hire a farm advisor to call on each member
for IPM services. Many of the members are small
farmers who plan to purchase supplies and share
other services through this cooperative.

All of the IPM projects have been supported through
several common thrusts. To help address questions
of pest identification, the IPM effort in New York
has developed single page fact sheets for many of
the common insect, weed, and disease pests found on
various crops. These fact sheets provide colored
pictures of each stage of the pest along with
pictures of damage caused by the pest. In addition,
the sheets contain a brief description of the
biology of the pest, when to look for it, where to
look for it, and the actual size of it when it is
found. Most IPM projects are beginning to furnish
farmers with tables indicating the numbers of pests
needed to cause economic damage. Comprehensive IPM
manuals have been developed which cover all of the
crop protection aspects from sampling and scouting
guidelines to the use of biological and chemical
control tactics. The IPM program also conducts in-
depth workshops and on-farm demonstrations of
methods and techniques. In many ways, this may
appear to be retracing the steps of the "old"
extension agent who attempted to place the latest
technology on the farm. Nonetheless, it appears
that a return to some of the traditional extension
practices must be made to capture the essential
ingredients and valuable technologies that were
discarded with the advent of synthetic pesticides.

Finally, it would be worthwhile to spend a few
moments looking at one other aspect of IPM. If
crop protection is going to move into an IPM mode,
there must be a dynamic assembly of information and
a rapid transferral to user groups. Some of this
will be done at the farm level as already discussed.
However, some of it will come about through the use
of one of the newer tools in agriculture, namely,
the computer. Large and small computers will be
used to analyze and interpret information and
deliver it quickly to the decision point. In New
York, we are presently using computers to assist
our extension agents in focusing many facts on the
decision points of crop protection.

Through our computer-based information system
called SCAMP, we are assembling reports from
observers in the field, weather data, news items

from research, pesticide registration information,
pest management strategies, forecasts of pest,
crop, and weather developments, and several other
factors. This information is available to exten-
sion agents at computer terminals in their offices
for use in radio shows, recorded telephone messages,
and newsletters. Although we presently allow
farmers and agribusiness personnel to use SCAMP, we
have not geared our system to deliver directly to
them. What form this type of technology will be
in, if and when it reaches the small farm, is for
others to decide. Small farmers may find home
computers to be as handy as a tractor in tending
the needs of the farm. However, we do believe that
a small farmer, using new and developing IPM tech-
nologies from extension, will not be forced to rely
on expensive equipment or sophisticated forms of
information. If anything, a small farmer will have
to be a keen observer and a good record keeper.
All it may take to make better crop protection
decisions in the long run may be a simple set of
observations on crops, pests, and weather, coupled
with a few interpretive charts.

In summary, the IPM implementation efforts in New
York have attempted to assemble the tools and
techniques needed to conduct IPM on small farms.
The Cornell program has not centered merely on the
farmer, but has tried to improve the structures
from which the farmer obtains information, and to
improve the information itself.



James A. Duke-/

With smaller markets than conventional crops,
herbs are a natural candidate for small farmers to
consider. Ranging from tropical Hawaii to arctic
Alaska, America can grow any herb or spice, now
grown elsewhere. Hundreds of herbal products are
imported into the United States. Assuming that,
in more cases than not, intercropping yields more
total biomass, crop, and money than monocropping,
the monetary value of herbs is indicated. Many
aromatic herbs contain compounds said to allevi-
ate disease, insect and/or weed problems. More
than fifty such herbs are specifically mentioned.

Keywords: Essential oils, Fungi, Herbs, Insects,
Intercropping, Nematodes, Nitrogen, Small Farm,
Spice, and Weeds.

Chief, Economic Botany Laboratory, USDA,
Northeastern Region, Beltsville, Maryland 20705.



There are many definitions of herb 1) a non-woody
plant, 2) a culinary or medicinal plant or 3) any
useful plant. But all plants are useful in one way
or another. To me, an herb is a nonconventional
crop, not primarily a fiber, food, or fodder, with
an odd use, as culinary, dye, medicinal, etc.
There are unusual herbal uses of conventional crops,
e.g. the use of corn silks as a diuretic. Not all
herbs are aromatic, but many are. They are often
used as intercrops by small farmers and hobbyist
alike. For example, many Europeans still intercrop
basil and tomatoes, believing that they make good
companions in the field as well as in the pot.
There are also many systems of intercropping, one
plant alternating with another in the row, or with
rows or tiers of rows alternating with rows or
tiers of rows, or with rings of so-called repellant
species surrounding less repellant species. In one
poppy field in Laos, I found a hodgepodge of more
than 25 economic plants all intercropped (6). Mar-
ihuana encircled a Meo poppy field, reflecting local
belief that the plants repelled insects and/or gra-
zing ruminants. Aromatic intercrops may increase
the yields of the small farmer, while decreasing
the costs. Often herbs are higher priced items than
conventional crops, yielding less biomass but more


Recently (July 13, 1981), the Chemical Marketing
Reporter ran an informative article entitled HERB
LAND BOOM. According to the article, the US Herb
Market relies on domestic production for about 35%
of its needs. Three growers produce nearly all the
dried herbs from California, which reported more
than 1,000,000 pounds dried herb produced in 1978.
Among others, they produce basil, chervil, corian-
der, dill, marjoram, oregano, parsley, rosemary,
sage, savory, tarragon, and thyme, all of which I
have grown satisfactorily on my small farm in Howard
County, Maryland. Nearly all are aromatic inter-
crops, ideally suited for the small farmer. Prices
in 1979 were ca $1000/ton for basil, ca $400/ton
for coriander, $700/ton for dillseed, $1000/ton for
marjoram, $2000/ton for oregano, $1000/ton for par-
sley, $700/ton for rosemary, $2500/ton for sage,
$2000/ton for savory, $5000/ton for tarragon, and
$1500/ton for thyme (10). All can be grown by the
small farmer in Maryland or California or for that
matter in every state of the Union during summer.
Just last month I harvested many of these and sev-
eral others, grown between grapes and blueberries,
as well as between row crops. In the Chemical
Marketing Reporter prices for hundreds of herbal or
natural products imported into the United States are
quoted. In many cases the source, poundage, and
consignee are indicated.


It is often surprising to the uninitiated to rea-
lize the value of such obscure economic plants as
spices and essential oil plants. In 1979, the
United States exported nearly 10,000 MT of essen-

tial oils with a value of $85 million, up from 1978
exports of closer to 8000 MT valued at $80,000,000
(9). Conversely the US imported about 9000 MT
worth more than $100 million in 1979, compared with
closer to 7000 MT worth slightly less than $100
million in 1978. US 1979 imports are shown on
Table 1.

US imports of specified condiments, seasonings and
flavoring materials (see Table 2) in 1979 were nearly
150,000 MT worth $200 million, only slightly lower
than the record 1978 level. US exports in 1979
fell to 10,719 TIT worth about $20 million compared
with 1978 shipments of 11,357 MT worth $20.3 million

All told these species average little more than a
dollar per kilo. US yields average out, at least
among the leading California dealers, close to a
ton per hectare.

Just before Time Inc. closed it, the Washington
Star issued its 81 Cookbook Part 2 (July 26, 1981)
consisting of winning recipes from the readers of
the Washington Star. Among the first 100, almost
all contained one or more herbal condiments or
spices, over and above salt and pepper (black
pepper in general considered a spice not an herb).
More than 40 different herbs and botanical condi-
ments were cited in the first hundred recipes, and
several had five or more herbs in a single recipe.
On the other hand curry and fivespice represent
combinations of several herbal products.

Allspice occurred in only one recipe of the first
hundred, (meatpie); basil in 5 (artichoke, chicken,
spaghetti, veal, zucchini ; bay in 4 (bean, lamb,
shrimp, zucchini ; capers in 2 (artichoke, crab);
caraway in 2 (liptauer, vegetable dish); cayenne in
4 (mushroom, cheeseball, gumbo, salmon); celery in
more than 10 (beef, chicken, crab, gumbo, lamb,
meatball, sausage, shrimp, zucchini ; celery salt in
2 (celery, crab); chives in 4 (giblets, lobster,
shrimp, vegetable), cinnamon in 4 (chicken, cran-
berry, hamburger, veal); cloves in 3 (chicken, cran-
berry, ham); cumin in 2 (chicken, tofu); curry in 3
(crab, curry, spinach), fennel in 1 (veal); file in
3 (gumbo, rice); fivespice in 1 (chicken), garlic
in >35 (artichoke, bean, chicken, crab, fish,
guacamole, gumbo, ham, lamb, liver, meatballs, mush-
rooms, pate, porkchop, seafood, seafood creole,
shrimp, steak, tahini, vegetable veal, vegetarian
lasagna, and zucchini ; ginger in 4 (chicken, pork-
chop), hickory chips in 1 (porkchops); horseradish
in 4 (chicken, salmon, shrimp); juniper berries in
1 porkchopp); marjoram in 2 (liver, porkchop); mint
in 1 (hamburger); mustard in >10 (chicken, crab,
ham, hamloaf, liptauer, liver, omelet, porkchop,
quiche, shrimp, sloppyjoe); nutmeg in 3 (giblets,
lamb, veal); onion in >35 (artichoke, bean, beef-
pie, beefroast, brisket, cabbage, caviar, celery,
cheese, cheeseball, chicken, chile, crab, curry,
eggplant, guacamole, gumbo, hamburger, lamb, lipta-
uer, liver, meatball, meatpie, mushroom, omelet,
port, porkchop, salmon, sausage, seafood, shrimp,
sloppyjoe, spinach, stew, tofu, veal, vegetable,
vegetarian dishes, and zucchini ; oregano in 8 (arti-
choke, chicken, eggplant, scallop, vegetarian lasa-
gna, zucchini ; paprika in >10 (bean, celery, chic-
ken, liptauer, omelet, pork, seafood, shrimp, spare-

Table 1. US Essential Oil Imports (1979)1/

Value per
Import Total Value Kilogram
Common Name Scientific Name (Kilograms) ($) ($)

bitter almond oil
anise oil
bergamot oil
oil of camphor

cedar leaf

oil of cornmint
oil of eucalyptus
oil of geranium
oil of grapefruit
oil of lavender
oil of lemon
oil of lemongrass
oil of lignaloe or
bois de rose
oil of lime

oil of neroli or
orange flower
oil of nutmeg
oil of onion and garlic


oil of patchouli

attar of rose

oil of ylang ylang

other essential oils

1/ Based on Reference (9).

Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D.A. Webb 54,133
Pimpinella anisum L. 34,049
Citrus sp. 29,424
Cinnamomum camphora (L.) J.S.
Presl 37,692
Carum carvi L. 10,349
Cinnamomum aromaticum Nees 68,397
Juniperus spp. 7,724
Juniperus spp. 47,180
Cinnamomum verum J.S. Presl 26,474
Cymbopogon nardus (L.) Rendle 645,642
Citrus spp. 22,079
Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merr.
Perry 781,761
Mentha arvensis L. 208,349
Eucalyptus spp. 277,456
Pelargonium spp. 62,570
Citrus paradisi Macfad. 27,387
Lavandula spp. 140,125
Citrus limon (L.) Burm. f. 673,264
Cymbopogon spp. 179,698

Ocotea sp? 83,985
Citrus aurantiifolia (Christm.)
Swingle 813,836

Citrus aurantium L. 162
Myristica fragrans Houtt. 151,591
Allium cepa L. and Allium
sativum L. 4,213
Citrus sp. 2,755,290
Origanum sp. 6,385
Iris x germanica L. 351
Cymbopogon martinii (Roxb.)
W. Wats. 12,758
Pogostemon cablim (Blanco)
Benth. 237,949
Mentha x piperita L. 3,418
Citrus sp. 159,145
Pinus sp. 1,992
Pinus sp. 12,986
Rosa sp. 981
Rosmarinus officinalis L. 60,359
Santalum album L. 32,716
Sassafras albidum (Nutt.) Nees 283,642
Mentha spicata L. 1,885
Thymus vulgaris L. 8,589
Vetiveria zizanioides (L.) Nash
ex Small 78,744
Cananga odorata (Lam.) Hook.fil.
& Thoms. 50,410























Table 2.- US Condiment Imports (1979)1/

Value per
Import Total Value Kilogram
Common Name Scientific Name (Kilograms) ($) ($)

caraway seed
cardamom seed
celery seed

cumin seed
dill seed
fennel seed
dehydrated garlic
leaves of laurel
marj oram
mint leaf
mustard seed
dehydrated onions
origanum leaves

pepper (black)
sesame seed
vanilla beans
mixed spices

Pimenta dioica (L.) Merr.
Pimpinella anisum L.
Ocimum basilicum L.
Capparis spinosa L.
Capsicum spp.
Carum carvi L.
Elettaria cardamomum (L.) Maton
Cinnamomum aromaticum Nees
Apium graveolens L.
Cinnamomum verum J.S. Presl
Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merr.
& Perry
Coriandrum sativum L.
Cuminum cyminum L.

Anethum graveolens L.
Foeniculum vulgare Mill.
Allium sativum L.
Zingiber officinale Roscoe
Laurus nobilis L.
Myristica fragrans Houtt.
Origanum majorana L.
Mentha spicata L.
Brassica spp.
Myristica fragrans Houtt.
Allium cepa L.
Origanum spp.
Capsicum sp.
Petroselinum crispum (Mill.)
Nym. ex A.W. Hill
Piper nigrum L.
Piper nigrum L.
Papaver somniferum L.
Rosmarinus officinalis L.
Salvia officinalis L.
Satureja spp.
Sesamum indicum L.
Artemisia dracunculus L.
Thymus vulgaris L.
Curcuma domestic Val.
Vanilla planifolia Andr.

1/ Based on Reference (10).










rib); parsley in 25 (artichoke, bean, beefpic,
chicken, cornish hen, crab, curry, fish, gumbo,
liver, lobster, meatball, mushroom, lamb, pork,
porkchop, salmon, scallop, shrimp, spaghetti, vege-
tarian lasagna, zucchini ; pepper (green) in 7
(cheeseball, crab, gumbo, omelet, seafood creole,
shrimp, veal); pepper (chili, hot, or jalapeno); in
10 (artichoke, brisket, chicken, liver, shrimp,
sparerib, tofu, vegetable); pepper (red) in 3 (gum-
bo, liver, shrimp), pimiento in 2 (artichoke,
cheeseball); rosemary in 3 (lamb, scallops, seafood
creole); sage in 1 porkchopp); scallions in 5 (arti-
choke, mushroom, quiche, seafood, spaghetti); sesa-
me in 1 (chicken); shallot in 1 (mushroom); tabasco
in 10 (artichoke, brisket, cheese, chicken, crab,
guacamole, gumbo, ham, pate, shrimp, zucchini ; tar-
ragon in 4 (chicken, shrimp, vegetable dip); and
thyme in 9 (artichoke, crab, gumbo, liver, pate,
porkchop, scallop, vegetarian lasagna, zucchini .
With an herb in the majority of recipes, the value
of herbs to American consumers and small farmers is


In most cases I have reviewed, the additive values
and/or biomass of intercrops have equalled or ex-
ceeded the value of either of the intercrops grown
as a monocrop. Since different species "mine" the
soil differently, display their leaves differently,
and utilize the spectrum of soil, fertilizer, space,
air, sunlight, and rain differently, two species
will obtain more of one or more of these inputs,
natural or artificial, than one of the species might
from the same area. On small farms overseas, a
hidden value of intercropping is the "insurance"
value. When one or the other monocrops might fail,
the intercrop might survive, enabling the farmer to
harvest his "insurance" crop. Ryan et al (21)
showed that during wet years a 33% cover of inter-
cropped clover increased cabbage yields by 57%, but
decreased yields during dry years.

A companion planting is a special type of inter-
cropping where the planting of one species is
supposed to exert some biological control over the
other species (11, 19). Having read that walnut
(Juglans nigra L.) "droppings" effectively elimin-
ate several species of weeds, I have intentionally
planted walnut-tolerant ginseng in the shade of the
walnut. Hopefully I won't need to utilize the
chemical energy tied up in herbicides to control
the weeds in my ginseng patch, although cleavers
(Galium spp.), honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica
Thunb.), lopseed (Phryma leptostachya L.), and
tearthumb (Polygonum spp.) appear to tolerate the
walnut. Having read recently (12) that thyme (Thymus
vulgaris L.) and onion (Allium cepa L.) deter ovi-
position by cabbage butterflies, I have used them
as companion plants for my cabbage, broccoli, and
brussel sprouts (Brassica spp.). In the 1978 Year-
book of Agriculture I noted (7) that many mint spe-
cies may contain repellants or insecticides like
camphor, carvacrol, citral, citronellal, eugenol,
furfural, linalool, menthol, and thymol, and fungi-
cides such as furfural, menthol, salicylic acid,
and thymol. Perhaps this companion planting will
spare me the chemical energy tied up in insecticides
and fungicides. Having also recently read (14) that

marigolds (Tagetes) cut back on nematodes in okra,
Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench., I suggest that
marigolds might cut back on the requirements for the
chemical energy tied up in nematicides. Having read
that dill, Anethum graveolens L., will decrease the
incidence of certain grape, Vitis spp., diseases, I
planted dill as a vineyard companion crop, hoping to
spare some of the chemical energy tied up in fungi-
cide. Of course I am utilizing some of my personal
energies in substituting for the pesticide's energy
via companion planting. And it may not work. Obese
Americans should cease to lament the expenditures
of their personal energies, and start to lament the
expenditures of our unrenewable energy resources.

Several years ago I purchased the so-called "mole-
plant", Euphorbia lathyris L., to discourage moles
and other subterranean rodents in my garden. Like
castor bean, Ricinus communis L., the "mole-plant"
is poisonous, and widely believed to discourage
rodents. Some of my plants survived the hard winter
of '76-77 and are coming back well in my warm-
temperate humid Howard County climate. Imagine my
surprise to read in so distinguished a journal as
Science that Nobel-laureate Melvin Calvin is calling
this the "petroleum plant." Dr. Calvin suggests that
the milk from this spurge can be converted to petro-
leum at the rate of 40 barrels per acre per year.
At this rate, he says, an area the size of Arizona
planted to "petroleum plant" could meet our current
gasoline requirements. I hope Dr. Calvin is right
but I fear he is wrong. I suspect that he could
obtain more ethanol from the residues than he obtains
petroleum, and that an ethanol-gasoline mix might be
less polluting than gasoline alone as a fuel.

Perhaps the "petroleum plant", alias "mole plant",
might make a good intercrop for jojoba, Simmondsia
chinensis (Link) Schneid., another plant found in
Arizona. Fruits of jojoba contain a compound very
similar to spermwhale oil. Rodents often carry off
the fruits when they fall to the ground. Perhaps
the "mole plant" as a companion might repel the
rodents from the jojoba orchard. It would be inter-
esting to try triple-crop intercropping stratagems
with three desert plants that may be very signifi-
cant energetically. Our tires could be made from
guayule, Parthenium argentatum A. Gray, another
desert shrub, which could be tried as an intercrop
with the jojoba and "petroleum plant." Even if Dr.
Calvin is overoptimistic, it is comforting to know
that we can raise renewable raw resources for gas,
rubber, and spermwhale oil on our American desert.

Many aromatic volatiles, common in many popular
"herbs", unquestionably do have effects, greater or
lesser, on many of our pathogens, insects, nema-
todes, and weeds. Such an approach would appeal to
many gardeners and small farmers in the United
States, especially those who are feeding themselves
and/or food purists who may have some trepidation
or doubts about the effects, if any, of pesticide
residues, if any, on their health.

Perhaps energetically more important is companion
planting of legumes and other nitrogen fixers as
sources of nitrogen with high-yielding cereals like
corn, Zea mays L., and sorghum, Sorghum spp. Many
recent studies suggest that the companion nitrogen-
fixer will add its own yield to subnormal, normal or

supernormal yields of its counterpart, while adding
nitrogen to the soil. Such companion plantings are
not too practical in the energy-intensive American
style of agriculture. But American's small farmers,
especially in an energy crisis, might heed some of
the intercropping lessons of the Third World. Ni-
trogen is energetically very expensive and many of
our more important legumes are very good at "manu-
facturing" it. In some cases total food yields per
acre are down slightly, but in many cases total
yields are significantly improved via intercropping
or rotation, and artificial nitrogen inputs are
lowered significantly. A recent Furrow article
suggests that more than half the nitrogen in Ameri-
ca's crops already come from legume-fixed natural
sources. Can't we improve on that, and save the
large percentage of American energy that goes into
the manufacture of artificial fertilizers? Brough-
ton (3) showed that oil palms, Elaeis guineensis
(Jacq.) intercropped with legumes yielded about 2
MT/ha more than those grown without legumes. Almost
all crop and fodder legumes grown here in the United
States fix nitrogen, so I will not enumerate them.
I will list some of the herbs listed in the old
wive's arsenal for biological control with some of
the old wive's tales supported by analysis of the
chemicals manufactured by the plant.

absinth: Artemisia absinthum L. discourages oviposi-
tion by cabbage butterflies (12).

aloe: extracts of Aloe barbadensis Mill. were toxic
to Meloidogyne incognita and Rotylenchus reniformis

ammi: essential oil of Trachyspermum ammi (L.)
Sprague ex Turrill at 1% was more fungitoxic to
Helminthosporium oryzae than some synthetic fungi-
cides (23).

anise: Pimpinella anisum L. is said to repel insects.

basil: Ocimum basilicum L. is said to improve toma-
to in the garden and the kitchen; some gardeners use
crushed basil as a spray to control beetles. Vola-
tiles reduce germination and respiration of Fusarium

black cumin: aroma said to repel certain insects;
the essential oil from seeds of Nigella sativa L.
is antinicrobial and anthelmintic (2).

brassica: Brassica spp. are said to repel certain
insects and reduce disease (e.g. gram blight).

bugle: Ajuga reptans L. is said to be an effective
insect repellent.

candytuft: ethanol extracts of Iberis amara L.
showed 100% fungitoxicity against Helminthosporium
oryzae and Cochliobolus miyabeanus (5).

caraway: Carum carvi L. is said to repel cockroaches;
the essential oil from the seeds is toxic to the
granary weevil (25).

catnip: Nepeta cataria L. is said to repel rats and
attract cats (coincidence?), and to repel many in-
sects (20 of 27 tested).

chamomile: Matricaria chamomilla L. is said to pre-

vent disease and wilting in companion crops; more
recently studied for antifungal effects (24).

chives: Allium schoenoprasum L. is said to repel
aphids from adjacent lettuce, peas, and roses.

clover: Trifolium spp. sown between brussel sprouts,
reduced infestation of Brevicoryne brassicae by over
30% (15); white clover between cabbage rows de-
creased eggs and larvae of cabbage root fly (21).

coriander: Coriandrum sativum L. is said to repel
some garden insects; essential oil from the seeds
is toxic to the granary weevil (25).

cornmint: essential oil of Mentha arvensis L. was
active against Aspergillus flavus and A. fumigatus

digitalis: digitalin works like nicotine on aphids
and flea beetles, yet not so damaging to foliage;
extracts of Digitalis grandflora Mill. inhibited
several phytopathogenic fungi (4).

dill: sown annually in rows of grape (cv. Aligote)
prevents the occurrence of the mildew Uncinula neca-
tor and removes the need for spraying (16); essential
oil from seed toxic to granary weevil, but only 1/2
to 1/3 as toxic as malathion (25).

garlic: Allium sativum L. is said to repel insects
(e.g. peach borer, cabbage worms), bacteria and
snakes; garlic oil is said to be a specific for mos-
quito larvae.

geraniums (scented): species of Pelargonium are
said to repel Japanese beetles.

greenbeans: Phaseolus vulgaris L., as a companion
to potato, Solanum tuberosum L., is said to dis-
courage potato beetles.

horseradish: as a companion to potato, Armoracia
rusticana Gaertn., Mey. & Scherb., said to discourage
potato beetles.

indigo: Field yields of cabbage, Brassica oleracea
L., cucumber, Cucumis sativus L., and snapbean,
Phaseolus vulgaris L., were significantly higher
following a three-month cover crop of hairy indigo,
Indigofera hirsuta L. This treatment was as effec-
tive or more effective than certain nematicidal
treatments (18) .

lavender cotton: Santolina spp., in small quantities,
are said to kill herbarium insects.

leek: Allium ampeloprasum L., is said to discourage
pests of cabbage.

lemongrass: Cymbopogon spp., repel many insects,
which may also be repelled by other lemon-scented
herbs; at concentration of 1%, essential oil of
lemongrass is more toxic to Helminthosporium oryzae
than some widely used synthetic fungicides (23).

leucaena: Mimosine from Leucaena leucocephala (Lam.)
De Wit inhibits Colletotrichum lindemuthianum,
Sclerotiun rolfsii, Cercospora canescens, Diploidia
natalensis etc (8).

licorice: glycyrrhizic acid from Glycyrrhiza glabra
L. inhibits the growth and cytopathology of several
unrelated DNA and RNA viruses, and inactivates
Herpes simplex virus particles irriversibly (17).

marigold: Tagetes erecta L. lowers nematode infes-
tations in okra and orchards (14); said to repel
bean beetles.

marjoram: volatiles produced by Origanum spp. lower
germination and respiration of Fusarium fungus (1).

marijuana: Cannabis sativa L. is often planted a-
round other Third-World crops to discourage insects

meadowgrass: Poa annua L. is said to repel Colorado
potato beetles.

mints: said to deter white cabbage moth and ants;
menthol present in many species of the mint family
(Lamiaceae), is said to be fungicidal (I have planted
them around fence posts hoping that they will slow
down decay fungi).

molasses grass: Melinis minutiflora Beauv. is said
to repel some insects and ticks.

mothbean: Vigna aconitifolia (Jacq.) Marechal is
said to reduce loss of cotton to root rot.

nasturtium: Tropaeolum majus L. is said to repel
aphids (e.g. wooly aphids on apples), squashbugs,
white fly, striped pumpkin beetles.

onion: Allium cepa L. discourages oviposition of
cabbage butterflies (12); said to discourage fungi
in the garden.

pennyroyal: Mentha pulegium L. is said to repel many

peppermint: essential oil of Mentha x piperita L.
was active against Aspergillus flavus and A. fumiga-
tus (22).

periwinkle: alkaloids from Catharanthus roseus (L.)
G. Don were active against Aspergillus fumigatus,
A. ochraceus, Candida albicans, and C. utilis (20).

pumpkin: Cucurbita spp. shade out weeds when inter-
cropped with corn and beans of the AmerIndian.

rosemary: Rosmarinus officinalis L. is said to dis-
courage cabbage worm, bean beetle, carrot fly, and
several other insects.

rue: Ruta graveolens L. is said to repel many in-
sects; rue extract does repel Japanese beetle.

sage: Salvia officinalis L. discourages oviposition
by cabbage butterflies (12); said to discourage
carrot fly.

shoofly: a few plants of Nicandra physalodes (L.)
Gaertn. scattered around a greenhouse are said to
cause whitefly to disappear.

sorghum: roots of Sorghum spp. are said to be toxic
to western corn rootworm larvae.

southernwood: Artemisia abrotanum L. discourages
oviposition by cabbage butterflies (12).

soybean: Glycine max (L.) Merr. is said to shield
corn from chinch bug.

spearmint: Mentha spicata L. is said to repel ants.

sweetflag: Acorus calamus L. is esteemed as an in-
sect repellent and insecticide.

tansy: Tanacetum vulgare L. is said to repel ants
and peach-tree borers, the powder is sometimes
substituted for pyrethrum.

thyme: Thymus vulgaris L. discourages oviposition
by cabbage butterflies (12).

tomato: Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. discourages
oviposition by cabbage butteflies (12); said to re-
pel asparagus beetles; tomato infusion used to con-
trol aphids in Belgium.


1. Afifi, A. F. and A. E. Dowidar. 1977. Effect
of volatile materials produced by some members of
Labiatae on spore germination and spore respiration
of some soil fungi. Egypt. J. Physiol. Sci. 3(1/2):

2. Agarwal, R., M. D. Kharya, and R. Shrivastava.
1979. Antimicrobial and anthelmintic activities of
the essential oils of Nigella sativa Linn. Indian
J. Exp. Biol. 17(11): 1264-5.

3. Broughton, W. J. 1977. Effect of various
covers on the performance of Elaeis guineensis
(Jacq.) on Different soils. International Develop-
ments in Oil Palm. Inc. Soc. of Planters, Kuala
Lumpur. 804 pp.

4. Chaumont, J. P. and J. Jolivet. 1978. Recher-
che de Substances Antifungiques D'origine Vegetable:
Action de 100 extraits de Plantes des Alpes Fran-
caises sur Sept. Champignons Phytopathogenes.
Phytiatrie-Phytopharmacie 27(4): 275-283.

5. Dixit, S. N. N. N. Tripathi and S. C. Tripathi.
1978. Fungitoxicity of some seed extracts. Nat.
Acad. Sci. Letters 1(8): 287-288.

6. Duke, J. A. 1974. Notes on Meo and Yao poppy
cultivation. Phytologia 28(1): 5-8.

7. Duke, J. A. 1979. Making a mint with herbs is
not all that difficult. 1978. USDA Yearbook of
Agriculture (Living on a Few Acres): 218-223, US
GPO, Wasington.

8. Ebesenga, M. D., L. L. Llag and E. M. T. Mendo-
za. 1979. Inhibitions of pathogens of field legumes
of mimosine. Phil. Phytopathology 15(1): 58-61.

9. FAS. 1980A. Essential oils. USDA Foreign
Agriucltural Service. FTEA 3-80. 21 pp.

10. FAS. 1980b. Spices. USDA Foreign Agricultural
Service. FTEA 2-80. 29 pp.

11. Horizon, Johnny. 1976. Keeping the bad bugs America 33: II & 80 pp.
out...naturally. Johnnny Horizon Program. Informa-
tion Sheet 8. Washington (20240).

12. Lundgren, L. 1975. Natural plant chemical
acting as oviposition detergents on cabbage butter-
flies. (Pieris brassica L., P. rapae L., and P.
napi L.). Zoologica Scripta 4(5/6): 253-258.

13. Mahmood, I., A. Masood, S. K. Saxena, and S. I.
Husain. 1979. Effect of some plant extracts on
the mortality of Meloidogyne incognita and Rotylen-
chus reniforms. Acta Botanica India 7(2): 129-132.

14. Mammen, K. V. 1973. Effect of some plants on
rootknot nematode infestation on bhindi. Ag. Res.
J. Kerala 11(2): 164-165.

15. O'Donnell, M. A. and T. H. Coaker. 1976. Po-
tential of intra-Crop diversity for the control of
Brassica pests. Proc. 8th Brit. Insecticide and
Fungicide Conf. 3 vols.

16. Polishchuk, P. L. 1975. Dill against vine mil-
dew (Russian), Sadovodstvo 1975(9): 29.

17. Pompei, R., 0. Flore, M. Marccialis, A. Pani and
B. Loddo. 1979. Glycyrrhizic acid inhibits virus
growth and inactivated virus particles. Nature (UK)
281(5733): 689-690.

18. Rhoades, H. L. 1976. Effect of Indigofera hir-
suta on Belonolaimus longicaudatus, Meloidogyne in-
cognita and M. javanica and subsequent crop yields.
Plant Disease Reporter 60(5): 384-386.

19. Rodale, J. I., Ed. 1966. The organic way to
plant protection. Rodale Press Inc., Emmaus, Pa.
355 pp.

20. Rojas Hernandex, N. M. and C. Diaz Perez. 1977.
Estudio de la actividal fungistatica de algunos
alcaloides aisladas de Catharanthus roseus G. Don.
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Toxicity and repellency of Umbelliferae plant com-
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mologists. Proc. North Central Branch Entom. Soc.



Donald D. Bills-I

Work at the Eastern Regional Research Center has
developed, over the years, a number of processing
technologies of considerable value to small-
scale producers of honey, cider, and maple
sirup. Current work on plant materials includes
the development of appropriate technologies for
the small-scale handling and processing of
fruits and vegetables, including edible sprouts.
There are opportunities in small-scale processing
for the family-size work unit, but a collective
approach permits broader options. New, large-
scale technologies have been developed, and some
of these can be adapted to serve the needs of
small farm operations. The products of small-
scale manufacturers are most likely to succeed
in the marketplace if the products project an
image of "old-fashioned, farm-fresh" goodness
combined with convenience. Competition with
large food processing firms generally should be
avoided by concentrating on items, such as
regional or ethnic foods, that have a strong but
geographically limited market and are of little
interest to large companies.

Keywords: Food processing, small-scale farms,
technology, appropriate technology, processing
opportunities, collective approach, marketing.

Chief, Plant Science Laboratory, Eastern
Regional Research Center, Northeastern Region,
Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department
of Agriculture, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19118.


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