Climate-smart ag and mulch more
Vegetable farmers control some of the variables they face — like weeds and the temperature and moisture levels of their soil — by planting in plastic mulch. Most plastic mulch products are non-recyclable and are costly and labor-intensive for producers to remove at the end of the growing season and send to a landfill. A more sustainable alternative is biodegradable plastic mulch, which is plowed into the ground at the end of the growing season.
Connecticut Cooperative Extension System scientists have shown that biodegradable mulch is a climate-smart innovation that enhances vegetable crop quality, saves time for agricultural producers and reduces labor costs.
Connecticut crops grown with biodegradable mulch include sweet corn, eggplant, pepper, summer squash, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and greens. Tomatoes, melons and other crops that sit on the mulch may follow if research shows promise. Organic vegetable production currently cannot use biodegradable mulch, but research is ongoing. About 4.4 million acres are used for vegetable production in the United States.
Link to full statement on website: https://landgrantimpacts.tamu.edu/impacts/show/6198