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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: CONSERVATION SYSTEMS RESEARCH FOR IMPROVING ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY AND PRODUCER PROFITABILITY Title: Effects of different winter cover crops on conservation-tillage tomato quality and yield

Authors
item Saini, M - AUBURN UNIVERSITY
item Price, Andrew
item Balkcom, Kipling
item Van Santen, E - AUBURN UNIVERSITY
item Bergtold, J - KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY
item Kornecki, Ted

Submitted to: Annual Southern Conservation Tillage Conference for Sustainable Agriculture
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: July 29, 2008
Publication Date: July 29, 2008
Citation: Saini, M., Price, A.J., Balkcom, K.S., Van Santen, E., Bergtold, J., Kornecki, T.S. 2008. Effects of different winter cover crops on conservation-tillage tomato quality and yield. In: Endale, D.M., editor. Proceedings of the 30th Southern Conservation Agricultural Systems Conference and 8th Annual Georgia Conservation Production Systems Training Conference, July 29-31, 2008, Tifton, GA. p. 144-148.

Interpretive Summary: The increased use of conservation tillage in vegetable production requires more information be developed on the role of cover crops in weed control, tomato quality and yield. Three conservation-tillage systems utilizing crimson clover, brassica and cereal rye as winter cover crops were compared to a conventional black polythene mulch system, with and without herbicide, for weed control and tomato yield. Without herbicide, weed control provided by cover crop residues ranged from 0 to 91% 4 WAT, depending on cover and weed species. Tomato stand establishment was not affected by any cover crop residue treatment compared to plastic mulch. Tomato yield was least in non treated control and was maximized with inclusion of the POST application. Pooled over herbicide treatments yield was less following either crimson clover or brassica cover crops compared to rye or the polythene mulch system. Averaged across cover crops, both herbicide programs resulted in better yields compared to the non-treated check.

Technical Abstract: The increased use of conservation tillage in vegetable production requires more information be developed on the role of cover crops in weed control, tomato quality and yield. Three conservation-tillage systems utilizing crimson clover, brassica and cereal rye as winter cover crops were compared to a conventional black polythene mulch system, with and without herbicide, for weed control and tomato yield. Herbicide treatments included a preemergence (PRE) application of metalochlor (1.87 kg a.i. ha-1) either alone or followed by an early postemergence (POST) metribuzin (0.56 kg a.i. ha-1) application followed by a late POST application of clethodim (0.28 kg a.i. ha-1). All covers were flattened with a mechanical roller/crimper prior to chemical termination. Without herbicide, weed control provided by cover crop residues ranged from 0 to 91% 4 WAT, depending on cover and weed species. Clover controlled yellow nutsedge and smallflower morningglory 48 and 50%, respectively, while providing only 1 to 2% control of smooth pigweed, tall morningglory, wild radish and leafy spurge. Brassica residue provided = 34% control of all the weeds. Rye provided 81 to 91% control of Virginia buttonweed and smallflower morningglory respectively, whereas large crabgrass control was only 11%. Neither cover crop nor the polythene mulch system provided adequate large crabgrass or wild radish control without herbicide. Tomato stand establishment was not affected by any cover crop residue treatment compared to plastic mulch. Tomato yield was least in non treated control and was maximized with inclusion of the POST application . Pooled over herbicide treatments yield was less following either crimson clover or brassica cover crops compared to rye or the polythene mulch system. Averaged across cover crops, both herbicide programs resulted in better yields compared to the non-treated check.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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