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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 852: IV International Symposium on Ecologically Sound Fertilization Strategies for Field Vegetable Production

COVER CROPS IN PROCESSING TOMATO, SNAP BEANS AND SWEETCORN PRODUCTION YIELD AND HARVEST QUALITY

Author:   C.C. Gunter
Keywords:   vegetable, cropping systems, sustainable
Abstract:
Efforts are being made to reduce the negative impacts that high intensity vegetable production can have on the soil. Soil nutrient removal and soil compaction due to heavy equipment can lead to long lasting problems in future production cycles. Producers are beginning to look at the beneficial effects that cover crops can have on soil tilth and fertility. Three rotational cover crop areas were established on the Southwest Purdue Agriculture Center in Vincennes, Indiana and each area was divided into four cover crop plots, no-till wheat, clover, oilseed radish and a bare ground control. Processing tomatoes, sweetcorn and snap beans were planted across the four cover crop plots within each rotational area. Two varieties of each type of vegetable were grown in each cover crop. Processing tomatoes had significantly less yield in the no-till wheat cover crop compared to the other three cover crops. There were also a higher proportion of green and turning fruit in that treatment. Snap beans showed significantly higher yields when grown in the oilseed radish and clover cover crops. Sweetcorn had significantly shorter ear length when grown in the no-till wheat cover crop. Varietal differences exist with cover crops, suggesting that some varieties perform better than others when using a specific cover crop.
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