Points, CA 2000
2001 61 b
2003 42 c
2004 46 bc
Std till no cover
Std till cover crop
Con till no cover
Con till cover crop
Table 2. Tomato yields 2000 – 2004 (tons/acre) in field comparison of standard and conservation tillage production in Five
Transplanting tomatoes into “unworked” cotton beds from previous season in conservation tillage study, Five Points, CA 2005
have found that it is possible to establish tomato transplants into these beds, to rebuild beds using the transplanter and cultivator that are both fitted with “ridging wings,” or furrowing tools and to successfully harvest fruit with this management system. With this approach, early cultivation is needed to recreate furrows and to clean residues out of furrows to enable surface irrigation.
These results indicate at least the short- term potential to produce tomatoes following cotton with considerably less tillage than is currently done in most production fields. The tillage management
Within this CT tomato system, the largest challenge has been to consistently manage weeds during the entire production season. The strategy we have pursued involves cultivation, - generally two to three times per season, - and hand weeding. However, because herbicides have not been incorporated into the soil, the CT systems have consistently had many late-season weeds grow in the furrow and they have not been effectively managed because the tomato plants are by then too big to allow
significant differences between treatments within a given year; if the letters in a particular column are different, this indicates that the systems likely had significant yield differences. CTNO yields matched or exceeded those of either ST systems in all five years of this work while using considerably less tillage. Yields of the CTCC system were lower than the other systems in 2000 and were lower than the CTNO in each of the next two years of the project as well. We observed that tomato plants often grow more slowly early in the season over the heavy CT cover crop mulches and this is perhaps due to lower above and below mulch temperatures that we have measured. We also observed more surface “trash” entering the harvester in the CT systems, however, virtually all of this was typically removed by the harvester’s suction cleaning mechanism before entering transport trailers.
approach that has been pursued in this study seeks to reduce primary, intercrop tillage and depends on subsequent, early-season bed “reconditioning” with the transplanter and cultivator operations. By doing this, beds have been left quite rough during the winter and into the spring and this may be a management strategy that today’s growers may not be comfortable with because early- season beds are rather degraded and may not be well shaped. In this study, however, we