Evaluation of the Agronomic Performance of Organic Processing Tomato as Affected by Different Cover Crop Residues Management release_xidd2qkfnvaidfq6oi3jvdlsee

by Abou Chehade, Antichi, Martelloni, Frasconi, Sbrana, Mazzoncini, Peruzzi

Published in Agronomy by MDPI AG.

2019   p504

Abstract

No-till practices reduce soil erosion, conserve soil organic carbon, and enhance soil fertility. Yet, many factors could limit their adoption in organic farming. The present study investigated the effects of tillage and cover cropping on weed biomass, plant growth, yield, and fruit quality of an organic processing tomato (Solanum lycopersicon L. var. Elba F1) over two seasons (2015–2017). We compared systems where processing tomato was transplanted on i) tilled soil following or not a winter cover crop (Trifolium squarrosum L.) and with/without a biodegradable plastic mulch; and ii) no-till where clover was used, after rolling and flaming, as dead mulch. Tomato in no-till suffered from high weed competition and low soil nitrogen availability leading to lower plant growth, N uptake, and yield components with respect to tilled systems. The total yield in no-till declined to 6.8 and 18.3 t ha−1 in 2016 and 2017, respectively, with at least a 65% decrease compared to tilled clover-based systems. No evidence of growth-limiting soil compaction was noticed but a slightly higher soil resistance was in the no-till topsoil. Tillage and cover crop residues did not significantly change tomato quality (pH, total soluble solids, firmness). The incorporation of clover as green manure was generally more advantageous over no-till. This was partly due to the low performance of the cover crop where improvement may limit the obstacles (i.e., N supply and weed infestation) and enable the implementation of no-till in organic vegetable systems.
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Date   2019-09-01
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