Impact Of Conservation Tillage Practices On Weed Management, Soil Properties, And Sweet Corn And Dry Bean Yield And Quality
Zone and deep zone tillage are both types of conservation tillage that have been studied in agronomic cropping systems. There has been little research on the use of these types of conservation tillage in vegetable production systems. The objectives of this research were to examine the effects of conservation tillage systems on crop yield and quality, weed management, and soil properties in a vegetable production system. If crop yield and quality is similar between conventional tillage (CT) and zone (ZT) or deep zone tillage (DZT), then there is an increased incentive for growers to adopt a system of tillage that saves time, fuel, and has the potential to improve soil quality. Tillage and weed control plots were established in 2004 to evaluate the long term effects of conservation tillage on crop yield and quality, weed management, and soil properties in sweet corn and dry beans. The experiment made use of a randomized complete block split-split plot design and contained four replicates. The main plot was three tillage treatments CT, DZT and ZT which were assigned randomly. The first split was by weed control. Three methods of weed control were used conventional full width (CFH), banded plus cultivation (BH), and cultivation only (CUL). The second split was by cultivar, early and late cultivars of both crops were assigned to each tillage treatment. Tillage affected soil penetration resistance in both crops in 2006 and in 2007. Between and in row penetration resistance in sweet corn in the ZT treatment was higher than in the CT treatment at all depths in 2007. Compared to the CT treatment penetration resistance between-row for dry beans was higher in the ZT treatment at the 12.5 to 20 cm depth in both years. While tillage affected soil nitrogen mineralization in sweet corn and dry beans in 2006, the magnitude of the measured differences was small and would not likely have practical impact on crop yields. Dry weed biomass in-row was not significant across tillage treatments in sweet corn in both years. Tillage had a significant effect on in row dry weed biomass in dry beans in 2006 but not in 2007. In- row dry weed biomass in dry beans was not affected by tillage in 2007. The use of full width herbicides (CFH) resulted in lower weed biomass in-row than the CUL treatments, in both years. While other sweet corn yield and quality parameters were affected by tillage, marketable yield (kg(ha(exp-1)) of sweet corn was similar in the CT, DZT, ZT treatments in 2006 and in 2007. With the exception of plant number per hectare in 2006, tillage did not have an affect on dry bean yield and quality in 2006 or in 2007. These results indicate that deep zone and zone tillage may be a viable alternative to conventional tillage in the Northeastern United States.
dissertation or thesis