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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Vegetable Production in the Southeast: Promoting Conservation Tillage Systems to Increase Yields, Profitability, and Improve Soil Quality

Location: National Soil Dynamics Laboratory

Project Number: 6420-12610-004-08
Project Type: Specific Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 24, 2007
End Date: May 31, 2012

Objective:
Develop conservation tillage systems for vegetable production that (1) implement weed management regimes, including cover crops, compost, and mulching; (2) evaluate the biological and economic outcomes of the different systems; and (3) promulgate technology transfer through demonstrations/Field Days and publications for area farmers and agricultural professionals.

Approach:
Specific methods include the following: conservation tillage systems and crop rotations to disrupt weed cycles and enhance competitiveness of crop plant through additions of N-fixing cover crops, such as crimson clover and hairy vetch, planting competitive crop varieties to maintain suppression of weeds, reducing weed seed set through allelopathic effects from crops, such as rye and oats, and improving the advantage of crops over weeds through compost based fertilizer applications. The experimental design includes two main plot treatments (No cover crop and cover crop) and three weed control subplot treatments that include mechanical weeding, herbicide, and mulching. Sweet potato will be tested in rotation with selected high values vegetable crops adapted to the southeastern environmental conditions. A farmer in Macon County has been selected to participate in this research and demonstration project. County extension agents, Tuskegee University researchers, and USDA/ARS scientists will collaborate and provide technical assistance to the farmers and help in disseminating research findings.

Last Modified: 4/17/2014
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