Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/10/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary: A study was conducted to evaluate the effects of tillage practices, cover cropping, and nitrogen fertilization influence on tomato yields and nitrogen (N) uptake. Tomato yields and N uptake were affected by tillage, cover cropping, and N fertilization. While no-till decreased tomato fruit yields, stem and leaf dry weights, and N uptake compared with chisel or moldboard plowing in 1996, fruit yield, stem and leaf dry weights, and N uptakes were not affected by the method of plowing in 1996 and 1997. Similarly, fertilization with N increased stem dry weight and N uptake at 54 to 68 days after transplanting in 1996 whether or not a hairy vetch was used, and increased, fruit yield and N uptake in 1996 and 1997. However, 180 kg/n/ha were no more effective than 90 kg/n/ha. Nitrogen recovery was lower with a hairy vetch than with N fertilization but was not affected by the rate of N fertilization. For a sustained tomato production with reduced potentials of sediment and N contamination of surface and ground water, minimum tillage, such as chisel plowing with 90 kg/n/ha is recommended.
Technical Abstract: Management practices can influence tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum, Mill.) yields and nitrogen (N) uptake. The effects of tillage (no-till, chisel plowing, and moldboard plowing), cover crop [hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth) vs. none], and N fertilization (0, 90, and 180 kg/n/ha) on transplanted tomato yields and N uptake were studied in the field from May to August in 1996 and 1997 on a Norfolk sandy loam (fine-loamy, siliceous, thermic, Typic Kandiudults) in central Georgia. Plowing increased fresh and dry fruit yields and N uptake in 1996 and N fertilization increased yields and N uptake in 1996 and 1997. Plowing also increased stem and leaf dry weights and N uptake from 40 to 118 days after transplanting (DAT) in 1996. Fertilization increased stem weight and N uptake with or without a hairy vetch from 54 to 68 DAT in 1996, and stem and leaf weights and N uptake at 68 DAT in 1997. Both a hairy vetch and N fertilization increased leaf N concentration in 1997. Recovery of N by the plants was lower with a hairy vetch than with N fertilization but was similar to, or greater, with 90 than with 180 kg/n/ha. We conclude that reduced tillage, such as chisel plowing, with 90 kg/n/ha can sustain tomato yields and N uptake, with reduced potentials of sediments and/or NO3 contamination in surface and groundwater.