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Title: Yield of bell pepper, sweet corn and peanut in rotation

item Russo, Vincent

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/21/2003
Publication Date: 1/15/2004
Citation: Russo, V.M. 2004. Yield of bell pepper, sweet corn and peanut in rotation. HortScience. 38:1341-1343.

Interpretive Summary: Rotation of crops is a method of diversifying production in order to develop a sustainable cropping system. Rotating crops can improve soil conditions and affect yields of all crops in the rotation. Biotic and abiotic factors, and changes in farm policy, have been affecting peanut production in the South Central Plains. Rotations involving peanut and bell pepper or sweet corn were established and maintained over a four year period. In each rotation there were two years of peanut and one year each of bell pepper or sweet corn. Comparisons were made to monoculture of peanut, bell pepper and sweet corn. The effects of the environment were considered. Cumulative yields of monocultured bell pepper over the length of the experiment produced the highest yields. The peanut-peanut-sweet corn-bell pepper and peanut-peanut-bell pepper-sweet corn rotations had cumulative yields that were next in quantity and similar to cumulative yields of monocultured sweet corn. Environmental conditions, most likely temperature and amounts of precipitation, affected yields. Rotations of vegetable and peanut can be used to diversify production, but more research is needed to determine which crops in which sequences will provide the best returns to producers.

Technical Abstract: Abiotic and biotic factors, and government farm policy have affected peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) production especially in the Southern Plains of the United States. A coincident increase in vegetable production has led to interest in diversification of production on sites that have historically supported peanut. A multi-year experiment was conducted from 1997 to 2001 to determine how rotating bell pepper (Capsicum annuum var. annuum L.) and sweet corn (Zea mays L.) with peanut affected yields of all crops. In the first year, the site was planted to peanut, except for those areas of the field that would have monocultured vegetables throughout the experiment. In following years portions of the site were planted with either peanut or one of the vegetable crops. Plots had two years of peanut and one year each of bell pepper or sweet corn in one of four rotations. The first sequence of rotations was begun in 1997 and continued until 2000. In 1998 the entire sequence was duplicated in a contiguous field with the same soil type and continued until 2001 to determine if effects were due to rotation pattern or environmental conditions. In both sequences monocultured bell pepper had higher yields than the cumulative yield of all crops in any rotation. Some rotations had cumulative yields that were similar to those for monocultured sweet corn or higher than for monocultured peanut. The sequence begun in 1997 had lower cumulative yields for crops in rotations than did the sequence begun in 1998 indicating that in addition to the rotation pattern, environmental conditions affected production.