Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/4/2006
Publication Date: 12/4/2006
Citation: Stone, A., Kemble, J., Raper, R.L., Fields, D. 2006. Development of a more sustainable sweetpotato production system for alabama [abstract]. Proceedings of the National Sweetpotato Collaborators Group Meeting, February 5-6, 2005, Little Rock, Arkansas.
Technical Abstract: Traditional sweetpotato growers in Alabama produce on bare ground with conventional tillage practices. A more sustainable production system, by the use of cover crops and no-till, may provide an economic alternative both environmentally and financially to Alabama sweetpotato growers. The objectives of this study are to determine the influence of various cover crops, nitrogen rates, and a no-till system of planting on the growth and yield of sweetpotato in Alabama, by evaluating soil compaction, percent soil moisture, biomass produced by cover crops, C:N ratios, soil temperatures, weed densities, and economics. Field experiments were conducted in 2003/ 2004 and will be repeated in 2004/ 2005. Cover crops used for the no-till operation were crimson clover, hairy vetch, wheat, and winter rye along with a bare ground treatment. Cover crops were rolled and used as mulch. The plots were planted with 'Beauregard' sweetpotato using a mechanical no-till transplanter. All cover crop and bare ground treatments received two nitrogen rates, 50 and 100 kg/ha, for a total of 10 treatments (10 plots) replicated five times. When the sweetpotatoes were harvested yield data was taken from each plot. Our preliminary data suggest highest yields of sweetpotato were obtained when no-tilled into a cover crop. Overall, the highest marketable yields were produced in the crimson clover and hairy vetch treatments with either 50 or 100 kg/ha of nitrogen. Our preliminary data suggest that crimson clover and hairy vetch produced efficient C: N ratios. All cover crop treatments were beneficial for weed suppression.