537 Impacts of Farming Systems and Soil Characteristics on Processing Tomato Fruit Quality

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  • 1Department of Vegetable Crops, University of California, Davis CA 95616; 2Department of Agronomy and Range Science, University of California, Davis, CA 95616

A 2-year field study was conducted within the Sustainable Agriculture Farming Systems Project at the Univ. of California, Davis, to evaluate the effects of long-term conventional (CONV), low-input (LOW), and organic (ORG) production practices on processing tomato fruit mineral composition and quality. To establish relationships between soil chemical properties, soil water content, fruit mineral composition, and quality, this study characterized soil chemical properties and monitored soil water content through each tomato season. Soil total C, N, soluble P, exchangeable Ca, K,and Na were higher in the organic system than in the conventional system. Higher soil electrical conductivity was found in the CONV system compared to the other systems. Low input plots had soil characteristics intermediate to the other farming systems. Marketable and unmarketable yields were similar among the farming systems. Fruit N and Na were lower in the organic and low-input systems than in the conventional system. Fruit P and Ca contents were higher in the organic system than in the conventional system as a result of 11 years of manure applications. Soluble solids content, titrable acidity, color, and soluble solids yield were lower in 1998 in the organic system than in the conventional system, while no differences were found in 1999. Soil water content during the ripening stage was the major factor affecting the soluble solids content of the organic system. In the low input and conventional systems soluble solids content was most related to soil exchangeable Ca and EC, respectively.

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