Companion Crop and Planting Configuration Effect on Onion

in HortTechnology

Field trials were conducted to evaluate the effect of planting configurations (raised bed and no bed) and reservoir tillage on onion (Allium cepa) yield and grade when a cereal grass or cool-season broadleaf species was used as a companion crop. Total onion yield, the number of plants harvested, percentage of single centers, and cull-sized bulb yields did not differ among planting configurations. However, planting onion seed in raised beds with reservoir tillage resulted in more large-diameter bulbs compared to planting without a bed configuration. Raised beds also had fewer small-sized bulbs than the non-bed configuration. Companion crop influence on onion yield and grade varied among environments (location plus year). In general, canola (Brassica napus) as a companion crop increased the yield of small-sized bulbs and decreased total yield and the yield of large-sized bulbs. These results were attributed to poor canola control from the initial bromoxynil plus oxyfluorfen application because each label restricts application until onions have reached the two true-leaf stage. Onion yield and grade with barley (Hordeum vulgare) as a companion crop was similar to that of onion with no companion crop except during 2002 (Carrington) when rain delayed the postemergence grass herbicide application and lowered onion yield.

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