Strip Tillage Reduces Yield Loss of Snapbean Planted in Rye Mulch

in HortTechnology

We compared soil quality, crop growth, and the incidence of pests in snapbean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) planted in conventional tillage, in rye (Secale cereale L.) mulch without strips and in strip-tilled rye mulch. On average, yield loss was 63% in rye mulch without strips and 20% in rye mulch with strips compared to yields in conventional tillage. Soil bulk density was higher in the rye mulch treatments than in the conventionally tilled plots and may have reduced plant growth. Leaf nitrogen content was lower in the rye mulch treatments 3 weeks after planting; this may be related to nitrogen tie-up during rye decomposition or to the negative impact of soil compaction on the soil nitrogen cycle. Insect damage to snapbean pods and leaves was not affected by rye mulching. Potato leafhopper [Empoasca fabae (Harris)] populations were significantly higher for conventional tillage than for rye treatments. The incidence of white mold [Sclerotina sclerotiorum (Lib.) deBary] was reduced by the rye treatments in 1997. Further studies are needed to determine optimal strip width and develop better techniques for creating strips.

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