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  • Author or Editor: Bob Cartwright x
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The effects of cover crops and nitrogen on yield and insect damage of sweet corn were examined. In 1989, sweet corn was grown in bare soil plots, plots covered with rye (Secale cereale), and plots covered with hairy vetch (Vicia villosa). In 1990 a black plastic mulch treatment was substituted for the hairy vetch treatment. Each soil cover was fertilized with 45, 90, 134, or 179 kg/ha nitrogen (N) in 1989, and 34, 101, 168, 235, or 302 kg/ha N in 1990. Covers were planted in the fall, followed by sweet corn the following spring. There was no mowing or tilling of the cover crops.

Corn yields were lower each year in the rye covered plots. There were more corn earworms on the rye covered plots. Corn pollination was poorer on the rye covered plots, but responded positively to increasing rates of N.

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Cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. Capitata) was grown for five years with treatments comparing no till and conventional production systems. Each year, raised beds were formed in the fall and selected plots were seeded with rye (Secale cereale). The rye was allowed to grow during the winter, and the following spring it was either mowed, killed with herbicide, or allowed to grow indefinitely. Different seeding rates of rye and different fertilizer rates were used. Some plots were mowed and the residue removed from the plots, while certain plots had no rye planted but received the rye residue that was removed from other plots. Rye was also gathered and pulverized, and the liquid extract removed from this suspension was sprayed onto plots. Cabbage was planted into each plot in the spring. The yield of cabbage grown in various rye-covered plots was compared to the yield from bare soil plots and from plots covered with black plastic mulch. In general, the plots covered with the various rye treatments had less yield than did the bare soil plots. Plots covered with black plastic mulch often had a greater yield than did the other plots.

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Raised beds (0.9 m wide, 1.8 m centers, 6.1 m long) were formed in Oct. 1988. Beds were either left bare or seeded with rye (Secale cereale) or hairy vetch (Vicia villosa). Plots were sprayed with glyphosate in April, 1989. Rye was completely killed, but hairy vetch was not. Bed height was maintained best with beds covered with rye. In a 3 by 4 factorial, four rates of nitrogen (45, 90, 134, and 179 kg/ha) were applied to each soil cover treatment. On April 17, cabbage (Brassica oleracea cv. Solid Blue 760) was transplanted two rows per bed, with 30 cm spacing in rows and between rows. There was no mowing or cultivating prior to transplanting. A linear increase in yield was observed with increasing applications of nitrogen. The cabbage yield was less in rye than in vetch orbare soil. The yield difference between rye and bare soil was more pronounced at the low rates of nitrogen than at the high rates of nitrogen. Cabbage grown in rye had significantly fewer aphids, thrips, and cabbage loopers than did cabbage grown in bare soil.

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Raised beds approximately 20 cm tall by 76 cm wide were formed on 1.8 m centers in the spring of 1988 and 1989. Beds were either left bare or seeded with rye (Secale cereale) or hairy vetch (Vicia villosa) at 84 or 45 kg ha-1 respectively. All plots were sprayed with glyphosate in August of each year. In 1988, a 30 cm strip was tilled in the center of each bed. In 1989, there was no tillage or mowing.

The design was a randomized complete block with four levels of nitrogen (45, 90, 134, and 179 kg ha-1) at each soil cover. Broccoli seedlings were transplanted in double rows on 30 cm spacings into the plots each year in late August.

Height of the raised beds was maintained with both rye and vetch. Broccoli yields were highest in the bare soil treatments In 1988, the lowest yield was with vetch, and in 1989 the lowest yield was with rye. There was a positive linear yield response to nitrogen. The number of heads harvested did not differ significantly between soil covers

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We conducted several experiments to determine the best system for production of spring cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. Capitata group) with conservation tillage (CT) in the southern plains of the United States. Rye (Secale cereale L.) was selected as the best cover crop to cover the soil in a short time. Raised beds were formed in the fall and planted with rye. With most studies, the rye was allowed to remain on the soil surface rather than being tilled into the soil. Planting densities, rates of nitrogen fertilizer, and herbicide materials were evaluated to determine the best system for cabbage production. In each study, various cover crop practices were compared with bare soil production systems. Soil erosion was reduced by the use of rye cover crops. Cabbage was produced in the CT system, but cabbage yields were higher in bare soil plots than in the rye-covered plots. We are also in the process of developing a system of CT that involves permanent bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] pastures and watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai]. This system allows both crops to be grown simultaneously on the same land.

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