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  • Author or Editor: Catherine Eastman x
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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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Fresh-market vegetable production in the midwestern U.S. has been declining due to diminished returns received by farmers, competition from vegetables produced in other regions, older farmers retiring and not being replaced, and urban sprawl. To reverse this trend, midwestern-U.S. vegetable farmers must find ways to enhance the value of their production. One way might be the production of vegetable cultivars that have enhanced attributes desired by consumers. Our objective was to assess how Illinois farmers' current perceptions may affect acceptance and production of vegetable cultivars with enhanced health benefits. About 20% of Illinois fresh-market vegetable growers were surveyed. We found that the current media attention on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) infl uenced grower response. Farmers who were concerned about GMOs were 5 times more likely to reject growing new vegetable cultivars with enhanced health benefits even those developed with conventional breeding methods. However, farmers who were not concerned or who were undecided in their opinions concerning GMOs were 11 times more likely to adopt new cultivars. Education and research programs must be developed to supply information about vegetable cultivars with enhanced health benefits and to address farmers' concerns about GMOs.

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Our previous research found that snap bean yields were reduced in cropping systems with cereal rye residues. Strip-tillage may overcome the yield reductions while providing the environmental advantages of high residue systems. An experiment was established at Champaign, Ill. `Wheeler' cereal rye was seeded in September at 110 kg·ha–1. The treatments were 1) conventional tillage with trifluralin, 2) rye without strips, 3) rye with fall-established strips, and 4) rye with spring-established strips. The rye was mowed 1 week before planting the snap beans. The spring strips were established in solid-seeded rye using a no-till planter, modified with extra culvers. It was difficult to maintain the fall-established strips after mowing. Weed control in the strips was problematic. Yields and insect populations were also determined.

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Field studies were conducted to determine insect and plant pathogen management effects on weed competitiveness and crop yield and to evaluate weed management impacts on insect pests, diseases, and crop yield. At similar densities, redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus L.) reduced snapbean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) and cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. var capitata) yield more than that of common purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.), a low growing weed. In 1995, diamondback moth [Plutella xylostella (L.)] was greater on cabbage growing in plots with purslane than in plots of cabbage growing without weeds. Imported cabbageworm [Pieris rapae (L.)] was greater on cabbage growing in plots with either purslane or pigweed than when growing alone. However, the amount of feeding damage to cabbage was similar across treatments. Disease incidence was low, but fungicide treatments made redroot pigweed more competitive with snapbean, reducing yield in 1995.

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Integrated weed management strategies maintain sub-threshold levels of weeds. The remaining weeds may impact the feeding and habitation patterns of both potato leafhoppers and bean leaf beetles in a snap bean agroecosystem. The objective of our study was to determine the effect of interference between snap beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) and either redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus L.) or large crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis L.) on populations of potato leafhopper [Empoasca fabae (Harris)] and bean leaf beetle [Cerotoma trifurcata (Forster)]. Plots were seeded with redroot pigweed or large crabgrass at either the same time as snap bean planting (early) or when snap bean had one trifoliate leaf open (late). The weed density averaged two plants per meter of row. Bean leaf beetle populations, snap bean pod damage, and leaf defoliation were lower in weed-free plots compared to those with either early emerging pigweed or crabgrass. Leafhopper nymphs and adults were 31% to 34% less in plots with crabgrass emerging with snap beans compared to those in weed-free snap bean plots. Thus, the effect of sub-threshold densities of pigweed and crabgrass on insect pests in snap bean varied depending on the species and should be considered when deciding to integrate weed management approaches.

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The effect of cover-crop management on growth and yield of `Bravo' cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. Capitata L.), `Market Pride' tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.), and `Mustang' snap bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) was determined. Each fall, `Wheeler' winter rye (Secale cereale L.) and `Oregon Crown' hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth) were interseeded. The following spring, the cover crops were killed by either applying glyphosate and mowing (CC-G) or mowing and disking (CC-D). Trifluralin was preplant incorporated into bare ground as a conventional tillage (CT) treatment. In 1992 and 1993, a chicken (Gallus gallus L.) based fertilizer was applied to half the subplots. The greatest snap bean and cabbage yields were in CT. The system with the greatest tomato yields varied. In 1991, the greatest tomato yields were in the CT treatment, while in 1992 yields were greatest in the CT and CC-D treatments, and in 1993 the greatest yields were in CT and CC-G. Cabbage yields were greater in the fertilized than the unfertilized treatments. In 1992, infestations of diamondback moth, imported cabbageworm, and cabbage looper were greater in CT than in the CC-G treatment. Three years of the CC-G treatment increased soil organic matter from 3.07% to 3.48% and increased soil pH from 6.30 to 6.51, while neither changed in the CT. Chemical names used: N-(phosphonomethyl) glycine (glyphosate); 2,6-dinitro-N,N-dipro`pyl-4-(trifluoromethyl) benzenamine (trifluralin).

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