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H.J. Hruska, G.R. Cline, A.F. Silvernail, and K. Kaul

Research began in 1999 to examine sustainable production of bell peppers (Capsicum annuum L.) using conservation tillage and legume winter cover crops. Tillage treatments included conventional tillage, strip-tillage, and no-tillage, and winter covers consisted of hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth), winter rye (Secale cereale L.), and a vetch/rye biculture. Pepper yields following the rye winter cover crop were significantly reduced if inorganic N fertilizer was not supplied. However, following vetch, yields of peppers receiving no additional N were similar to yields obtained in treatments receiving the recommended rate of inorganic N fertilizer. Thus, vetch supplied sufficient N to peppers in terms of yields. Pepper yields following the biculture cover crop were intermediate between those obtained following vetch and rye. When weeds were controlled manually, pepper yields following biculture cover crops were similar among the three tillage treatments, indicating that no-tillage and strip-tillage could be used successfully if weeds were controlled. With no-tillage, yields were reduced without weed control but the reduction was less if twice the amount of residual cover crop surface mulch was used. Without manual weed control, pepper yields obtained using strip-tillage were reduced regardless of metolachlor herbicide application. It was concluded that a vetch winter cover crop could satisfy N requirements of peppers and that effective chemical or mechanical weed control methods need to be developed in order to grow peppers successfully using no-tillage or strip-tillage.

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S.S. Miller, R.W. McNew, B.H. Barritt, L. Berkett, S.K. Brown, J.A. Cline, J.M. Clements, W.P. Cowgill, R.M. Crassweller, M.E. Garcia, D.W. Greene, G.M. Greene, C.R. Hampson, I. Merwin, D.D. Miller, R.E. Moran, C.R. Rom, T.R. Roper, J.R. Schupp, and E. Stover

Cultivar and planting site are two factors that often receive minimal attention, but can have a significant impact on the quality of apple (Malus ×domestica) produced. A regional project, NE-183 The Multidisciplinary Evaluation of New Apple Cultivars, was initiated in 1995 to systematically evaluate 20 newer apple cultivars on Malling.9 (M.9) rootstock across 19 sites in North America. This paper describes the effect of cultivar and site on fruit quality and sensory attributes at a number of the planting sites for the 1998 through 2000 growing seasons. Fruit quality attributes measured included fruit weight, length: diameter ratio, soluble solids concentration (SSC), titratable acidity (TA), flesh firmness, red overcolor, and russet. Fruit sensory characteristics rated included crispness, sweetness, and juiciness, based on a unipolar intensity scale (where 1 = least and 5 = most), and acidity, flavor, attractiveness, and desirability based on a bipolar hedonic scale (where 1 = dislike and 5 = like extremely). All fruit quality and sensory variables measured were affected by cultivar. The two-way interaction of cultivar and planting site was significant for all response variables except SSC, TA, russet, crispness, and sweetness ratings. The SSC: TA ratio was strongly correlated with sweetness and acidity sensory rating, but was weakly correlated with flavor rating. The results demonstrate that no one cultivar is ideally suited for all planting sites and no planting site is ideal for maximizing the quality of all apple cultivars.