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  • Author or Editor: Gerald Cornforth x
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In many areas, dairies and other concentrated animal operations must modify their waste handling systems. Utilization of locally produced manures by vegetable production operations may increase crop yields while preventing discharge of potentially polluting nutrients into waterways. Composting is often recommended to stabilize nutrients, lower the volume of manure, and produce a product that may control some plant diseases. However, composting has costs in time and equipment, so some growers prefer using uncomposted manure. Dairy manure compost at 22 (LC), 45 (MC), or 90 (HC) t·ha–1 or dairy lot scrapings at 45 t·ha–1 (FM) were tilled into soil before seeding a dryland cantaloupe (Cucumis melo L.) crop. All plots, including an unamended control (UC), were fertilized with a total of 23N–14P–0K (kg·ha–1). After removal of the cantaloupe in late summer, drip irrigation was added, broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis Mill.) seedlings were transplanted into the identical plots, and 112N (kg·ha–1) was sidedressed. Cantaloupe yields from FM, LC, MC, HC, and UC plots were 5.4, 3.4, 2.1, 4.5, and 1.5 t·ha–1, respectively. Broccoli yields from FM, LC, MC, HC, and UC plots were 4.1, 3.6, 4.4, 4.1, and 2.2 t·ha–1, respectively. All rates of compost or manure increased yields of cantaloupe, and the subsequent broccoli crop. Use of the manure resulted in highest increase in potential net income from sales of cantaloupe and broccoli.

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Watermelon growers are advised to grow melons in a given field no more than 1 year out of 4. Bermudagrass pastures are abundant in the southern U.S., but ranchers are reluctant to destroy a pasture for 1 year and plant it with melons if they must then re-establish a sod. A project was designed to develop a system for growing watermelon in a permanent pasture with only a minimal amount of tillage, and without destroying the established forages in the pasture. The approach is to compare and evaluate several techniques for growing watermelons in strip-tilled areas within a permanent pasture. These techniques include cultivation, plastic mulches, and herbicides applied to 2-m strips separated by untilled bermudagrass. Research was done in 1996 at two university research centers in Oklahoma and Texas. The treatments with greatest watermelon yields, in decreasing order, were black polyethylene mulch, hand-weeded control, photodegradable mulch, biodegradable mulch, cultivation plus sethoxydim, sethoxydim alone, cultivation alone, and the weedy check. At harvest, 63% of the area in the cultivation alone treatment, 40% of the area in the plastic mulch treatment, and 1% of the area in the sethoxydim treatment were covered with a regrowth of bermudagrass. Forage was also collected from row areas of plots. Forage amounts, in decreasing order, were from cultivation alone, weedy check, sethoxydim alone, photodegradable mulch, polyethylene mulch, biodegradable mulch, cultivation plus sethoxydim, and the clean control.

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