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Sheryl K. Lonsbary, John O'Sullivan and Clarence J. Swanton

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) is grown using intensive tillage practices, which increase the cost of production and may lead to an increase in soil and water erosion. Research on alternative tillage practices for cucumber production has been limited primarily to exploring the benefits of no tillage. Alternative tillage practices, such as disking (one pass with a tandem disk) and zone tillage (one pass with a Trans-till) have not been investigated. Thus, the objective of this study was to compare the influence of reduced tillage practices on the growth, development, and yield of cucumbers. Seedling emergence varied between years, but was unaffected by a reduction in tillage, while cucumber leaf number, leaf area index, and vine growth were reduced by no tillage (P ≤ 0.05). Total dry matter accumulation and days to 50% open flower varied with tillage. No-tillage plots produced an average of 34 g·m-2 of dry matter compared to 47 g·m-2 for conventional tillage plots and took 1 day longer to reach 50% flower. Although growth differences were observed under all reduced tillage treatments, no reduction in total yield was observed when compared with conventional tillage yields. Alternative reduced tillage practices, such as disking or zone tillage, were found to be viable options for successful cucumber production. These alternative practices will reduce the cost of production, provide growers with greater time flexibility and ease of land preparation, and reduce the potential for water and wind erosion.

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Nader Soltani, Peter H. Sikkema, John Zandstra, John O'Sullivan and Darren E. Robinson

Topramezone is a newly introduced herbicide for use in field corn (Zea mays L.) that may have potential for weed management in sweet corn. Tolerance of eight sweet corn hybrids to topramezone applied postemergence (POST) at 0, 50, 75, 100, 150, and 300 g a.i. ha 1 were studied at one Ontario location in 2000 and two locations in 2001 and 2002. Topramezone applied POST at 50, 75, 100, and 150 g·ha 1 did not cause any visual injury in Calico Belle, CNS 710, Delmonte 2038, FTF 222, FTF 246, GH 2684, Reveille, and Rival sweet corn hybrids at 7 days after treatment (DAT) and caused minimal injury (less than 5%) at 300 g·ha 1 in all hybrids. The initial sensitivity observed in these hybrids was minimal and transient with no effect on visual injury at 14 and 28 DAT. Topramezone applied POST did not reduce plant height, cob size, or marketable yield of the sweet corn hybrids included in this study. Based on these results, topramezone applied POST at the rates evaluated can be safely applied to Calico Belle, CNS 710, Delmonte 2038, FTF 222, FTF 246, GH 2684, Reveille, and Rival sweet corn.

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Douglas C. Sanders*, Roger Crickenberger, Billy Dunham, Edwin J. Jones and John M. O'Sullivan

Most administrators regard strategic planning as a structured process to produce fundamental decisions and actions shaping and guiding what their organization is, does, and why it does it. A concerted focus on the future is usually involved in the effort. In North Carolina, all Extension Agriculture and Natural Resource Agents, Specialists, Directors and State Staff recently utilized such a structured process in a 3-day conference entitled “The Summit”. The success of this strategic planning process can be measured by the degree to which the process lead to strategic management within NCCE. The Summit used a framework that fully explored forces affecting or impeding strategic thinking. That framework was a day of laying groundwork and with various keynote speakers helping to set the stage; a day of stakeholder direction and attendee active listening and debate; and a day of group reflection. The results of this conference were chronicled in “White Paper” written by a team representing all major in-house stakeholders. While many of the usual problems affecting Extension were reviewed, stakeholder input to both administration and staff is re-shaping the way NCCE uses resources and directs programs. Ten recommendations came out Action te Such an outcome is strategic management, and the framework of The Summit may allow other similar organizations to also have successful strategic planning meetings.