Raised bed production trials were conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of effluent from a biofloc-style recirculating aquaculture system producing nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) as nutrient-rich irrigation water for fall ‘Celebrity’ tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) production. The objective of this study was to provide baseline vegetable production data and justification for using aquaculture effluent as a water and nutrient resource. The experiment was a split-plot, randomized block design with three treatments: aquaculture effluent, granular fertilizer, and fertigation. Tomato seeds were sown in June, transplanted in August, and grown until Oct. 2019 in nine replicated raised beds. Conventional field tomato production practices were followed throughout the trial, and data were collected for tomato fruit yield, market quality, size, leaf greenness (SPAD), and foliar nutrient analysis. Fruit yield was similar between fertigated and aquaculture effluent treatments, with granular fertilizer resulting in yield that was significantly lower (P ≤ 0.033). SPAD measurements were similar among treatments. All nutrients met or exceeded sufficiency ranges. Foliar nutrient analysis revealed no significant difference for nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium, boron, zinc, manganese, and iron among treatments. Sulfur and copper levels were significantly lower (P < 0.05) with aquaculture effluent treatment as compared with the granular and fertigated treatments. Overall, tomato production using aquaculture effluent as a water and nutrient supplement produced similar yields to commercial practices, making it potentially viable for producers.
Field studies were conducted in 2016 and 2017 in Tallassee, AL, to evaluate the effect of preemergence (PRE) herbicide applications pre- and postcrimp in a cereal rye (Secale cereale) cover crop for control of escape weeds in watermelon (Citrullus lanatus). Treatments were arranged in a randomized complete block design with an augmented factorial treatment arrangement with four replications. The augmented factorial arrangement included three levels of PRE herbicides, two levels of application timing, and a nontreated control. PRE herbicide treatments included ethalfluralin (18 oz/acre), fomesafen (2.5 oz/acre), and halosulfuron (0.56 oz/acre). Application timings were precrimp (herbicide applied before crimping and rolling of the cover crop) and postcrimp (herbicide applied after crimping and rolling of the cover crop). A nontreated cover crop only treatment was also included. There were no interactions among application timing and herbicide. Results indicated application timing influenced total weed coverage but not watermelon yield. Total weed coverage was lowest in precrimp applied treatments at 2, 4, and 6 weeks after treatment (WAT). Comparing individual treatments revealed no significant differences among herbicides with respect to watermelon yield; however, all herbicides increased yield compared with the nontreated.