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Vasey N. Mwaja, John B. Masiunas, and Catherine E. Eastman

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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Erin C. Hill and Mathieu Ngouajio

Hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth) (HV) and cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.] (CP) are two leguminous cover crops used in vegetable production systems. The residues of both species have been shown to suppress weeds via allelopathic interactions; however, they may also carry a risk of crop injury. A laboratory experiment was designed to study the dose response of carrot, sweet corn, cucumber, lettuce, onion, pepper, and tomato germination and radicle elongation to the aqueous extracts of both HV and CP. Aqueous extracts of fresh, whole plants were lyophilized to obtain a dry powder. Treatments of 0.00, 0.25, 0.50, 1.00, 2.00, 4.00, and 8.00 g dry extract/L of distilled water were applied to 10 seeds on filter paper in petri dishes. The petri dishes were then sealed and placed in the dark at 21 °C for 4 to 7 days, depending on the species germination. After the incubation period, germination rates and radicle lengths were recorded. Each treatment had 4 replications and the full experiment was executed twice. Pepper germination was reduced by increasing concentrations of HV extract; however, all other crops were not affected by HV or CP extracts. The HV extract had a significant effect on radicle elongation in carrot, corn, cucumber, lettuce, onion, and tomato. Inhibition of radical growth at 8 g·L-1 ranged from 42% in cucumber to as high as 81% in carrot. The CP extract had a negative effect on the radicle elongation of carrot, corn, lettuce, and tomato. Inhibition at 8 g·L-1 ranged from 42% in carrot to 67% in tomato. This study shows that both HV and CP extracts hold the potential to negatively affect the listed crops. Therefore, studies need to be done on the persistence of these effects in the field to maximize weed control while avoiding crop injury.

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Aref A. Abdul-Baki, John R. Stommel, Alley E. Watada, John R. Teasdale, and Ronald D. Morse

Ten cultivars of processing tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) grown in bare soil or on black polyethylene and hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth.) mulches were evaluated for yield, fruit processing quality, and leaf necrosis. Yields were higher, fruit was heavier, and leaf necrosis less in hairy vetch than in bare soil or black polyethylene mulch. With the exception of pH, yield and fruit quality component responses to mulch treatments were not cultivar-dependent. Fruit pH, soluble solids concentration, and color equaled values obtained using bare soil production practices. Percent solids was highest with black polyethylene and lowest in hairy vetch. The hairy vetch mulch delayed fruit maturity compared to the bare soil and black polyethylene. The hairy vetch cultural system has the potential to increase yield of processing tomatoes.

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Aref A. Abdul-Baki and John R. Teasdale

A 3-year study was conducted at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, Md., to evaluate plant stand, growth, and yield of snap bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) cultivars Carlo and Matador grown with conventional tillage (CT) or with no-tillage hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth) (HV) mulch. Plant stand and dry mass of both cultivars in CT were similar to those in no-till HV. However, leaf area and yield with no-till HV were significantly higher than those with CT.

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Upendra M. Sainju, Bharat P. Singh, Syed Rahman, and V.R. Reddy

Management practices can influence tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) yield and N uptake. The effects of tillage (no-till, chisel plowing, and moldboard plowing), cover crop [hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth) vs. none], and N fertilization (0, 90, and 180 kg·ha-1 N) on transplanted tomato yield and N uptake were studied in the field from May to August in 1996 and 1997 on a Norfolk sandy loam (fine-loamy, siliceous, thermic, Typic Kandiudults) in central Georgia. Plowing increased fresh and dry fruit yield and N uptake in 1996 and N fertilization increased yield and N uptake in 1996 and 1997. Plowing also increased stem and leaf dry weights and N uptake from 40 to 118 days after transplanting (DAT) in 1996. Fertilization increased stem weight and N uptake with or without hairy vetch from 54 to 68 DAT in 1996 and stem and leaf weights and N uptake at 68 DAT in 1997. Both hairy vetch and N fertilization increased leaf N concentration in 1997. Recovery of N by the plants was lower with hairy vetch than with N fertilization, but was similar to or greater with 90 than with 180 kg·ha-1 N. We conclude that reduced tillage, such as chisel plowing, with 90 kg·ha-1 N can sustain tomato yield and N uptake, with reduced potentials of sediments and/or NO3 contamination in surface and groundwater.

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Aref A. Abdul-Baki, John R. Teasdale, and Ronald F. Korcak

A 3-year experiment was conducted to determine the optimum fertilizer N requirements of fresh-market tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) `Sunbeam' grown on a hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth.) or black polyethylene mulch. In 1993 and 1994, four rates of fertilizer N (0, 56, 112, and 168 kg·ha-1) as water-soluble NH4NO3 were applied in 14 equal applications through the trickle irrigation system starting 1 week after planting. Four additional rates (224, 280, 336, and 392 kg·ha-1) were applied in 1995 to assess the plant response to supra-optimal levels of N. Hairy vetch produced 3.3–4.5 t·ha-1 of above-ground biomass and a total N content of 126–169 kg·ha-1 in the above-ground biomass. Leaf N content at 7 weeks after transplanting of tomatoes correlated positively with yield from black polyethylene but did not correlate with yield from the hairy vetch plots where leaf N content was optimal at all N rates. Predicted tomato yields were higher for the hairy vetch than for the black polyethylene treatment at all applied N rates in all years. Tomatoes grown in black polyethylene required N at 130 to 144 kg·ha-1 to achieve yields equivalent to those grown following unfertilized hairy vetch. Tomato yield increased in response to applied N in both mulches in all 3 years; optimum N rates of 89 and 190 kg·ha-1 in hairy vetch and black polyethylene, respectively, were predicted by a linear plateau model, and 124 and 295 kg·ha-1 by a quadratic plateau model. The linear plateau model is recommended because it would allow less N to become available for runoff and leaching.

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Clydette M. Alsup, Brian A. Kahn, and Mark E. Payton

Hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth) cover crops were grown in a rotation with sweet corn (Zea mays var. rugosa Bonaf.) and muskmelon (Cucumis melo L. Reticulatus group) to evaluate the legume's ability to remove excess P from soils when poultry litter was used as a fertilizer. Fertilizer treatments were: 1) litter to meet each crop's recommended preplant N requirements (1×); 2) litter at twice the recommended rate (2×); and 3) urea at the 1× rate as the control. Following the vegetable crops, hairy vetch was planted on half of each replication, while the other half was fallowed. The vetch was removed from the field in a simulated haying operation in the spring. Soil samples were taken at 0-15 cm and 15-30 cm depths at the onset of the study and after each crop to monitor plant nutrient concentrations. The vetch sometimes raised soil test N concentrations at the 0-15 cm depth. Soil test P concentrations at the 0-15 cm sampling depth in the vetch system were consistently lower numerically, but not statistically, relative to comparable plots in the fallow system. Soil test P at the 0-15 cm depth was usually increased by litter at the 2× rate relative to the urea control, regardless of cropping system. Yields of both vegetable crops were similar among all cover crop and fertilizer treatments.

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Nancy G. Creamer, Mark A. Bennett, Benjamin R. Stinner, John Cardina, and Emilie E. Regnier

Field and laboratory studies were conducted to investigate the mechanisms of weed suppression by cover crops. High-performance liquid chromatograph analysis and a seed germination bioassay demonstrated that rye (Secale cereale L.) can be leached of its allelochemicals, redried, and used as an inert control for separating physical suppression from other types of interference. In a field study, rye, crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum L.), hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth.), barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), and a mixture of the four species suppressed the emergence of eastern black nightshade (Solanum ptycanthum Dun.). Crimson clover inhibited the emergence of eastern black nightshade beyond what could be attributed to physical suppression alone. The emergence of yellow foxtail [Setaria glauca (L.) Beauv.] was inhibited by rye and barley but not by the other cover crops or the cover crop mixture.

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Upendra M. Sainju, Syed Rahman, and Bharat P. Singh

The ability of hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth) residue (100 g/plant) to supply N and to increase yields of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) was compared with that of N fertilization (0, 4.1, and 8.2 g/plant N) in a medium containing a mixture of 3 perlite: 1 vermiculite in a greenhouse and a lathhouse. Hairy vetch residue did not interact with N fertilization in affecting tomato yield and medium N concentration. In the greenhouse, leaf dry weight, leaf and stem N uptake, total (fruit + stem + leaf + root) dry weight and N uptake of tomato, and NH4 + and inorganic N concentrations in the medium at transplanting were significantly greater with than without residue. In the lathhouse, fruit number, fresh and dry yields and N uptake, leaf, stem, and root dry weights and N uptake, root length, total dry weight and N uptake of tomato, and NH4 +, NO3 -, and inorganic N concentrations in the medium at transplanting, and inorganic N at harvest were greater with than without residue. Nitrogen fertilization increased fruit number, fresh and dry yields and N uptake, stem, leaf, and root dry weights and N uptake, root length, and total dry weight and N uptake. The residue was as effective in increasing fresh fruit yield, total dry weight, and N uptake as was 4.4 to 7.9 g/plant of N fertilizer. Tomato yield and N uptake per unit amount of N supplied was greater for the residue than for N fertilization, suggesting that hairy vetch residue can be effectively used as N fertilizer for tomato production.

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Gary R. Cline and Anthony F. Silvernail

Effects of tillage, inorganic N, and winter cover crops on sweet corn (Zea mays) were examined in 1994, 1995, and 1996. Tillage treatments were tillage or no tillage, and N treatments were the addition of inorganic N at 0 (N0) or 200 (N+) kg·ha-1 (0 or 179 lb/acre). Winter cover crops included hairy vetch (Vicia villosa), winter rye (Secale cereale), and a vetch/rye biculture. In the N0, rye treatment, the soil was N deficient in 1994 and highly N deficient in 1995 and 1996. When vetch shoot N content was ≥150 kg·ha-1 (134 lb/acre) (1994 and 1995), addition of inorganic N did not increase corn yields, and it only increased corn foliar N concentrations by 8%. Reductions in corn yields (29%) and foliar N concentrations (24%) occurred when vetch shoot N content was only 120 kg·ha-1 (107 lb/acre) (1996) and inorganic N was not supplied. In 1994, the vetch/rye biculture supplied sufficient N for maximum corn yields, but addition of inorganic N increased yields by more than 50% in 1995 and 1996. Under tilled conditions, the vetch N contribution to corn appeared to equal (1996) or exceed (1994 and 1995) 82 kg·ha-1 (73 lb/acre) of N supplied as ammonium nitrate, whereas a mean value of 30 kg·ha-1 (27 lb/acre) was obtained for the biculture cover crop (1995 and 1996). No significant effects of tillage on sweet corn population densities were detected following vetch, but no-tillage significantly reduced corn population densities following rye (17%) or biculture (35%) cover crops compared to tillage. No-tillage did not reduce yields from emerged seedlings (per plant basis) for any cover crops. Vetch appeared to be a satisfactory N source for sweet corn when vetch N content was ≥150 kg·ha-1, and it could be used with no-tillage without yield reductions.