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Hilary A. Sandler, Carolyn J. DeMoranville, and Wesley R. Autio

A 2-year field trial examined the interaction of nitrogen rate, vine density, and weed management options for establishing new cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) plantings. Utilizing the vigorous hybrid, `Stevens', the cost-efficiency of the treatment combinations was evaluated by combining cranberry and weed biomass data with various economic estimates. The most cost-effective production scheme for establishing new cranberry beds is to plant vines at a low density, use moderate rates of nitrogen, and apply an annual application of a preemergence herbicide. This combination produced substantial vine coverage at very low cost, reduced weed biomass by 85% compared to untreated plots, and gave the best weed control per dollar spent. Growers may opt for other reasonably successful combinations that involve higher labor costs if they can produce their own cuttings (reducing initial costs) or if they are farming with the intent to reduce overall synthetic inputs.

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Robert H. Stamps

Six preemergence herbicides were applied twice a year at 1x and 2x rates for 2 years to leatherleaf fern [Rumohra adiantiformis (Forst.) Ching] starting from the time of rhizome planting. Predominant weeds present were Cardimine hirsuta, Erechrites hieracifolia, Oxalis stricta, and Phyllanthus tenellus. All herbicides, except pendimethalin and oxadiazon at the 1x rates, reduced weed biomass by 60% to 99% compared to the unweeded control during the fern bed establishment phase (year 1). During that period, hand-weeding times were reduced (51% to 95%) by prodiamine and dithiopyr at both rates, and oxadiazon and pendimethalin at 2x rates. During year 2, herbicides were of greatly reduced benefit due to reduced weed growth caused by the increasingly competitive fern. After 2 years, only 2x dithiopyr-treated plots had reduced yields compared to the hand-weeded controls. Herbicide treatments had no detrimental effects on frond postharvest longevity. In fact, fronds harvested from the 1x isoxaben-treated plots exhibited increased vase life compared to the controls.

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S.B. Sterrett, H.E. Hohlt, and C.P. Savage Jr.

Off-site movement of sediment, nutrient and agricultural chemicals from plasticulture production of green-pack tomatoes on water quality is a serious environmental concern, particularly for the clam aquaculture industry of eastern Virginia. Thus, the development of ecologically sound, economically sustainable cultural management strategies for tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) production is needed. Two plantings were made within each of the three tomato harvest seasons [summer, bridge (late summer) and fall] in 1998 and 1999 (one summer crop in 1999). Between-bed treatments included clean culture or pearl millet [Pennisetum glaucum(L.) R. Br.] sown at bed establishment. On-bed treatments included standard plasticulture with fumigation on a 76-cm-wide bed (std), plasticulture without fumigation on a 76-cm-wide bed (std-fum), plasticulture on a 61-cmbed with fumigation (narrow) and organic mulch [wheat straw (Triticum aestivum L.) in 1998; desiccated hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth.) in 1999]. Total and marketable yields for the three plasticulture on-bed treatments (std, std-fum and narrow) were similar in 1998 and 1999. Yield was suppressed for the organic mulch on-bed treatments in all but the bridge plantings in 1999. Improved yield with plasticulture treatments and high market price for the summer crop in 1998 resulted in elevated crop value and return to land and management (return) compared to that of organic mulch. The return for later plantings was low, but positive. Return was negative for both bridge and the first fall crops in organic mulch in 1998. Low yields in all treatments and low prices in 1999 resulted in negative to negligible return for on-bed treatments in all but the summer planting using plasticulture. Return was consistently lower with organic mulch compared to plasticulture for the high value summer crop in Virginia with between-bed millet in 1998 and with or without millet in 1999. The use of organic mulch on the beds in this study was not economically feasible for the high value summer crops. Adjustments (desiccation of cover, control of weeds) in cultural management of the between-bed management strategy are needed before large-scale commercial implementation will occur.

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Kevin R. Kosola and Beth Ann A. Workmaster

in years 1 and 2 to bury runners and force production of uprights, there is not sufficient cranberry biomass during these early stages of bed establishment to produce layers of organic matter. In contrast, the potential for underestimating the extent

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Hilary A. Sandler

/or replant, or abandon the production area. The high cost of renovation ( Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association, 2008 ) and bed establishment ( Sandler et al., 2004 ) has encouraged the development of alternative business plan models for Massachusetts