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Ronald D. Morse

Advantages of no-till (NT) production systems are acknowledged throughout the world. During the 1990s, production of NT vegetable crops has increased for both direct seeded and transplanted crops. Increased interest in reduced-tillage systems among research workers and vegetable growers is attributed to: 1) development and commercialization of NT transplanters and seeders, 2) advancements in the technology and practice of producing and managing high-residue cover crop mulches, and 3) improvements and acceptance of integrated weed management techniques. Results from research experiments and grower's fields over the years has shown that success with NT transplanted crops is highly dependent on achieving key production objectives, including: 1) production of dense, uniformly distributed cover crops; 2) skillful management of cover crops before transplanting, leaving a heavy, uniformly distributed killed mulch cover over the soil surface; 3) establishment of transplants into cover crops with minimum disturbance of surface residues and surface soil; and 4) adoption of year-round weed control strategies.

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Greg D. Hoyt

An experiment was established to determine the effect of different winter cover crops residues on yields of no-till pumpkins, yellow summer squash, and sweet corn. Residue treatments of fallow, triticale, crimson clover, little barley, and crimson clover + little barley were fall established and killed before spring no-till planting in 1998 and 1999. All summer vegetables received recommended fertilizer rates and labeled pesticides. Spring cover crop growth and biomass measurements ranged from 1873 to 6362 kg/ha. No-till sweet corn yields among the various cover residue treatments were greater where crimson clover and crimson clover + little barley (mixture) were used as residue in 1999, but not significantly different in 1998. No-till pumpkins showed the beneficial affect cover crop residue had on vegetable yields when dry conditions exist. Triticale and crimson clover + little barley (mixture) residues reduced soil water evaporation and produced more numbers of fruit per hectare (5049 and 5214, respectively) and greater weights of fruit (20.8 and 20.9 Mg/ha) than the other residue treatments (3725 to 4221 fruit/ha and 11.8 to 16.1 Mg/ha, respectively). No-till summer squash harvest showed steady increases in yield through time by all treatments with crimson clover residue treatment with the greatest squash yields and triticale and little barley residue treatments with the lowest squash yields. We found that sweet corn and squash yields were greater where legume cover residues were used compared to grass cover residues, whereas, pumpkin yields were higher where the greatest quantity of mulch was present at harvest (grass residues).

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Gary R. Cline and Anthony F. Silvernail

A 4-year field experiment examined how monoculture and biculture winter cover crops were affected by prior inorganic nitrogen (N) fertilization of sweet corn (Zea mays) and by kill dates associated with tillage methods. Hairy vetch (Vicia villosa) biomass production and N content remained relatively constant with (N+) or without (N0) prior N application. In N+ treatments, biomass production of winter rye (Secale cereale) and a vetch-rye biculture were significantly greater than vetch biomass production. Rye responded to prior N fertilization and recovered N from residual inorganic N fertilizer at an average annual rate of 30 kg·ha-1 (27 lb/acre), excluding contributions of roots. Nitrogen contents of vetch and biculture cover crops were similar in most years and were significantly greater than those of rye. Nitrogen contents in vetch and biculture treatments were not increased by the residual inorganic N fertilizer addition of the N+ treatment. In the biculture treatment prior N application increased total biomass production but decreased the percentage of vetch biomass. Monoculture vetch biomass production was significantly increased by delaying cover crop kill dates for 8 days in mid-May. However, such delays also significantly lowered vetch foliar N concentrations and consequently did not significantly affect vetch N content. No significant effects of delays on rye or biculture cover crops were detected. It was concluded that prior fertilization of sweet corn with inorganic N affected various cover crops differently and that delaying vetch kill dates 8 days increased biomass production but did not affect N content.

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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.

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E. Ryan Harrelson, Greg D. Hoyt, John L. Havlin, and David W. Monks

no-till pumpkin production. Some ryegrass varieties produced residue cover that completely covered the soil surface, but in general, ryegrass cover residues resulted in lower no-till vegetable yields compared with small grain selections ( Hoyt, 1999

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-TILL IN CALIFORNIA Furrow irrigation has been seen as a limitation to the adoption of no-till vegetable production systems. In experiments using off-season cover crops as mulches, Herrero et al. ( p. 43 ) demonstrated that no-till systems might

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Megan E. O’Rourke and Jessica Petersen

agronomic cropping systems to reduce soil erosion and improve sustainability ( Derpsch et al., 2010 ). In contrast, no-till vegetable production is relatively rare due to challenges with delayed soil warming, reduced germination and root growth, and weed

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Ted S. Kornecki, Francisco J. Arriaga, and Andrew J. Price

. Different roller designs have been developed to roll and crimp cover crops; however, none have been evaluated in no-till vegetable production systems for which the recommended time for cover crop termination might need to be adjusted to follow the

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Ted S. Kornecki and Francisco J. Arriaga

or ridge vegetable production systems. In addition, the tradition of plowing/disking soil in vegetable production is strong in this region. However, there is interest in the area to use cover crops in no-till vegetable systems to reduce cost and

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E. Ryan Harrelson, Greg D. Hoyt, John L. Havlin, and David W. Monks

result of lack of equipment and experience with no-till production. Weed control in no-till vegetable production requires surface applications of preemergence or postemergence herbicides for weed control ( Hoyt et al., 1996 ; Hoyt and Monks, 1996 ). Weed