Transition to conservation tillage evaluated in San Joaquin Valley cotton and tomato rotations
AuthorsJeffrey P. Mitchell
Randal J. Southard
Nicholaus M. Madden
Karen M. Klonsky
Juliet B. Baker
Richard L. DeMoura
William R. Horwath
Daniel S. Munk
Jonathan F. Wroble
Kurt J. Hembree
Wesley W. Wallender
Authors AffiliationsJ.P. Mitchell is Cooperative Extension Specialist, Department of Plant Sciences, UC Davis; R.J. Southard is Professor, Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, UC Davis; N.M. Madden is Graduate Student, Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, UC Davis; K.M. Klonsky is Cooperative Extension Specialist, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis; J.B. Baker is Graduate Student, Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, UC Davis; R.L. DeMoura is Production Cost Analyst, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis; W.R. Horwath is Professor, Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, UC Davis; D.S. Munk is Farm Advisor, UC Cooperative Extension, Fresno County; J.F. Wroble is Cooperative Extension Field Technician, UC Cooperative Extension, Fresno County; K.J. Hembree is Farm Advisor, UC Cooperative Extension, Fresno County; W.W. Wallender is Professor, Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, UC Davis.
Hilgardia 62(2):74-79. DOI:10.3733/ca.v062n02p74. April 2008.
We compared standard tillage (ST) and conservation tillage (CT) for tomato and cotton production systems, with winter cover crops (CC) and without (NO), in Five Points, Calif., from 1999 to 2003. Conservation tillage reduced tractor trips across the field by 50% for tomatoes and 40% for cotton compared to standard tillage. When averaged over the 2001 to 2003 period (when the conservation tillage systems were established), tomato yields in CTNO were 6 to 8 tons per acre higher than the other treatments. In cotton, the STNO cotton yields during this period were the highest of all treatments and were 276 pounds per acre higher than the CTNO system. In-field dust concentrations were also significantly reduced by conservation tillage. Our results suggest that conservation tillage may be a viable alternative for managing tomato and cotton crops in the San Joaquin Valley, but that fine-tuning of the systems is needed.
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