Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: A comparison of four processing tomato production systems differing in cover crop and chemical inputs

Published source details

Creamer N.G., Bennett M.A., Stinner B.R. & Cardina J. (1996) A comparison of four processing tomato production systems differing in cover crop and chemical inputs. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science, 121, 559-568


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Convert to organic farming Natural Pest Control

A randomised, replicated, controlled study in 1992-1993 in Ohio, USA (Creamer et al. 1996) found that organic tomato Solanum lycopersicum plots containing a mulch had similar broad-leaved weed and grass biomass (6.6-10.6 g dry weight/m² and 1.3-7.3 g, respectively) to conventional plots treated with herbicide (3.0-6.0 g and 0.7-1.3 g) at 12 weeks after planting. There were no differences in the frequency of insect pests and diseases between the management regimes. Tomato fruit yields were similar between organic (26 t/ha) and conventional (36 t/ha) plots at one site (Columbus), but lower in organic (35 t/ha) than conventional (66 t/ha) plots at a second site (Fremont). Economic return was similar between treatments (organic US$2,029 vs. conventional US$2,068) in Columbus but lower in organic (US$2,743) than conventional (US$4,315) plots in Fremont. Organic plots had a cover crop mechanically killed and left as mulch before being cropped with tomato, and received organic fertilizer and mechanical weed control. Conventional plots were unmulched and received herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and synthetic fertilizer. Treatments were replicated four times and weeds and grasses were collected from four 0.5 m² areas within plots to calculate their biomass. Pests and diseases were scouted for weekly.