Conservation Evidence strives to be as useful to conservationists as possible. Please take our survey to help the team improve our resource.

Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Soil properties change in no-till tomato production

Published source details

Herrero E.V., Mitchell J.P., Lanini W.T., Temple S.R., Miyao E.M., Morse R.D. & Campiglia E. (2001) Soil properties change in no-till tomato production. California Agriculture, 55, 30-34


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Water: Use no tillage in arable fields Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, controlled study in 1996–1998 in an irrigated tomato field in the San Joaquin Valley, California, USA, found that tillage (and cover crops) had inconsistent effects on water in soil. Water availability: In the tomato-growing season, more water was found in plots that had cover crops in winter and no tillage in spring, compared to plots that had bare soil in winter and tillage in spring, in some comparisons (when irrigated, data not clearly reported), but less water was found in winter and spring, in some comparisons. Methods: There were 12 plots (4.5 x 27.5 m plots) for each of two treatments (two grass-legume mixtures as winter cover crops, sown in October 1996–1997, killed and retained as mulch, with no tillage, in March 1997–1998) and there were 12 control plots (bare-soil fallow in winter, with herbicide, and conventional tillage in spring). Soil water was measured throughout the year with hydroprobes (0–6 feet depth until autumn 1997, then 0–7 feet depth). It was not clear whether these results were a direct effect of cover crops or tillage.

 

Soil: Use no tillage in arable fields Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, controlled study in 1996–1998 in an irrigated tomato field in the San Joaquin Valley, California, USA (same study as (2)), found more soil carbon and earthworms in plots with winter cover crops and no tillage, compared to plots with bare soil in winter and conventional tillage in spring. Organic matter: More soil carbon was found in plots with no tillage, compared to tillage (0.66–0.72% vs 0.62% carbon, 0–0.6 inches depth). Soil organisms: More earthworms were found in plots with no tillage, compared to tillage (2.1 vs 0.6 earthworms/square foot). Methods: There were 12 plots (4.5 x 27.5 m plots) for each of two treatments (two grass-legume mixtures as winter cover crops, sown in October 1996–1997, killed and retained as mulch, with no tillage, in March 1997–1998) and there were 12 control plots (bare-soil fallow in winter, with herbicide, and conventional tillage in spring). Soil carbon was sampled in September 1998 (eight subsamples/plot, 0–0.6 inches depth). Earthworms were sampled in March 1998 (two cylinders/plot, 16.5 inches diameter, 6 inches depth, sprinkled with mustard powder so that earthworms would come to the surface). It was not clear whether these results were a direct effect of cover crops or tillage.

 

Soil: Grow cover crops in arable fields Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, controlled study in 1996–1998 in an irrigated tomato field in the San Joaquin Valley, California, USA (same study as (7)), found more soil carbon and earthworms in plots with winter cover crops (and no tillage), compared to plots with bare fallows (and tillage in spring). Organic matter: More soil carbon was found in plots with cover crops, compared to fallows (0.66–0.72% vs 0.62% carbon, 0–0.6 inches depth). Soil organisms: More earthworms were found in plots with cover crops, compared to fallows (2.1 vs 0.6 earthworms/square foot). Methods: There were 12 plots (4.5 x 27.5 m plots) for each of two treatments (two grass-legume mixtures as winter cover crops, sown in October 1996–1997, killed and retained as mulch, with no tillage, in March 1997–1998) and there were 12 control plots (bare fallow in winter, with herbicide, and conventional tillage in spring). Soil carbon was sampled in September 1998 (eight subsamples/plot, 0–0.6 inches depth). Earthworms were sampled in March 1998 (two cylinders/plot, 16.5 inches diameter, 6 inches depth, sprinkled with mustard powder so that earthworms would come to the surface). It was not clear whether these results were a direct effect of cover crops or tillage.

 

Water: Grow cover crops in arable fields Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, controlled study in 1996–1998 in an irrigated tomato field in the San Joaquin Valley, California, USA, found that winter cover crops had inconsistent effects on water availability. Water availability: In the tomato-growing season, more water was found in plots with winter cover crops (and no tillage in spring), compared to plots with bare soil in winter (and tillage in spring), in some comparisons (when irrigated; data not clearly reported). However, in in winter and spring, less water was found in plots with cover crops, in some comparisons. Methods: There were 12 plots (4.5 x 27.5 m plots) for each of two treatments (two grass-legume mixtures as winter cover crops, sown in October 1996–1997, killed and retained as mulch, with no tillage, in March 1997–1998) and there were 12 control plots (bare-soil fallows in winter, with herbicide, and conventional tillage in spring). Soil water was measured throughout the year with hydroprobes (0–6 feet depth until autumn 1997, then 0–7 feet depth). It was not clear whether these results were a direct effect of cover crops or tillage.