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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Cultivar mixtures of processing tomato in an organic agroecosystem

Published source details

Barrios-Masias F.H., Cantwell M.I. & Jackson L.E. (2011) Cultivar mixtures of processing tomato in an organic agroecosystem. Organic Agriculture, 1, 17-30

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Pest regulation: Grow cover crops in arable fields Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2005–2006 in an irrigated, organic tomato field in Yolo County, California, USA, found that similar numbers of tomato plants were lost to disease in plots with winter cover crops or winter fallows. Crop damage: Similar numbers of tomato plants were lost to Southern blight Sclerotium rolfsii in plots with cover crops or fallows (83% vs 89% survival). Methods: The field was levelled and fertilized (17 Mg compost/ha). Eight plots had winter cover crops (mustard Brassica nigra, planted on 3 November 2005) and eight plots had winter fallows. Each plot was 16 x 9 m. Cover crops were mown on 26 April 2006, sprinkler irrigated, and tilled into the soil (10 cm depth) after 19 days, when fallow plots were also tilled. Plots were weeded and sulfur was used against mites and diseases. Tomatoes were furrow irrigated (approximately every 11 days: 88 mm/event). Plants were assessed for Southern blight, 74 days after planting and at harvest (7–8 September 2006).