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Comparison of Reduced Tillage Cropping Systems for Onions Mulched No-Till vs. Cover Cropped Ridge Till.

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Presentation on theme: "Comparison of Reduced Tillage Cropping Systems for Onions Mulched No-Till vs. Cover Cropped Ridge Till."— Presentation transcript:

1 Comparison of Reduced Tillage Cropping Systems for Onions Mulched No-Till vs. Cover Cropped Ridge Till

2 Fall Oats Growing on Ridges

3

4 Following Spring Mulch of Winterkilled Oats on Ridges

5 Mulch No-Till Slit made in soil for hand planting onions Ridge-Till top removed Lightly tilled Cover Crop Ridge-Till Hand planted onions Stuttgart cooking onions

6 Mulch No-Till Mulch of wheat straw in valleys for moisture and erosion control C.C. Ridge-Till 2 cultivations Single seed hairy vetch as living mulch for erosion control

7  Mulch No-Till Cover Crop Ridge-Till 

8 Moisture Crop Value – Partial Crop Production Cost YieldSoil Quality Soil Temperature Inputs Ridge-Tillage with Vetch vs. No-till Ridges with Straw Mulch

9 Soil Moisture No-Till Ridge-Till Rainfall Soil Water Potential Date Rainfall (in)

10 Moisture: Scale No Irrigation, => more moisture better 0 = = 100 Results: No till with mulch CC. Ridge till Average Moisture Reading8966

11 Moisture Crop Value – Partial Crop Production Cost YieldSoil Quality Soil Temperature Inputs Ridge-Tillage with Vetch vs. No-till Ridges with Straw Mulch

12 Soil Temperature

13 Soil Temperature: Scale and Results No significant difference between treatments Ideal temperature for onions: – 55 o – 75 o F during growth In dry/hot year, no-till would conserve more moisture and stable temperature Both treatments scaled: 100 for moderate & = temperatures

14 Moisture Crop Value – Partial Crop Production Cost YieldSoil Quality Soil Temperature Inputs Ridge-Tillage with Vetch vs. No-till Ridges with Straw Mulch

15 Soil Quality No Till + Mulch Average Ridge Till + vetch Average 12 worms/ft 3 Earthworm Count Infiltration Nutrient Levels 41.4 in/hr40.3 in/hr P Below optimumAll optimum

16 Soil Quality Discussion and Scale Slightly lower P 2 O 5 in mulched no-till: Possibly due to leaching of nutrients through constant saturation and high infiltration rate Experiential double-cropping with brassicas after onion harvest supports lab finding of less than optimum P Earthworm results: Optimum soil health indication = 25/ft 3 Varies with: time of day, soil moisture levels This sample: 4 pm, hot day => still high Mulched No-Till C.C. Ridge Till Scale approximations: (out of 100)

17 Moisture Crop Value – Partial Crop Production Cost YieldSoil Quality Soil Temperature Inputs Ridge-Tillage with Vetch vs. No-till Ridges with Straw Mulch

18 Differing Field Labor & Input Costs* (per 300 ft. row) Mulched Cover Crop + Labor ($10/hr) No-till Ridge-till Seedbed Preparation 3 min 6 min Cultivation min Mulching1 hr 30 min Interseeding and min Vine Trimming Hand-weeding 1 hr 45 min 35 min Materials Mulch $ Vetch Seed $0.30 Total:$42.00 $9.30 * Does not include onion seed, harvesting, processing, & marketing

19 Differing Field Labor & Inputs: Scale 100 = $0 input 0 = $100 Results: Mulch No tillCC. Ridge till Input:$42.00$9.30 Scale:5891

20 Moisture Crop Value – Partial Crop Production Cost YieldSoil Quality Soil Temperature Inputs Ridge-Tillage with Vetch vs. No-till Ridges with Straw Mulch

21 Yield & Quality

22 Yield Sample Mulch No- TillC.C. Ridge Till Total #74 Rotten #817 Good #6655 Yield lbs Avg lbs per bulb # Crates per Row

23 Yield: Scale 100 = 8 crates (= ~10 ton/acre) 0 = 0 crates Results: 7294Scale Crates CC. Ridge till No till with mulch Yield difference primarily due to lower incidence of Fusarium Bottom Rot in no-till onions. This was also observed in no-till onions in other fields.

24 Moisture Crop Value – Partial Crop Production Cost YieldSoil Quality Soil Temperature Inputs Ridge-Tillage with Vetch vs. No-till Ridges with Straw Mulch

25 Profit Margin = (Crop Value – Cost of differing inputs & field work)* Straw Mulched No-Till: $ 240** - $ 42 = $ 192/row * Does not include onion seed, harvesting, processing, & marketing Cover Crop Ridge-Till: $ 184** - $ 9 = $ 175/row Scale: 75 Scale: = $256** ($12,800/acre) ** $32.00/crate, assumes $0.80/lb. and 20% loss due to shrinkage and disease

26 Moisture Crop Value – Partial Crop Production Cost YieldSoil Quality Soil Temperature Inputs Ridge-Tillage with Vetch vs. No-till Ridges with Straw Mulch

27 Moisture Crop Value – Partial Crop Production Cost YieldSoil Quality Soil Temperature Inputs Ridge-Tillage with Vetch vs. No-till Ridges with Straw Mulch

28 Soil moisture –Mulched no-till preserves more moisture during low rainfall, high temperatures, and crop bulbing-up, which could affect yields. –Mulched no-till also provided more disease suppression in wet weather –Caused more leaching of nutrients Soil moisture & temperature were similar in 2003 No-till yields and Ridge-till yields were same in 2003 Graphical Representation: –Does not show definitive “better” growing technique –Grower’s perspective: ridge-till requires less labor during busy season, but no-till promises more dependable yield and crop quality Summary of Results


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