Soil management strategies for processing tomato, Lycopersicon esculentum Mill., production

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Thomas, Robert John
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University of Guelph

Processing tomatoes are grown on approximately 6,000 ha in southwestern Ontario. Field experiments were conducted in 1998 and 1999 at two locations to explore the potential of alternative tillage practices, including zone-tillage, on growth, development, yield and quality of tomatoes. Growth measurements of leaf number, plant height, stem diameter, total above ground dry weight and LAI did not differ with tillage system. Rye (' Secale cereale' L.) used as a cover crop did not influence tomato growth or development. Yield differences were not observed for red and green tomato fruit harvested in the conventional, disked or zone-tillage treatments. Yield reductions were observed however, for both red and green fruit with no-tillage. The delay in crop maturity associated with no-till reduced the potential for the application of this tillage practice for tomato production. Tomato postharvest quality did not differ among tillage systems. Zone-tillage was found to be a viable alternative to the moldboard plow as a primary tillage practice for the production of processing tomatoes.

processing tomatoes, Lycopersicon esculentum Mill., soil management, alternative tillage practices, zone-tillage, growth, development, yield, quality