THE EFFECTS OF GROWER PRACTICE AND AGRONOMIC FACTORS ON THE PERFORMANCE OF SUCCESSIVE TOMATO CROPS
Australian growers are adopting practices that involve re-cropping of fields with processing tomatoes over multiple successive seasons. This raises a number of problems, which are reflected in crop performance. Barriers to the re-use of land for tomato cropping were identified through a census of farmers, which focussed on their growing methods and sustainability issues. Twenty-one field sites, selected to contrast management practices (irrigation type, years of cropping and planting system), were also monitored during the 1999/2000 season to establish correlations between growing methods and crop performance. Weeds, diseases and fear of long-term decline in productivity were listed by farmers as major barriers to the re-use of land for tomato production. A break phase of 5 or more years (after tomato cropping for one or more years) was used by 57% of growers using drip irrigation and 40% of growers using furrow irrigation. The lack of suitable soil-types was identified as a major limitation to production by 42% of respondents. Data from the field sites was highly variable, and over all sites, the only significant factor correlated with yield was time of planting (P=0.06), which was thought to be a consequence of seasonal conditions. In drip irrigated crops, yield was inversely related to the incidence of diseases (P<0.001) and weeds (P=0.03), and productivity declined and became more variable with repeated cropping.
Ashcroft, W.J., Fisher, P.D., Flett, S.P. and Aumann, C.D. (2003). THE EFFECTS OF GROWER PRACTICE AND AGRONOMIC FACTORS ON THE PERFORMANCE OF SUCCESSIVE TOMATO CROPS. Acta Hortic. 613, 123-129
tomato, Lycopersicon esculentum, sustainable production, soil management, irrigation, yield