Sweet Corn, Southern Pea, and Watermelon Yields following Winter Annual Grazing across Tillage Systems.
Kipling S. Balkcom1, D. Wayne Reeves1, Joe M. Kemble2, and Robert A. Dawkins2. (1) USDA-ARS, 411 S Donahue Dr, Auburn, AL 36832, (2) Auburn Univ, 101 Funchess Hall, Auburn, AL 36849
Vegetable grower income may be supplemented by winter annual grazing of stockers, but excess soil compaction can decrease vegetable yields. We initiated a study to determine the optimal tillage system for sweet corn (Zea mays, L.) cv. ‘Silver Queen’, southern pea (Vigna unguiculata L.) cv. ‘Pinkeye Purplehull’, and watermelon (Citrullus lanatus L.) cv. ‘AUProducer’ production on a Wynnville fine sandy loam (Fine-loamy, siliceous, subactive, thermic Glossic Fragiudults), in north central Alabama from 2001-2003. Three surface tillage treatments (chisel/disk/level, disk/level, no surface tillage) and three deep tillage treatments (no deep tillage, in-row subsoiling, paratill) were arranged in a factorial randomized complete block design with four replications. Each fall, all plots were planted to ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum L.) cv. ‘Marshall’ and stocked with 6.6 cattle ha-1. Winter annual grazing generated an average net income of $663.76 ha-1 minus labor over the 3 yr period. Preliminary results indicate that a combination of surface and deep tillage is required to maximize sweet corn and watermelon yields following, while only surface tillage affected southern pea yields following winter annual grazing.