Next Article in Journal
Growth and Tissue Elemental Composition Response of Butterhead Lettuce (Lactuca sativa, cv. Flandria) to Hydroponic and Aquaponic Conditions
Previous Article in Journal
Growth and Tissue Elemental Composition Response of Butterhead Lettuce (Lactuca sativa, cv. Flandria) to Hydroponic Conditions at Different pH and Alkalinity
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessCommunication
Horticulturae 2017, 3(3), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae3030042

Productivity Benefits from Plastic Mulch in Vegetable Production Likely to Limit Adoption of Alternate Practices that Deliver Water Quality Benefits: An On-Farm Case Study

1
NSW Department of Primary Industries, Australian Cotton Research Institute, 21888 Kamilaroi Highway, Narrabri, NSW 2390, Australia
2
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QLD), Bundaberg Research Facility, 49 Ashfield Road, Kalkie, QLD 4670, Australia
3
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, University of Queensland, Gatton, QLD 4343, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 June 2017 / Revised: 8 July 2017 / Accepted: 18 July 2017 / Published: 21 July 2017
Full-Text   |   PDF [615 KB, uploaded 24 July 2017]   |  

Abstract

Intensive tillage, high fertiliser inputs, and plastic mulch on the soil surface are widely used by vegetable growers. A field investigation was carried out to quantify the impact of alternate land management and fertiliser practices designed to improve offsite water quality on the productivity of vegetable rotations within a sugarcane farming system in a coastal region of subtropical northeast Australia. Successive crops of capsicum and zucchini were grown in summer 2010–2011 and winter 2011, respectively, using four different management practices. These were ‘Conventional’—the current conventional practice using plastic mulch, bare inter-rows, conventional tillage, and commercial fertiliser inputs; ‘Improved’—a modified conventional system using plastic mulch in the cropped area, an inter-row vegetative mulch, zonal tillage, and reduced fertiliser rates; ‘Trash mulch’—using cane trash or forage sorghum residues instead of plastic mulch, with reduced fertiliser rates and minimum or zero tillage; and ‘Vegetative mulch’—using Rhodes grass or forage sorghum residues instead of plastic mulch, with minimum or zero tillage and reduced fertiliser rates. During the second vegetable crop (zucchini), each management practice was split to receive either soil test-based nutrient inputs or a common, luxury rate of nutrient addition. The ’Trash mulch’ and ‘Vegetative mulch’ systems produced up to 43% lower capsicum and zucchini yields than either of the plastic mulch systems. The relative yield difference between trash systems and plastic mulch management systems remained the same for both the soil test-based and high nutrient application strategies, suggesting that factors other than nutrition (e.g., soil temperature) were driving these differences. View Full-Text
Keywords: capsicum; zucchini; yield; mulch; Australia capsicum; zucchini; yield; mulch; Australia
Figures

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
SciFeed

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Nachimuthu, G.; Halpin, N.V.; Bell, M.J. Productivity Benefits from Plastic Mulch in Vegetable Production Likely to Limit Adoption of Alternate Practices that Deliver Water Quality Benefits: An On-Farm Case Study. Horticulturae 2017, 3, 42.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Horticulturae EISSN 2311-7524 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top