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Open AccessArticle

Combining Green Manuring and Fertigation Maximizes Tomato Crop Yield and Minimizes Nitrogen Losses

Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, University of Perugia, 06121 Perugia, Italy
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Agronomy 2020, 10(7), 977; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10070977
Received: 5 June 2020 / Revised: 4 July 2020 / Accepted: 6 July 2020 / Published: 8 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nitrogen Fertilization in Vegetable Crops)
The aim of this experiment was to evaluate the effect of fertilizing processing tomato by coupling the green manuring of fall-winter cover crops with fertigation in spring-summer. In a two-year experiment, seven fertilization treatments were compared: green manuring of pure barley (B100) and pure vetch (V100) sown at 100% of their ordinary seeding rates, green manuring of a barley-vetch mixture at a ratio of 75:25 of their own seed rates (B75V25), fertigation with drip irrigation at a rate of 200 kg ha−1 of nitrogen (N) (Fert_N200), fertigation combined with B100 and B75V25 at a N rate complementary to 200 kg N ha−1 (B100 + Fert and B75V25 + Fert, respectively), and an unfertilized control (N0) with no cover crops for green manuring prior to tomato transplanting or fertigation. The Fert_N200 treatment resulted in maximum tomato N uptake, growth and yield, but caused high N leaching, especially during the no-cover fall-winter period, as was also the case for N0. The V100 treatment promoted quite good tomato N status and yield, but did not reduce N leaching. The B100 and B75V25 treatments reduced N leaching but decreased tomato N uptake, growth and yield. The B100 + Fert and B75V25 + Fert treatments reduced N leaching, likely increased soil N stock, and facilitated optimal tomato N nutrition and maximum yields. Combining fertigation with green manuring of cover crops composed of pure grass or grass-legume mixtures appears to be a very effective and environmentally sound practice for fertilizing high N-demanding spring-summer crops like processing tomato. View Full-Text
Keywords: vetch; barley; intercrops; drainage; leaching; fruit yield vetch; barley; intercrops; drainage; leaching; fruit yield
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Farneselli, M.; Benincasa, P.; Tosti, G.; Guiducci, M.; Tei, F. Combining Green Manuring and Fertigation Maximizes Tomato Crop Yield and Minimizes Nitrogen Losses. Agronomy 2020, 10, 977.

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