Strip Tillage in Vegetable Crops

Strip-Tillage Cover Crop  Strip-Tillage Roller

Conservation tillage strategies such as strip tillage have revolutionized the way agronomic crops are grown and have similar potential to dramatically enhance the sustainability in vegetable production systems. Current projects in our lab focus on developing strip tillage systems for cucurbit crop production using cereal rye as a cover crop. Strip tillage establishes narrow cultivated strips (8 to13 inches wide) for crop plants while leaving soil and crop residues undisturbed between the strips. Strip tillage thus has many of the soil-building properties and could be a valuable tool to conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and improve fruit quality. Still a lot need to be done to understand soil nutrient dynamics and practical applicability of adopting strip tillage on a commercial scale. As we go along with our projects we anticipate to address key issues and challenges associated with strip tillage adoption. Jennifer Tillman (graduate student) is working on the strip tillage project in melon production.