- Vegetables: tomatoes
- Crop Production: cover crops, no-till, application rate management
- Education and Training: demonstration, display, farmer to farmer
- Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns
- Pest Management: field monitoring/scouting, mulches - killed, mulches - living, prevention, weather monitoring
- Production Systems: general crop production
- Soil Management: organic matter
Farmers are looking for ways to reduce input costs, protect the environment and still maintain profitability. Much attention to soil quality and soil health issues has revived interest in studying new ways to "sustain" the soil. Soil erosion is a serious problem for vegetable growers in a large portion of the Mid-Atlantic region. This project will observe the No-till method of planting processing tomatoes into a cover crop, as a way to address the problems facing tomato growers as stated above. By collaborating with one of the largest food processors in the East, Furman Foods, Inc., Brubaker Agronomic Consulting Service (does farm consulting in the Mid-Atlantic Region) and another recognized tomato grower, I hope that the results of this project to be a stimulant for farmers, researchers, universities and crop consultants, to do further replicated testing of the type of system. Most vegetable farmers in the Northeast region of the U.S. are looking for ways to reduce costs and at the same time farm in a way that is friendly to the environment. Having planted over 70 acres of no-till tomatoes in the last 4 years, I have been able to consistently observe the delay of the onset early blight in no-tilled tomatoes and have yet to spray an insecticide to control the Colorado Potato beetle! Erosion has virtually been eliminated, while soil organic matter on my farm has risen from 2.7% 10 years ago, to a current level of 4.0%. Inquires from farmers, university personnel and other researchers, (locally to internationally) have been received about the merits of no-tilled vegetables. This project will qualify and validate the benefits of this system, I have personally observed in the past 4 years and help farmers to increase profit, save soil and reduce pesticide use. Several farmers in my area have already tried this system and were pleased with the results.