On-Farm Investigations of Stale Seedbeds with Biofumigation for Improved Management of Weeds and Soil-Borne Diseases in Chile Pepper

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2018: $131,461.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2020
Grant Recipient: New Mexico State University
Region: Western
State: New Mexico
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Brian Schutte
New Mexico State University

Information Products


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: demonstration, display, extension, on-farm/ranch research
  • Pest Management: biofumigation, cultural control, integrated pest management, prevention, weed ecology
  • Production Systems: Vegetable production, non-organic

    Proposal abstract:

    We have been conducting independent lines of farmer-collaborative research that have
    recently identified promising techniques for reducing hand hoeing costs and decreasing
    incidences of soil-borne disease in chile pepper (herein “chile”). Specifically, our previous
    studies have shown that: (1) chile weed densities and hoeing times were reduced by stale
    seedbeds implemented during the summer prior to chile planting, and (2) soil-borne diseases
    were less prevalent when a Brassicaceae cover crop (BCC) or mustard seed meal (MSM) was
    amended to soil. Stale seedbeds, BCC and MSM soil amendments suppress targeted pests by
    eliminating propagules in soil. Thus, we hypothesize that these techniques can be combined
    to produce a single, integrated tactic for improved pest management in chile production. To
    test this hypothesis, we propose to conduct on-farm studies to determine the effects of stale
    seedbeds with and without biofumigation (BCC or MSM) on the ecology and economy of
    weed and disease control in chile. Field study results will be used in economic analyses that
    evaluate the costs of stale seedbeds, MSM and BCC relative to the economic gains in
    subsequent chile production. Budget analyses will be featured in our educational outreach
    program that will measure changes in attitude and knowledge on management tactics directed
    towards pest propagules in soil. As a results of our outreach program, we expect that
    participants will: 1) understand that soil reservoirs of pest propagules are malleable, 2)
    recognize the importance of pest propagule density on pest control outcomes and pest control
    costs, and 3) appreciate the benefits and limitations of management tactics directed towards
    reservoirs of pest propagules in soil. As a result of this project, we will develop techniques
    that improve the economic viability of chile production operations, and we will teach
    principles and practices for sustainably depleting soil reservoirs of pest propagules.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The specific research objectives of this project are:
    1. Determine the effects of fallow-season stale seedbeds with and without Brassicaceae
    biofumigation on chile production factors including incidence of soil-borne disease,
    survival of pathogen propagules in soil, weed infestation severity, weed management
    requirements, weed seedbank density, and chile yield.
    2. Use economic cost-benefit analyses to compare fallow-season stale seedbeds with and
    without Brassicaceae biofumigation against conventional practice.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.