An alternative, low-input production system for fresh market tomatoes

D. O. Chellemi, F. M. Rhoads, S. M. Olson, J. R. Rich, D. Murray, G. Murray, D. M. Sylvia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


An alternative, low-input production system for fresh market tomato was developed using strip tillage practices in conjunction with established bahiagrass pasture. The alternative system was designed to reduce the impact of soilborne pests, minimize agricultural inputs, improve soil conservation and optimize yields. Field experiments indicate that competition from bahiagrass for nutrients within the tilled strips significantly impacted yield. Selective colonization of tomato roots by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi isolated from field plots was observed. Damage from root-knot nematodes was minimized by planting tomato into established bahiagrass pastures. The alternative system was validated on a commercial tomato production farm in a side by side comparison with a conventional production system consisting of raised beds, fumigated with methyl bromide and covered by black polyethylene plastic. Yields were 6.5 t/ha greater under the conventional system. However, the net return was $568/ha greater in the alternative system. The results indicate that the alternative system has the potential to replace or supplement the conventional production system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-68
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Alternative Agriculture
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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