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Continued Evaluation of Fall Planted Broad Leaf Cover Crops on Muck Soils 2003

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Project Leader: John J. Mishanec, CCE, NYS IPM Program

Cooperator: Wayne Gurda, Joihn Cavallaro and Frank Dagele, Orange County onion growers.

Type of grant: Cultural methods; sanitation; physical controls

Project location: This work occurred in Orange County. These results could be applied throughout the Northeast.


Many onion fields have been in continuous, unbroken production for decades. Insect and disease populations build up when no rotation is employed. Over the last few years, onion bulb mites have increased as a problem. Some growers suspect mites over-winter on the traditional grass cover crops of oats and barley. In 2001, we planted and evaluated five different fall planted broad leaf cover crops. The fall planted covers we looked at were annual crimson clover, field peas, yellow mustard, hairy vetch and buckwheat. Two growers in the onion growing region of Orange County and one grower from Oswego participated in those trials. Fields were one acre, divided into one-fifth of an acre plots. We evaluated ease of establishment, root depth and bio mass. Growers were favorably impressed with the yellow mustard and the field peas. Yellow mustard for its quick establishment and field peas because it continued growing well into winter and established a dense ground cover. For 2002, three growers fall planted fields with the five different fall cover crops. Unfortunately, for various reasons, none of the fields were planted in the spring to seed onions and field evaluations could not be carried out

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