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Preventing Muck Soil Erosion by Reducing Tillage in Onion Production

Christy Hoepting, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: January 7, 2013

Preventing Muck Soil Erosion by Reducing Tillage in Onion Production
The problem with using conventional tillage practices for onion production on muck soils is that it results in the subsidence of muck via wind and water erosion and oxidation of organic matter at a rate of one foot every 10 years, which is not sustainable for preserving these non-renewable natural  resources for long-term productivity. Onions are one of the most valuable vegetable crops produced in New York State with the majority of the 13,000 acres being grown on muck soil. Producing onions using conventional tillage practices results in degradation of soil health and increased subsidence. This leads to increased fertilizer and crop protection chemical input to maintain productivity, resulting only in increased subsidence and declining productivity at ever increasing costs. It is a scientifically proven fact that wind and water erosion, and subsidence decreases as ground cover increases and cultivation decreases. In this project, we developed and evaluated growing onions from direct seed in reduced tillage production systems using oat and wheat cover crops on muck soil on a commercial scale. This was the first attempt of its kind, and a success with the minimum tillage systems producing comparable yields to the conventional system, having reduced onion thrips, bacterial rots and Botrytis leaf blight, and significant reductions in soil compaction and reduced wind erosion compared to the conventional system.

Preventing Erosion of Muck Soils by Reducing Tillage in Onion Production (pdf; 1908KB)

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Upcoming Events

2021 Oswego County Onion Growers Twilight Meeting

Event Offers DEC Credits

June 24, 2021
Hannibal, NY

It's going to be a Weed Control Extravaganza at this year's Oswego County Onion Growers Twilight Meeting! Bring weed samples for identification. 2.25 DEC recertification credits will be available (categories 1A, 10 and 23). CCA credits will also be available. This meeting is being organized by Oswego County Vegetable Growers and Improvement Association and CCE Cornell Vegetable Program.

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Announcements

Herbicide Charts for Vegetable Crops Available

The Cornell Vegetable Program has compiled herbicide charts for control of weeds in the following crops in New York in 2021: table beets and peas. While these reference charts are handy, it is critical to read the labels thoroughly. 

Eastern Broccoli Market Opportunity Assessment

Is there an opportunity for New York growers and marketers to invest in broccoli production and distribution as a way to diversify and strengthen their businesses, while adding jobs, dollars, and resilience to the economy and rural communities?

The Eastern Broccoli Market Opportunity Assessment for New York State sought to answer this very question. The study was made possible by the initiative of three partner organizations: Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation, Red Tomato, and the Eastern Broccoli Project, with funding provided by Empire State Development.


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