UMass Extension Vegetable Program

Deep Zone Tillage

Reduced and modified tillage (RT) systems (e.g. no-, zone-, strip) represent strategies to reduce soil degradation and erosion and protect water quality. Previous research has shown that these tillage systems can provide the environmental and economic benefits of a RT system for many vegetable crops without the harvest delays or losses observed in straight no-till.

Reduced Tillage systems can improve both soil quality and soil drainage, potentially reducing Phytophtora blight among other soil borne pathogens. Growers who have tried deep-zone tillage (DZT) have observed that crops grown also appear to withstand drought more successfully than conventionally tilled fields.

Case studies. We are working with Cornell Extension and local growers who have tried DZT, to evaluate the benefits and potential hurdles associated with this system.  Please follow the link to Cornell Extension, for evaluations from farmers across the Northeast.

Reduced tillage resources. Cornell Extension offers several fact sheets on Reduced Tillage.

Reduced Tillage SARE Project Summary (Massachusetts, 2010-2013). We worked with Cornell Extension on a three year SARE project titled: "Reducing climatic and disease risks through minimum tillage systems for vegetables". This is a project summary for the work completed in Massachusetts. Full annual reports of the project may be found here.