Cropping System, Setting, and Fertility Regime are Important Factors in Crop Yield and Quality

Crop growing environments influence yield and quality significantly. These environments are shaped in multiple ways. Of these, altering the cropping system (e.g., organic versus conventional), setting (e.g., field versus high tunnel) or fertility regimen can profoundly affect farms, farmers, soils and other variables. A recent comprehensive and authoritative report by the team of Reeve and Drost provides strong evidence of this fact in a high tunnel tomato system. The authors document the status of numerous crop and soil variables as they are affected by transitional-organic and conventional growing methods involving different soil and fertility management programs. The authors also suggest that high tunnel soil and fertility management be approached carefully, especially when long-term, high-level production is desired. Many appear to think similarly. Open-field and, increasingly, high tunnel farmers continue to raise soil and crop health management questions in various ways and venues. And, other reports (e.g., Briar and others 2011, Baysal and others 2008) agree with Reeve and Drost (2012).