1. RESEARCH PROPOSAL PRESENTATION ON
COST BENEFIT ANALYSIS OF TOMATO
PRODUCED IN THE DRY SEASON UNDER WOOD
SHAVINGS AND BLACK PLASTIC MULCH
A CASE STUDY OF VALLEY VIEW UNIVERSITYTECHIMAN
2. BACKGROUND AND
Africa’s water resources are scattered throughout the continent. While some
areas receive more than enough (rainfall), others experience constant drought.
Lack of access to water is a larger problem in Africa than anywhere else. Of
the 25 nations in the world with the greatest percentage of people lacking
access to safe drinking water, 19 are in Africa. Perhaps the greatest cause of
Africa’s problem of lack of water is that the continent cannot effectively
utilize its resources (www.library.thinkquest.org).
Though approximately 4 trillion cubic meters of water is available every year,
only about 4% of that is used. The continent and its people lack the technical
knowledge and financial resources needed to access their water supplies.
3. BACKGROUND AND
It is therefore necessary to utilize our available water resources effectively. Rain
harvesting can be employed as a means of curbing this problem where applicable,
especially in the urban areas (as the roofing systems in these areas permit the
achievement off this objective). This same water resource can be used to aid
agriculture through irrigation (especially during the lean/minor rainfall season) in
an attempt to address food security problems in Africa.
In the rural and farming communities, with respect to areas with access to streams
and rivers, irrigation dams can be constructed to facilitate dry season farming. In
Ghana, irrigation farming is a common phenomenon with respect to farms located
near rivers and other water bodies. In the later years of the twentieth century,
specifically 1975, the Acheampong Military Government begun constructing the
Tono irrigation dam in the Upper East region to encourage farmers to produce
food and cash crops.
4. BACKGROUND AND
Tomato is an indispensable ingredient in the diets of many around the world with Ghana being a
typical example. Its use has resulted in its demand exceeding supply in Ghana (both fresh and
processed) with prices rocketing sky high during the lean season and cheap during the
major/bumper harvest season. Demand for the crop world wide has a similar trend. The sector in
Ghana has however failed to reach its potential. The location of the dam is ideal as it can address
the problem of declining yield in tomato production through irrigation farming. Its ecological
location also makes it unique for tomato production. The dam is one of the biggest agricultural
dams in West Africa. It supplies 2400 hectares of irrigated land for cultivation
With the advent of the irrigation dam, farming activities was encouraged in the surrounding areas.
All year-round farming was practiced as there was water available to facilitate production. One of
the major crops produced in the region is tomato. This led to the construction of the Northern Star
Tomato factory, formerly known as Pwalugu Tomato factory. Similar processing plants were
erected in and around major tomato producing areas (www.ghanabizmedia.com).
5. BACKGROUND AND
The GIHOC Tomato Cannery (TOMCAN) is located at Wenchi in the Brong Ahafo
region, GIHOC Cannery in Nsawam, a town near Accra and Techiman Processing
Promotion Centre (TPPC), FAO/Italy/MOFA project-Techiman.
Tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum) is widely used as a food source and available yearround in fresh and preserved forms, there is no shortage of uses for this versatile
“vegetable” (www.tomatoesareevil.com). Tomato production in Ghana is a very lucrative
business despite the many production setbacks. It is a source of employment for farmers
and for that matter a source of income that supports their livelihood.
Compared to other vegetables used in Ghana, tomato is normally used in large quantities
(Ellis et al., 1998). The crop is grown for fresh market and for processing.
6. BACKGROUND AND
However, in most West African countries, it is produced mainly for domestic consumption
(Norman, 1992). The crop thrives well in the savanna and forest savanna transitional zones
of Ghana. A major reason why it is predominantly produced in the Upper East region and
the Brong Ahafo region (Akomadan). The establishment of the two processing plants in the
Brong Ahafo region has greatly increased the regions potential of becoming a major
production area in the nation.
Tomato production greatly contributes to the economy of the nation. As a food crop, it is an
integral part of almost all the local and continental dishes prepared in Ghana. It is a part of
the nation’s food basket in the determination of our gross domestic product and inflation
rates. It serves as a source of raw material for production firms and a source of foreign
exchange for the country. Its cultivation provides employment to farmers who engage in it
and a source of income to support their livelihoods (www.ghanabizmedia.com).
7. FIGURE 1.1
TOMATO PRODUCTION TREND IN
GHANA FROM 1970-2007
Source: Composite graph using
data from FAOSTAT; SRID;
MOFA; Asuming-Brempong and
Asuming Boakye 2008.
8. BACKGROUND AND
The tomato sector in Ghana (according to the graph above) has failed to reach its
potential in terms of attaining yields comparable to other countries. The inability
to sustain processing plants, improving the livelihoods of farmers involved in
tomato production and the tomato commodity chain are all reasons why the sector
has failed to reach its potential (www.ifpri.org/.../gsspwp19.pdf).
Production of the crop has not been encouraging over the years. The present total
land area under cultivation is unknown, but about 16,000 ha of Ghana's arable
land was under tomato cultivation in 1995 (PPMED, 1996). The current
production level is inadequate for the nation. Production is confined to only a few
months of the year (mainly done under rain-fed conditions), resulting in a glut and
low producer prices (www.ifpri.org).
9. BACKGROUND AND
This is followed by shortage and rise in price of the fresh produce, especially during the
dry/minor season. Scarcity and high cost of fresh tomatoes were major constraints,
accounting among other things, for the unprofitable running of the factories (Apte et aI.,
Despite government interventions that include the establishment of a number of tomato
processing factories, tomatoes of the right quality and quantity for commercial agroprocessing are not being grown. Many farmers still prefer to plant local varieties with a
high water content, many seeds, poor color and low brix (sugar content). Average yields
remain low, typically under ten (10 tons) tons per hectare.
Because of seasonal production, high perishability, poor market access, transportation and
competition from imports, some farmers are unable to sell their produce and are left to rot
in their fields. In spite of these challenges, other farmers in Ghana have achieved higher
yields, profitable production and choose to grow tomatoes over other crops.
10. BACKGROUND AND
Data for the tomato sector have not been collected consistently at a national level
since the 1980’s and so it’s not possible to make strong statements concerning
(www.ifpri.org/.../gsspwp19.pdf). As a consequence, processed tomato products
continue to be imported into the country annually. For instance, in 1994, 1995 and
1996, Ghana imported 2,873.4, 3,283.2 and 6,177.8 metric tons respectively of
tomato paste (Ministry of Trade, 1996).
Data from the Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Division (PPMED
1997) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) indicate that the highest
ever annual production was recorded in 1995 (213,000 mt), and the lowest was
recorded in 1997 (35,800 mt). The overall annual production seldom reaches
11. BACKGROUND AND
Despite the stated setbacks, Ghana still has the potential to boost its tomato production like
neighboring African countries. This can be effectively achieved by employing the right
planting materials, production procedures, use of farm machinery and practicing all year
round production (irrigation farming during the dry/lean season).
In an attempt to address the increasing demand for tomato (fresh and processed), a large
number of experiments (research) have been conducted to study the response of drip
irrigation and plastic mulch on yield improvement of tomato and other crops in different
agro-climatic region and soil condition across the globe.
About 20 - 60% higher yields were obtained with drip irrigation in some studies
(Sivanappan et al., 1974), while in other studies yield was reported to be slightly lower or
equal to that of conventional irrigation (Doss et al., 1980) along with reduction in irrigation
requirement of 30 - 60%.
12. BACKGROUND AND
Tomato is also suited to drip irrigation in combination with plastic mulch, but little work
has been done to study the effects of drip irrigation and plastic mulch on crop yield and
yield component of tomato in the dry season in Ghana. The present investigation is
planned to determine the “COST BENEFIT ANALYSIS OF TOMATO PRODUCED IN
THE DRY SEASON UNDER SAW DUST AND PLASTIC MULCHES”.
Research on plastic and organic (straw/grass and manure) mulches and their effect on
tomato cultivation have been carried out across the globe. Results from these researches
have proven that generally, mulches help improve the yield and growth index of tomato as
compared to the traditional methods used in cultivation. This is achieved as a result of the
mulch reducing surface evaporation, leaching, controlling weeds and thereby controlling
competition for soil nutrients, water, air and sunlight. The adoption of this method coupled
with irrigation (drip) has the propensity to curb the declining production trend of tomato in
the nation, especially if widely carried out in the lean season.
13. BACKGROUND AND
Below are a few of such universities that carried out such research:
University of Ibadan, Nigeria, Department of Crop Protection and Environmental
Biology, researched into the “Effects of Three Mulch Types on the Growth and
Yield of Tomato (Lycopersicon Esculentum Mill.) And Weed Suppression in
Ibadan, Rainforest-Savanna Transition Zone of Nigeria”.
The Department of Horticulture, Clemson University, Clemson (U.S.A.), Coastal
Plains Soil and Water Conservation Research Center, Florence, SC (U.S.A.) also
researched into the “Plastic Mulch Color Effects on Reflected Light and Tomato
The Department of Horticulture, Ames Western Research Farm, Castana, also
researched on the “Effect of Red Plastic Mulch on Early Tomato Production”.
14. BACKGROUND AND
The Department of Agricultural Machinery, Faculty of Agriculture, Islamic Azad
University, Takestan Branch, Iran also researched on the “EFFECT OF PLASTIC
MULCH AND TILLAGE METHOD ON YIELD AND YIELD COMPONENTS
OF TOMATO (Lycopersicon esculentum)”.
The Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar,
India researched on the “Effect of black plastic mulch on soil temperature and
tomato yield in mid hills of Garhwal Himalayas”.
Almost all of these researches were carried out during the major growing season
of tomato the more reason why this research is relevant.
15. PROBLEM STATEMENT
Despite the increasing demand in both local and worldwide markets for the fresh and processed
tomato, its supply is on the decline and has resulted in a number of processing factories in the nation’s
closure as tomato serves as a raw material for their production. Importation of the processed product is
rather on the increase as it is indispensable in the diets of many Ghanaians(PPMED 1997, MOFA).
This problem can be attributed to the following factors: lack of irrigation facilities for dry season
tomato cultivation, Farm finance, Seeds for planting, Land tenure or land acquisition problems,
Marketing of produce, Land preparation, Diseases, pests and problems with weed control. Most of the
problems are associated with the production procedure of the crop.
The research is therefore directed towards addressing this central question: what production procedure
is most effective for dry season cultivation in Ghana?
The following specific questions are expected to be addressed:
To what extent can the procedure improve the yield index of tomato production in Ghana?
Can the procedure be practiced in all production areas in Ghana?
How available are the materials for carrying out the procedure?
16. RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
The general objective of the study is to determine the cost effectiveness of producing tomato
with saw dust and black plastic mulch in the dry season as compared to the traditional
method of production.
Specifically, the study will address the following objectives:
To determine the soil moisture regulation capabilities of the plastic and organic mulches.
To determine the temperature changes in soils as a result of the mulches and their effect on
growth index of the tomato.
To estimate the cost of inputs of production in comparison to output (cost benefit analysis).
To determine the most appropriate mulch for dry season tomato production in techiman.
17. -LITERATURE REVIEWORIGIN AND DESCRIPTION
Originally cultivated by the famously blood thirsty Aztecs and Incas as early as
700 A.D., tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) is native to the Americas
(www.tomatoesareevil.com). A French botanist Tournefort provided the Latin
botanical name, Lycopersicon esculentum, to the tomato. The English word
tomato comes from the Spanish word, tomate, derived from a Nahuati (Aztec
language) word, tomatl (www.tomatoesareevil.com).
It first appeared in prints in 1595. As a member of the deadly nightshade family,
tomatoes were erroneously taught to be poisonous (although the leaves are
poisonous) by Europeans who were suspicious of the bright shiny fruit. Native
versions were small and most likely yellow rather than red. Italy was the first to
embrace and cultivate tomato outside America (www.tomatoesareevil.com).
18. -LITERATURE REVIEWORIGIN AND DESCRIPTION
Tomatoes are a member of the botanical family Solanaceae, which contains many
potentially poison-ous plants (nightshade, nicotianas [includes tobacco and
petunias], Jimson weed [belladonna], and mandrake), as well as edible plants
(potatoes, capsicums, and eggplants). All members of this family have toxic
alkaloids present in either their leaves or their fruits (www.tomatoesareevil.com).
There are two types of tomato plant growth habits: determinate and
Determinate tomato plants will grow to a genetically specified height and
produce all of their fruiting flowers at one time.
Indeterminate tomato plants continue to grow and produce fruiting flowers
throughout the entire season.
19. -LITERATURE REVIEWORIGIN AND DESCRIPTION
The crop was introduced into Africa by conquering European nations that
established colonies and protectorates throughout the continent. Nowadays,
tomatoes are used in almost all African cuisines, especially in East Africa and the
20. -LITERATURE REVIEWTomato Production
Tomatoes grow best on well-drained soils that have good air and water infiltration
rates. Lime should be applied to achieve a pH of 6.0 to 6.8 according to soil test
recommen-dations. Tomatoes require a constant supply of moisture during the growing
season. This raises concerns on the irrigation method to be used with plastic mulching.
Irrigation is an important determinant of crop yield, because it is associated with many
factors of plant environment, which influence growth and development
Availability of adequate amount of moisture at critical stages of plant growth not only
optimizes the metabolic process in plant cells but also increases the effectiveness of the
mineral nutrients applied to the crop. Consequently any degree of water stress may
produce deleterious effects on growth and yield of the crop (Saif et al., 2003).
21. -LITERATURE REVIEWTomato Production
Surface irrigation method is most widely used all over the world (Mustafa et al., 2003).
In this method, the major proportion of irrigation water is lost by surface evaporation,
deep percolation and other loses, resulting in lower irrigation efficiencies. Moreover,
there is a tendency of farmer’s to apply excess water when it is available (Jain et al.,
2000). Under limited water supply conditions farmers tend to increase irrigation interval,
which creates water stress resulting in low yields and poor quality.
Drip irrigation, with its ability to provide small and frequent water applications directly
in the vicinity of the plant root zone has created interest, because of decreased water
requirement and possible increase in production (Jain et al., 2000). The more reason why
it suits this research as the research is to be conducted in the dry season. As the world
become increasingly dependent on the production of irrigated lands, irrigated agriculture
faces serious challenges that threatens its suitability.
22. -LITERATURE REVIEWTomato Production
It is prudent to make efficient use of water and bring more area under irrigation through
available water resources. This can be achieved by introducing advanced methods of
irrigation and improved water management practice (Zaman et al., 2001). Among the
water management practices for increasing water use efficiency (WUE) one of them is
mulching. Any material spread on the surface of soil to protect it from solar radiation or
evaporation is called mulch.
Different types of materials like wheat straw, rice straw, plastic film, grass, wood, sand
etc. are used as mulches. They moderate soil temperature and increase water infiltration
during intensive rain (Gajri et al., 1994; Khurshid et al., 2006).This is basically due to the
nature of the mulch. However, excess water at any time during growth, especially after
fruit set, may increase the fruit’s susceptibility to cracking (both radial and concentric) and
fungal diseases, which can reduce fruit quality and yield.
23. -LITERATURE REVIEWTomato Production
The best temperature range for the growing season is between 70 F/21oC and
90 F/32oC; temperatures above 90 F or below 55 F will slow the growth, pollination,
and maturation of the crop. With adequate soil moisture, tomato plants can tolerate
temperatures in excess of 100oF/38oC, although fruit set is adversely affected.
Commercial tomato production did not begin until after 1860 when tomatoes were
finally accepted by consumers. Since 1890, tomato breeding has developed varieties
adopted for use around the world. Tomatoes come in many different types of fruit, fresh
or beefsteak types, grape, saladette, cherry, plum or paste, and others. Producing a
mixture of these types may expand your marketing capabilities and prospects.
24. -LITERATURE REVIEWTomato Production
Two management practices which greatly influence tomato fruit yield are spacing
and fertilizer application as reported by Abdel-Mawgoud et al.. Most of African
soils show nutrient deficient problems after only a short period of cultivation
because of their nature as well as prevailing environmental conditions.
The knowledge of crop response to population density provides the basis for
accessing the effects of intraspecific competition. This was in response to
Bodunde et al. who reported that increasing economic yield of most crops is
through cropping at high planting density. It is a well known fact that adequate
fertilizer is required by tomato for growth and high yield. The fertilizer does this
through its ability to replenish the soil with nutrients that are lacking in the soil.
25. -LITERATURE REVIEWTomato Production
Plant height at maturity decreases with higher planting density but increases with
increasing fertilizer (NPK 15:15:15) application rate up to 400 kg/ha. Plants height at
maturity increases as both the planting density and fertilizer application increases.
Number of flower per plant and fruit number per plant is significantly influenced by the
planting density and quantity of fertilizer applied.
26. -LITERATURE REVIEWTomato Production
The tomato-growing locations in Ghana include the northern part of the Offinso District
in the Ashanti Region, and the Techiman, Nkoranza, and Wenchi Districts in the Brong
Ahafo Region. The specific locations within these districts are Akumadan and Afrancho
in the Offinso District; Tanoso and Tuobodom in the Techiman District; Kranka, Fiema,
Senya, Asempaneye, Akumsa Dumase, and Nkoranza in the Nkoranza District; and
Subingya Awisa, Ofuman, Nwoase, Ayeasu, and Atrensu in the Wenchi Distric.t.
Of these locations, Akumadan, Tanoso and Subingya have irrigation facilities installed by
the Irrigation Development Authority of the Government of Ghana. Varieties grown in
Ghana include Laurano "70“, Racci, Zaussi, Power reno, Power rasta and Mixture of
varieties as well as Variety grown unknown.
27. -LITERATURE REVIEWTomato Production
The problem of insufficient extension officers with the few disseminating outdated
information also has a great tow on the nation’s production capacity.
Other constraints are highlighted as follows: lack of irrigation facilities for dry season
tomato cultivation, Farm finance, Seeds for planting, Land tenure or land acquisition
problems, Marketing of produce, Land preparation, Diseases, pests and problems with
Recent findings concerning the use of mulches in tomato production has proven to be very
effective, efficient and promising as yields are improved upon comparison to the traditional
method of production. Utilization of plastics in agriculture started in the developed
countries and is now spreading to the developing countries.
Protected cultivation in the broad sense, including mulching, has been widely spread by the
innovation of plastic films. Paper, straw, and glass were the main materials used before the
era of plastics.
AFRICA AND MIDDLE EAST
THE USE OF PLASTIC MULCH
(HA) IN THE WORLD (AFTER
The use of plastic mulches for
crop production is emphasized
in the table above:
29. -LITERATURE REVIEWTomato Production
Wide use in Asia especially drastic increase in China in the last ten years is apparent.
China had the largest area of plastic mulch in the world followed by Japan, Spain, and
France in 1999. The European region was second next to Asia, and Spain, France and
Italy were the top three countries in Europe. In recent times, the use of plastic mulches
has been adopted in some African countries like Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya.
Different types of mulches (organic and inorganic) have been used with each having
varying results. Organic mulches used are comprised of straw, hay, peanut hulls, leaf
mold and compost; wood products such as sawdust, wood chips and shavings, and animal
manures. However, natural mulch materials are often not available in adequate quantities
for commercial operations or must be hauled to the place of use.
30. -LITERATURE REVIEWTomato Production
Natural materials are not easily spread on growing crops and require considerable hand
labor. Expense and logistical problems have generally restricted use of organic mulch to
home gardeners and small market gardens with only limited use on a large commercial
scale. Inorganic mulches used include transparent, black, white, yellow, orange, grey,
blue, red and aluminum or silver reflective plastics (http://osufacts.okstate.edu).
Below is a general summary of the results/benefits of using plastic mulches:
Plastic mulch can be used effectively to modify soil temperature. Black or clear mulch
intercept sunlight which warms the soil.
31. -LITERATURE REVIEWGENERAL RESULT DISCUSSION
White or aluminum mulch reflects the sun’s heat and keeps the soil cooler. Black mulch
applied to the planting bed prior to planting will warm the soil and promote faster growth
in early season, which generally leads to earlier harvest. First harvest acceleration of 7 to
14 days is not uncommon, depending on weather conditions. Clear mulch warms the soil
more than black and usually provides even earlier harvest. Clear mulch, however, does
not block light, which means weed control beneath the mulch is needed.
SOIL MOISTURE REGULATION
Plastic mulch helps prevent soil water loss during dry years and sheds excessive water
away from the crop root zone during periods of excessive rain fall. This can reduce
irrigation frequency and amount, and may help reduce the incidence of moisture related
physiological disorders such as blossom end rot on tomato.
32. -LITERATURE REVIEWGENERAL RESULT DISCUSSION
The type of mulch selected can exert a distinct effect on weed control. Black plastic
mulch prevents light from reaching the soil surface, which in turn prevents most weeds
from growing. Intact plastic controls essentially all annual weeds and some perennial
weeds such as John-son grass. Nuts edge is not effectively controlled by plastic mulch.
Clear mulch does not prevent weeds from growing and, in fact, may make their growth
more vigorous due to the growing environment beneath the plastic.
REDUCED FERTILIZER LEACHING
As excessive rainfall is shed from the root zone, fertilizer loss due to leaching is
reduced. This is particularly true in sandy soils. This allows the grower to place more
pre-plant fertilizer in the row prior to planting the crop.
33. -LITERATURE REVIEWGENERAL RESULT DISCUSSION
Plastic mulch helps keep fruits such as tomato from contacting the ground. This
reduces soil rot and helps keep the product clean. Fruit cracking and blos-som end
rot are reduced in many cases. Fruits tend to be smoother with fewer scars.
Properly installed plastic helps keep soil from splashing onto the plants during
rainfall, which can reduce grading time.
REDUCED SOIL COMPACTION
Soil under the mulch re-mains loose and friable. Aeration and soil microbial
activity are enhanced.
34. -LITERATURE REVIEWGENERAL RESULT DISCUSSION
REDUCED ROOT PRUNING
The mulch strip effectively prevents cultivation equipment from injuring crop
roots. Cul-tivation and/or chemical weed control can still be used in the row
IMPROVED PLANT GROWTH
A combination of the above, and perhaps other factors, results in more
vigorous, healthier plants which may be more resistant to pest injury.
35. -LITERATURE REVIEW-
DISADVANTAGES OF USING PLASTIC
Plastic mulch costs, installation and removal are quiet expensive. Most of this is an
upfront cost which must be borne for the duration of the crop. Some additional equipment
is also required. As a minimum, a mulch laying machine must be purchased or
constructed in the farm shop. Equipment (bedder) must also be available to prepare and
shape the planting bed for mulch application. Also, de-pending on the extent of the
operation, transplanting/seeding equipment must be purchased.
REMOVAL AND DISPOSAL
Non-degradable plastic mulch must be removed from the field. First time users often find
this a frustrating experience until individual techniques are developed. Machines are
available to lift the plastic but the bulk is done with hand labor. Approximately eight
hours of labor are required to remove plastic from one acre.
36. -LITERATURE REVIEW-
DISADVANTAGES OF USING
With drip irrigation, managing plastic mulch is more intense. Wilting plants
could mean a plugged drip line, while overly wet areas could mean rodent
damage to the lines. Drip line problems are hard to evaluate when covered
37. -LITERATURE REVIEWGENERAL RESULT DISCUSSION
Results obtained for the plastic mulches are summarized as follows:
Black plastic mulch is the most popular color used in commercial vegetable production. It is
especially good for weed control. As a blackbody absorber, this plastic absorbs most incident
solar radiation, including visible, infrared and ultraviolet light. Much of the thermal energy,
however, is lost to the atmosphere through convection and re-radiation.
Clear plastic absorbs very little solar radiation. Water droplets that condense on the underside
of clear plastic allow solar light (short-wave radiation) in, but block outgoing, long-wave
infrared radiation (heat). Incoming solar radiation, however, makes weeds a major problem
under clear plastic unless controlled with herbicide or fumigant (Lamont, 1999).
38. -LITERATURE REVIEWGENERAL RESULT DISCUSSION
Light is reflected back into the atmosphere or the plant canopy from a white plastic mulch, resulting
in slightly cooler (-2ºF at 1-inch depth) soil temperatures. White plastic mulches can be used to
establish crops in the summer, when a reduced soil temperature might be beneficial.
Reflective silver or aluminum mulches also give cooler soil temperatures. They tend to repel aphids,
which can serve as vectors for various viral diseases (Lamont, Sorensen and Averre, 1990)
Red plastic mulch has been shown to increase tomato yields and quality in some trials and reduce the
severity of early blight in others. It has also been shown to increase yields of honeydews,
muskmelons and zucchini. In addition, it has been shown to significantly increase soil temperatures
(Lamont, 1999). Not all red colors are the same, however, and results have not been consistent.
39. -LITERATURE REVIEWGENERAL RESULT DISCUSSION
Yellow, orange, blue and gray plastic mulches also have been evaluated. The different radiation
patterns that are reflected back into the canopies of various crops from these mulches affect plant
growth and development in different ways. Some colors like yellow attract certain insects like green
pea aphids and cucumber beetles (Lamont, 1999). Such mulches might be used in a field to grow
“catch crops” to pull insects away from other crops. Blue-colored mulches have been shown to
increase zucchini and honeydew yields. More research needs to be conducted to determine the
effects of these colors on plant growth, yields, earliness and pest resistance.
These mulches selectively absorb photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), while transmitting
solar infrared radiation. Also called infrared-transmitting (IRT) mulches, they help control weeds
and exhibit improved soil-warming characteristics, although generally not as well as clear plastic.
Colors range from blue-green to brown (Lamont, 1999).
40. -LITERATURE REVIEWGENERAL RESULT DISCUSSION
Woven, black polypropylene mulch has been used experimentally by New Mexico State
University’s (NMSU’s) Cooperative Extension Service specialists to harvest rainfall to produce
crops like tomatoes, chili, cantaloupes, pumpkins and squash, and to reduce the need for
supplemental irrigation (Dickerson, 2000). The plastic helps reduce water evaporation from the soil
and helps harvest rainfall, which seeps through the plastic preventing it from accumulating around
fruit. An ultraviolet light inhibitor incorporated into the plastic makes it reusable, eliminating
disposal problems associated with traditional plastic. Its higher cost can be depreciated over its
longer life span.
Despite the overwhelming discovery concerning the use of plastic mulch, traditional plastics pose
an environmental problem of soil or land pollution. They become brittle after a production season
which usually makes their removal tedious. Very few types of the plastic mulches are
biodegradable. It has also been found that most of them are not recyclable.
41. MATERIALS AND METHODS
Abandoning the traditional planting methods to embrace this new technique comes with a
change in the cost of production. This change is coupled with availability of raw materials
(plastic mulch) which can be very expensive especially in areas where they are scarce. This
also requires special or improvised farm equipment’s to carry out some farm operations.
The method to be used in carrying out the project is outlined as follows:
42. MATERIALS AND METHODS
Two (2) selected varieties of tomato: Petomech and Bonaza, will be used in the project.
These varieties will be planted at a spacing of 30 cm x 60 cm on a plot size of 40 ft²
(8ft*5ft), (0.00091827 acres) under the following treatments:
CONTROL (NO MULCH) –
SAW DUST (ORGANIC) –
BLACK PLASTIC MULCH –
The technique to be used in assigning treatments to a plot is the Randomized Complete
Block Design (RCBD). Each plot will have a planting density of 20 plants.
43. MATERIALS AND METHODS
There will be six (6) treatments (three per variety) and six (6) replications (three per variety). The field
will be divided into six (6) blocks with each block representing a replicate. Each block will also be
divided into six (6) plots with each treatment occupying a plot.
DEGREE OF FREEDOM
The tomato plants will be nursed at the school nursery and transplanted when two weeks old. The field
will be ploughed and harrowed. All fertilizers will be applied to the field before the mulch is installed on
44. FIELD BLOCK DESIGN
The abbreviation represent the following:
V¹T¹ - Petomech with control (no mulch) treatment
V¹T² - Petomech with saw dust (organic) treatment
V¹T³ - Petomech with black plastic mulch treatment
V²T¹ - Bonaza with control (no mulch) treatment
V²T² - Bonaza with saw dust (organic) treatment
V²T³ - Bonaza with black plastic mulch treatment
below is a summary of how the field will be demarcated:
Block 1 (R 1)
Block 2 (R 2)
Block 3 (R 3)
Block 4 (R 4)
Block 5 (R 5)
Block 6 (R 6)
45. MATERIALS AND METHODS
SOIL PREPARATION AND FERTILIZATION
The field will be plowed and harrowed to ensure that all soil clods are broken and all
debris removed. The removal of the debris will ensure that the plastic mulch is not
punctured during installation. Space between the soil and the mulch should be checked
as it interferes with heat transfer and prevents the soil from warming as quickly and
thoroughly. Some plants may be lost as a result. The mulch should never be applied to
excessively dry or wet soil. Dry soil settles and allows mulch to loosen after wetting while
wet soil does not seal the mulch well, making it subject to blowing off the bed. It also
allows the plastic to “whip” in the wind which can start tares.
Spaces also allow movement of the mulch against the stems of transplants which can
cause abrasion of stems and death of the plant. The edges of the mulch should be
secured with a gener-ous amount of soil. However, do not apply more soil than is needed,
as this makes the mulch more difficult to remove. Mulch ap-plied properly will not blow off
the row and requires minimum effort to remove.
Compost fertilizers (poultry manure) will be applied during field preparation and allowed to
decompose over the nursing period.
46. MATERIALS AND METHODS
Transplant crops will be planted through holes punctured through the plastic with a
round iron rod. Fabric pins will be placed through the plastic near the holes keep the
plastic in place and prevent plant abrasions. Planting space will be 30 cm by 60 cm
CULTURAL PRACTICES AND MANAGEMENT
Plastic mulch does not eliminate the need for good cul-tural practices. On the
contrary, more intensive management is needed to insure utilization of the mulch to
its greatest advantage. Crops will be observed regularly for insect build up under the
plastic around plant openings. If the mulch loosens after installation and flaps in the
wind, a shovel of soil will be applied in the middle of the plastic at regular intervals
down the row to stabilize the mulch. This can prevent the mulch from blowing off the
row or damaging transplants
47. MATERIALS AND METHODS
CULTURAL PRACTICES AND MANAGEMENT
A watering can will be used to irrigate the crops. Good irrigation practices will be
followed. Weed control will be carried out manually using a cutlass.
After the plastic has served its purpose, it will be removed from the field. The
plastic will be removed as soon as possible after use ceases. The plastic should
not be plowed into the soil as it takes a very long time to decompose.
48. MATERIALS AND METHODS
Data collection will commence once the tomato seedlings are transplanted. It
will be carried out on a daily basis. These data will be utilized for analysis.
The data to be collected include:
Soil temperature for the various plots (treatments)
Soil moisture content for the various plots (treatments)
Growth rate for the various fields
Yield per plant per field which will be used to determine the average and
total yields per plot.
49. MATERIALS AND METHODS
The data collected from the various plots will be subjected to the following
data analysis techniques:
Analysis of variance (ANOVA)
Test of relevance
50. MATERIALS AND METHODS
SOIL MOISTURE REGULATION
Soil moisture in all three plots are expected to be lost via transpiration except
on plots with control treatment. Moisture in these areas will also be lost via
surface evaporation as the entire surface areas are exposed to solar radiation.
Crops in these areas will also compete with weeds for available soil
moisture. Fields mulched with black plastic are expected to control
evaporation of soil moisture better than fields mulched with saw dust as
moisture control in these areas will depend on depth (thickness) of saw dust.
51. MATERIALS AND METHODS
TEMPERATURE CHANGES AND ITS EFFECT ON GROWTH
Soil temperatures in the saw dust fields are expected to be coolest as solar radiation
hitting the mulched surface will heat only the top layers of the mulch. Heating will
not penetrate through the mulch because wood is a bad conductor of heat.
Temperatures in the control fields will be average upon comparing all three control
fields. Soil warming is expected to be highest in soil mulched with black plastic as
black is a heat absorber. Research indicates that soil warming enhances growth and
as a result, early maturity in tomato production.
52. MATERIALS AND METHODS
Weed growth in the control plots is expected to be of highest rate as these plots are
not covered or mulched. Plots mulched with saw dust are expected to have
suppressed weed growth but not as controlled as plots mulched with black plastic.
Weed growth from plots mulched with saw dust is expected to commence after
several days of watering and soil warming caused by solar radiation. Weed growth
on plots with black plastic mulch is also expected to occur at the base of the tomato
plants as these areas are the only places exposed (not covered by any mulch).
53. MATERIALS AND METHODS
YIELD AND GROWTH
With a combination of the following factors:
Soil water retention
Reduced fertilizer leaching
Reduced soil compaction
Reduced root injury
the growth rate together with total yield of the crops in the fields mulched with black plastic and
saw dust is expected to increase in comparison with crops in the control plots. However, yield
increment is expected to be higher from crops in fields mulched with black plastic than crops in
fields mulched with saw dust. This is basically due to the fact that water retention and weed
suppression coupled with other factors in the former fields (black plastic) is more effective and
efficient than the former fields (saw dust).
54. MATERIALS AND METHODS
The results will be used to generate a report on the growth and yield of
tomato produced in the dry season under saw dust and plastic mulch. The
report will furnish readers with the outcomes of the research providing reason
to substantiate the possible outcomes.
Recommendations will also be made to encourage further research into
problems that the research could not address.
TIME REQUIRED (MONTHS)
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propane torch or round branding iron. Fabric pins placed through the plastic near the holes keep the plastic
in place and prevent plant abrasions.
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