4R Farming

Florida Tomatoes

This is a tomato farm in Florida. The farm plants tomatoes twice a year and harvests 4 to 6 times per year, 2 to 3 times per planting. The farm has increased soil sampling frequency and switched sources, adding poultry little pellets to the fertilizer that is incorporated in the bed for the plants. Starting in 2017 fertilizer was mixed with the bed prior to covering with plastic versus applied to the surface of the bed prior to covering with plastic and planting. A sidedress fertilizer is applied following each picking.

Outcome

Changing from basic to more advanced 4R practices the farmer decreased cost per acre by $896.27 and cut nitrogen application rates by 60 percent by changing placement, source, and timing of nitrogen applications.

Cost of 4R Practice Implementation for Florida Tomato

Yield Range 1,740 to 2,100 boxes/ac

Practices Changed from Basic to Advanced

  • Starter fertilizer mixed with soil in bed versus surface placement
  • Addition of new nutrient sources to fertilizer blend
  • Soil testing and nutrient recommendations before each crop
  • In-season tissue testing

Between 2016 and 2017 the farm changed the placement and source of fertilizer used. This had a large impact on the cost per acre of 4R practices and greatly reduced the rate of fertilizer application.

Environmental Metrics