Reduced Plant Populations Save Seed Costs Without Reducing Yield or Quality of `Alltop' Turnip Greens

in HortScience

Growers of turnip `greens [Brassica rapa L. (Rapifera Group)] are accustomed to planting 5.6 to 10 kg of seed per hectare. A study was conducted in 1985 to determine whether reduced plant populations could be used without reducing yield or quality for `Alltop', a hybrid cultivar with relatively expensive seed. A trial planted on 4 Apr. showed that populations could be reduced from 64 to 33 plants/m of row without reducing yield or quality. A second trial, planted on 30 Aug., used populations of 36, 26, and 16 plants/m of row. Again, there were no statistically significant reductions in yield or quality as populations decreased. However, yields from the 36 and 16 plants/m treatments differed by almost 7 t·ha-1, indicating substantial variability. A conservative approach would be to use a population of 33 to 36 plants/m of row (≈ 725,400 plants/ha) to provide a balance between seed costs and yield. This can be achieved by seeding rates of 2.2 to 2.8 kg·ha-1.

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