Requirements for water, nutrient replenishment and acid (for pH control) were monitored for stands of wheat, soybean, potato, and lettuce grown in a recirculating hydroponic culture using a modified 1/2 Hoagland solution with NO3-N. Water use at full canopy cover for all crops ranged from 4 to 5 L m-2 day-1. When averaged over the entire crop cycle, nutrient stock solution (∼0.9 S m-1) use varied from 0.2 L m-2 day-1 (lettuce: to 0.75 L m-2 day-1 (wheat), while acid use varied from 6 mmol m-2 day-1 (lettuce and soybeans) to over 40 mmol m-2 day-1 (wheat). Water-per unit biomass was highest for soybean and lettuce (0.3 to 0.4 L g DW), and least for wheat and potato (0.15 L g DW). Nutrient replenishment per unit biomass was highest for lettuce, 34 mL g-1 DW, with other crops ranging from 21-26 mL g-1 DW. Acid requirements were highest for wheat, 1.2 mmol g-1 DW, and lowest for potato, 0.7 mmol g-1 DW. On a PAR basis, acid needs were highest for wheat, 0.6 mmol mol-1 photons, with all other crops near 0.4 mmol mol-1. Acid data suggest that wheat nutrient uptake favors anions more strongly than the other species, or that more nitrate loss (e.g., denitrification) may occur during wheat growth.
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