SUSTAINABLE NITROGEN ALTERNATIVES FOR SWEETPOTATO PRODUCTION

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  • 1 North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, Ag Center Drive, Nashville, NC 27856
  • 2 North Carolina State University, Department of Horticultural Science, Raleigh, NC 27695-7609
  • 3 North Carolina State University, Soil Science Department, Raleigh, NC 27695-7619

North Carolina is a leading poultry producer in the United States. Thus, much waste by-product also is produced and must be handled in an environmentally responsible way. Using poultry and similar waste products as a fertilizer source for vegetables, such as sweetpotatoes, might serve as a viable use option. Our purpose was to determine the effectiveness of animal wastes and sludges as nutrient sources for sweetpotatoes. The effects of municipal solid waste, composted litter, fresh litter, and synthetic fertilizers were compared for their effects on yield and quality of `Regal' and `Beauregard' sweetpotato varieties. The test was planted as a split-plot randomized complete-block design with each treatment replicated four times. Planting was 3 June, and harvest was 27 Sept. 1994. Yields were similar when fertilized with either organic or synthetic nutrient sources. Root quality was excellent, regardless of fertilizer, because few culls resulted, and there were no differences between treatments. Sweetpotatoes can be successfully grown with various organic nutrient sources without affecting quality or yield and might be marketed as “organically grown” produce. This label may command a higher market price than sweetpotatoes grown traditionally with synthetic nutrient sources.

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