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Muddappa Rangappa*, Harbans L. Bhardwaj, and H.O. Dalton

Alternative to the use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers can be the utilization of a natural organic source of on-farm animal manure nutrients for the growth, development and production of agricultural crops. The main objective of this research was to compost the poultry manure with organic amendments and utilize for sweet corn production. The composition of composted and uncomposted poultry manure was compared and field experiments were conducted during 2002 and 2004 at Randolph farm of Virginia State Univ. located near Petersburg, Virginia. The field experiments included seven treatments: control with un-composted manure, four treatments with manure (composted with wheat straw turned weekly, composted with wheat straw turned bi-weekly, composted with clover hay turned weekly, and composted with clover hay turned bi-weekly), recommended rate of N fertilizer, and a control without any treatment. Results indicated that composting of poultry manure with an organic amendment such as wheat straw or clover hay helps poultry manure's transformation into a usable fertilizer material for supporting crop production. However, use of clover hay was observed to be desirable than wheat straw for sweet corn production. Addition of clover hay resulted in significantly increased ear fresh and dry weight and also resulted in taller plants. The affects of biweekly vs. weekly turning compost on performance of sweet corn were not significant.

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Harbans L. Bhardwaj, Muddappa Rangappa, and Anwar A. Hamama

Our objective was to evaluate production potential of eight tepary bean (Phaseolus acutifolius A. Gray) genotypes and three planting dates. Significant variation (P < 0.05) existed among eight genotypes and three planting dates in 1997 and 1998. The genotype ×planting date interaction was nonsignificant (P > 0.05) for seed yield and harvest index. Seed yields of eight genotypes, when averaged over three planting dates and 2 years, varied from 1618 to 1988 with a mean of 1816 kg·ha-1, indicating that tepary bean is adapted to Virginia's agro-climatic conditions. The harvest index (ratio between seed and total plant weight, expressed as percentage) ranged from 38% to 47%. Seed weight varied from 12.6 to 18.8 g with a mean of 14.5 g. Genotypes with tan-colored seeds had significantly larger seed than those with black or white seeds. Planting dates significantly affected seed yield, seed weight, and harvest index. The highest seed yield (2239 kg·ha-1) and harvest index were obtained from the late May plantings.

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Bharat P. Singh, Kevin A. Tucker, James D. Sutton, and Harbans L. Bhardwaj

This study was conducted to determine the effect of various flooding durations on the growth, water relations, and photosynthesis of the snap bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). Greenhouse-grown plants of cv. Blue Lake 274 were flooded for 0 (control), 1, 3, 5, or 7 days. Leaf water potential (ψ), stomatal conductance (gs), transpiration (E), and net photosynthesis (Pn) were measured at the completion of the flooding period and after recovery for 7 days. Root, stem, and leaf dry weights were recorded after plants were allowed to recover from the flooding stress for 7 days. The values for ψ, gs, E, and Pn decreased quadratically with the increase in the duration of flooding. The Pn of plants flooded for 1 day was 17% lower than that of the control and it reached near zero in plants flooded for 7 days. The decrease in Pn after 1 day of flooding was not associated with ψ or gs; however, for longer duration of flooding, Pn decline coincided with the decline in gs. A week after the cessation of flooding, the level of recovery in ψ, E, and Pn was linear and that in gs quadratic to the duration of prior stress experienced by the plant. However, after recovering for 7 days, none of the flooded plants regained gas exchange activities at par with the control. The relationship of stem dry weight to duration of flooding was linear, while a quadratic model provided the best fit for the regression of root and leaf dry weight on the number of days of flooding. Overall, even 1 day of flooding reduces photosynthesis in snap bean and causes a decrease in dry weight of the plant. the extent of decrease in both increasing with the duration of flooding.