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Carl J. Rosen

Two separate field experiments were conducted to determine the influence of Ca sprays and N fertilizer rate on leaf tipburn incidence in `Snow Crown', `Self Blanche', and `Imperial 10-6' cauliflower. Incidence of leaf tipburn was highest in `Snow Crown' each year and varied with year in `Self Blanche' and `Imperial 10-6'. Delaying planting of `Snow Crown' by 3 weeks decreased tipburn incidence by 20% and decreased the number of tipburned leaves per tipburned plant by 60%. Sprays of CaCl2 or calcium chelate had no effect on cauliflower productivity, nutrition, or tipburn incidence. Increasing N fertilizer rate from 67 kg N/ha to 201 kg N/ha linearly increased yield without significantly affecting tipburn incidence. Concentrations of Ca in tips of nontipburned leaves were two to five times greater than those in tips of tipburned leaves of comparable physiological age. Basal leaf regions had similar Ca concentrations, regardless of tipburn status. Use of resistant cultivars appears to be the best method of reducing tipburn incidence in cauliflower.

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Shengrui Yao and Carl J. Rosen

Five primocane raspberry (Rubus idaeus) cultivars were evaluated in a high tunnel and in the field at Grand Rapids, MN, which is located in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plant hardiness zone 3b. Bare root plants of five cultivars (Autumn Bliss, Autumn Britten, Caroline, Joan J, and Polana) were planted in the high tunnel and in the field, each with a randomized complete block design at 2 × 5.2-ft spacing on 8 May and 14 May 2008, respectively. A propane heater was used periodically for frost protection in the high tunnel. All five cultivars overwintered well and primocanes emerged with minor or no winter damage in the high tunnel in 2009. The high tunnel extended the growing season for ≈4 weeks in both years. Raspberry plants in the high tunnel produced higher yield than those in the field, total 154 lb (6655 lb/acre) from the high tunnel vs. 0.5 lb (43 lb/acre) from the field in 2008 and 379 lb (16,378 lb/acre) vs. 80 lb (3457 lb/acre) in 2009. ‘Caroline’ and ‘Polana’ had higher yields than ‘Autumn Bliss’; ‘Joan J’ and ‘Autumn Britten’ yields were intermediate and not different from ‘Caroline’, ‘Polana’, or ‘Autumn Bliss’ yields. In terms of harvest date, ‘Polana’ was the earliest among the five cultivars tested, followed by ‘Autumn Britten’, ‘Autumn Bliss’, and ‘Joan J’. ‘Caroline’ was the latest. Essential nutrients in leaves for all cultivars both in the field and in the high tunnel were within sufficient ranges. Spider mites (Tetranychidae) and raspberry sawflies (Monophanoides geniculatus) were the major insect problems. In conclusion, primocane-fruiting raspberries can be successfully grown in high tunnels and produce substantially higher yields than in field plantations in northern Minnesota or areas with similar climatic conditions.

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Carl J. Rosen and Douglas Sanders

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Carl J. Rosen and Mohamed Errebhi

Applying appropriate rates of nitrogen fertilizer during the growing season for potatoes on irrigated sandy soils is an important concern from both a production and environmental standpoint. Although potatoes on sandy soils are responsive to nitrogen fertilizer, high rates of nitrogen applied early in the growing season have been associated with nitrate leaching due to unpredictable rainfall. Use of lower nitrogen rates applied more frequently through the season is one strategy to minimize nitrate losses and improve nitrogen use efficiency. Portable nitrate electrodes were used to measure nitrate concentrations in petiole sap. Diagnostic criteria based on final yield and nitrate sap concentrations at various growth stages were developed over a three year period. This rapid test can now be used to make an immediate assessment of nitrogen status of the plant and a prediction for whether supplemental nitrogen will be needed. On-farm trials are currently being carried out to demonstrate the use of the saptest as a best management practice.

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Francis Zvomuya and Carl J. Rosen

Field studies were conducted on a Hubbard loamy sand (sandy, mixed, frigid Entic Hapludoll) during 1996 and 1997 at Becker, Minn., to evaluate the effect of a polyolefin-coated urea (POCU) fertilizer (Meister, Chisso Co., Japan) on yield and quality of irrigated `Russet Burbank' potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.). The POCU was a 3:1 mixture of 70-day and 50-day release formulations, respectively, based on historical soil temperatures at the site. The study compared five banded nitrogen (N) rates (110, 155, 200, 245, and 290 kg·ha-1 N) as a split application of urea applied at emergence and hilling, vs. POCU applied at planting. All plants received an additional 30 kg·ha-1 N as monoammonium phosphate band-applied at planting. Yields were higher in 1996 because of cooler temperatures and poor tuber set in 1997. Total and marketable yields averaged, respectively, 3.9 and 3.3 Mg·ha-1 higher with POCU than with urea. Total yield was not affected by rate of N application regardless of source, but marketable yield increased linearly with N rate. The yield of marketable tubers larger than 170 g increased linearly with N rate in both years. Gross return was 10% higher with POCU than with urea, but estimated net return showed a significant sourc × N rate interaction. The net return increased by $3.13 per kg of urea-N applied, but there was no significant change across POCU application rates.

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Francis Zvomuya and Carl J. Rosen

Polyolefin-coated fertilizers are slow-release fertilizers coated with thermoplastic resins that have a temperature-dependent nutrient release pattern. A field study was conducted on a Hubbard loamy sand during 1997 and 1998 at Becker, Minn., to evaluate the effect of polyolefin-coated urea (POCU) fertilizers (Meister, Chisso Co., Japan) on yield and quality of irrigated `Russet Burbank' potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.). The coated fertilizers were POCU-50 and POCU-70, which release 80% of their N in 50 and 70 days, respectively, at 25 °C, and a 1 POCU-50: 1POCU-70 mixture. The study compared three soluble urea treatments (N at 0, 140, and 280 kg·ha-1) split-applied at planting, emergence, and hilling vs. the same N rates of coated urea fertilizers applied in a band at planting. In 1997, a season characterized by high leaching, total and large tuber (>168 g) yields were higher with coated urea sources than soluble urea at equivalent N rate, but the N sources gave similar yields in 1998 when leaching was minimal. In both years, doubling the rate of N as soluble or coated urea from 140 to 280 kg·ha-1 had no effect on total yield, but increased the marketable yield (tuber size). Yields were higher in 1998 compared to 1997 due to poorer tuber set in 1997. However, the percentage of large tubers was higher in 1997. Specific gravity increased slightly with N rate but did not differ with N source at equivalent N rate. Hollow heart incidence was similar among all treatments in 1997, but it increased with N rate and was similar among N sources in 1998.

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Francis Zvomuya and Carl J. Rosen

Current techniques used in genetic transformation can result in variation of numerous traits in addition to the transformed trait. Backcrossing to the standard genotype can eliminate this variation, but because of the heterozygous nature of potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L), backcrossing is not effective. Therefore, the chances of obtaining altered performance in transformed potato are high. `Superior' potato plants were recently genetically modified to resist attack and damage by the Colorado potato beetle [Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say)]. The transformed clone, `NewLeaf Superior' (`NewLeaf'), has been shown in previous field trials to be more vigorous than the standard clone. The objective of this 2-year study was to evaluate the performance of `NewLeaf' relative to that of the standard clone at various fertilizer nitrogen (N) levels. The two clones were randomly assigned as subplots to main plots consisting of four N levels (28, 112, 224, or 336 kg·ha-1). Based on regression analysis, total yield was higher for `NewLeaf' than for `Superior' at N rates below 92 kg·ha-1 in 1997. At higher rates, however, `Superior' had higher yields than the transgenic clone. In 1998, the clon×N rate interaction was significant, but there was no consistent trend to the response of the two clones to N application. At the 112 kg·ha-1 N rate, total yield was higher for `NewLeaf' than for `Superior', but yields were similar for the two clones at other N rates investigated. Nitrogen and biomass accumulation in vines increased more for `NewLeaf' than for `Superior' as N rate was increased from 28 to 336 kg·ha-1. At equivalent N rates, these traits were higher for the transformed than for the standard clone within the range of N rates investigated. However, harvest index at equivalent N rates was higher for the standard clone than for `NewLeaf'. `Superior' and `NewLeaf' produced similar tuber dry weight yields per unit of N supplied and per unit of N absorbed by the plant. Nitrogen uptake efficiency (NUE) was 16% higher for `NewLeaf' than for the standard clone at the low N rate (112 kg·ha-1), whereas at higher N rates NUE was either lower for `NewLeaf' or similar for the two clones. This observation, together with the finding that yield for `NewLeaf' was maximized at lower N levels than the standard clone, suggests that `NewLeaf' may require lower N input than the standard clone. Results from the study indicate that the greater efficiency of `NewLeaf' at lower N levels was associated with acquisition of N from the soil rather than utilization of absorbed N in metabolism.

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Vincent A. Fritz and Carl J. Rosen

Recent adoption of a raised bed production system for improved drainage on muck soils prompted experimentation to improve N use efficiency. The established methods of N fertilization was to simply broadcast 908 kg·ha–1 of 10–26–27 prior to planting in single rows. The raised bed production system results in a concentrated rooting zone directly underneath the raised bed. A system that places the N fertilizer within the root zone of influence at a peak time of crop utilization would increase N use efficiency, reduce fertilizer costs, and promote appropriate environmental stewardship. The use of a spoke wheel injector to sidedress N fertilizer effectively reduced total fertilizer costs by half, while producing onion yields equal to or greater than the established broadcast method under the raised bed production system. In addition, the use of the spoke wheel injector was not intrusive to the integrity of the raised bed, which allowed realization of benefits from using raised beds for the entire growing season.

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Carl J. Rosen and Deborah L. Allan

Consumer demand for organically grown produce has increased dramatically over the past decade, most likely because of the perceived benefits to the environment and human health. A major component of organic production is providing organic sources of nutrients to promote plant growth as well as sustain soil quality. Organic nutrition of plants can present opportunities and challenges to the grower. The primary objective of this article is to review scientifically based information dealing with the effects of organic nutrient sources on crop yields and quality, soil properties, and environmental risks. Effects of organic nutrient sources are often evaluated by comparison with conventional production, but this approach can be problematic because nutrient source may be confounded with many other cropping system components. Despite these drawbacks, a careful examination of the literature suggests the following conclusions. Soil quality is generally improved with application of organic nutrient sources, but careful management is required to avoid environmental risks of nitrate (NO3) leaching and phosphorus accumulation. Provided that nutrient supply is equal, yields with organic sources tend to be similar to those with inorganic sources. However, lack of available nitrogen (N) that is synchronous with plant demand often limits yields in organic cropping systems. Limited N availability and varied supply of other nutrients from organic sources may contribute to the differences sometimes observed in dry matter content, tissue NO3 and mineral concentration, vitamin C and other phytochemicals, and taste. Phytonutrient content also may be affected by differences in pest control strategies among cropping systems regardless of nutrient source. There is a slight, but significantly, increased risk of produce contamination by Escherichia coli and other enteric bacteria contamination on produce when organic nutrient sources are used, but if proper guidelines are followed, contamination with the lethal serotype O157:H7 does not appear to be a major concern. Appropriate management of organic inputs is critical to achieving potential benefits for crop production and soil quality.

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Jeffrey H. Gillman and Carl J. Rosen

Phosphorus contamination of surface water is a growing problem associated with container production of nursery plants. Iron and iron compounds have the ability to adsorb phosphorus and render it immobile. Incorporating iron compounds into media at the base of nursery containers serves to filter out phosphorus from fertilizers while still allowing the plant to collect enough phosphorus to grow. Two experiments were devised. The first experiment examined how much phosphorus various iron compounds would adsorb. Metallic iron adsorbed the most phosphorus, followed by HCl reacted magnetite (a form of iron ore), Fe2O3, Fe3O4 and magnetite. In the second experiment, PVC tubes (4 cm inner diam.) were filled to a level of 5 cm with a phosphorus adsorbing layer containing growing media that was 25% or 50% by weight iron compounds. Compounds included metallic iron, HCl reacted magnetite and magnetite. Plain media was used as a control. A layer of 15 cm of media and slow-release fertilizer was applied above the adsorptive layer. One hundred milliliters of distilled water was applied to PVC tubes daily to simulate irrigation. Metallic iron reduced phosphorus leachate to almost 0 for over 2 weeks. HCl reacted magnetite was also effective in reducing phosphorus leachate. Magnetite only affected phosphorus leachate slightly.