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Joan R. Davenport

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Joan R. Davenport

Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is grown extensively throughout the Pacific Northwest as a high-value crop in irrigated rotations with other row crops such as wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and corn (Zea mays L.)—both field and sweet. Center pivots are predominant irrigation systems. Soil texture ranges from coarse sands to finer textured silt loams and silts and can vary within one field, often with very hilly topography. Site-specific management is being evaluated as an approach to help to optimize inputs (water, seed, agricultural chemicals) to maintain or enhance yield and reduce the potential of negative environmental impacts in these farming systems. Currently variable rate fertilizer application technology and harvest yield monitoring equipment are commercially available for these systems. Variable rate seeding and variable rate irrigation water application technologies are developed but not fully commercialized and variable rate pesticide application equipment is in development. At the Irrigated Agr. Res. and Ext. Ctr. in Prosser, Wash., we have a team of research scientists (both university and USDA/ARS), interested individuals from local industry, and other key organizations (e.g., local conservation districts) who are working together to evaluate different site specific technologies, improve the ability to use available tools, and to improve decision-making ability by conducting research both on farm and in research plots.

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Joan R. Davenport

To examine the impact of N fertilizer rates and timing on cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.) yield and the fruit quality factors total anthocyanin, average berry weight, and field and storage rot, plots were established for 3 to 4 years. The cranberries received a total of 0, 22, or 44 kg N/ha over the growing season applied in three, four, or five applications, which varied by growth stage. There were eleven possible treatment combinations in Massachusetts on `Early Black' and `Howes' and in Wisconsin on `Stevens' and `Searles', and seven possible treatments in New Jersey on `Early Black' and in Washington on `McFarlin'. The results showed a nationwide response to N that suggests the experimental middle rate of 22 kg·ha-1 would result in high yields with moderate rot. However, the best timing for applying the fertilizer varied by both state and cultivar, where three late season applications were best on `Early Black' in New Jersey versus four early season applications on the same cultivar in Massachusetts, and applying N fertilizers across five applications was optimal for `Stevens' in Wisconsin.

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Joan R. Davenport and Carolyn DeMoranville

Native nitrogen is released when soils are mineralized. The amount of N released by this process depends on the amount of organic matter present and soil temperature. Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.) grows in acidic soils with a wide range in organic matter content. To evaluate release of cranberry soil N at varied soil temperatures, intact soils were collected from sites that had received no fertilizer. Soils were cored and placed in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) columns 20 cm deep × 5 cm in diameter. Four different soil types, representing the array of conditions in cranberry soil (mineral, sanded organic, organic peat, and muck) were used. Additional columns of sand soil (pH 4.5) that had been pH adjusted to high (6.5) and low (3.0) were also prepared. Each column was incubated sequentially at six different temperatures from 10 to 24 °C (2.8 °C temperature intervals) for 3 weeks at each temperature, with the soils leached twice weekly to determine the amount of N release. The total amount of N in leachate was highest in the organic soils, intermediate in the sanded organic, and lowest in the sands. At the lowest temperature (10 °C), higher amounts of N were released in sanded organic and sand than in organic soils. This was attributed to a flush of mineralization with change in the aerobic status and initial soil warming. The degree of decomposition in the organic soils was important in determining which form of N predominated in the leachate. In the more highly decomposed soil (muck), most of the N was converted to nitrate. In the pH adjusted sand, high soil pH (6.5) resulted in an increase in nitrate in the leachate but no change in ammonium when compared to non-adjusted (pH 4.5) and acidified (pH 3.0) treatments. This study suggests that for cranberry soils with organic matter content of at least 1.5% little to no soil-applied fertilizer N is needed early in the season, until soil temperatures reach 13 °C. This temperature is consistent with the beginning of active nutrient uptake by roots. Soil N release from native organic matter was fairly consistent until soil temperatures exceeded 21 °C, indicating that when temperatures exceed 21 °C, planned fertilizer applications should be reduced, particularly in highly organic soils.

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Suphasuk Pradubsuk and Joan R. Davenport

Understanding how grape (Vitis L.) vines store nutrients in permanent tissues, how much nutrient vines take up from the soil, and how nutrients are partitioned and redistributed throughout the plant is critical to the development of sound nutrient management practices. This study investigated the seasonal patterns of macronutrient uptake and redistribution in whole ‘Concord’ grape (Vitis labruscana Bailey) vines. The study was conducted in a 42-year-old own-rooted ‘Concord’ vineyard. The site was a furrow-irrigated fine sandy loam. In 2006 and 2007, four vines were excavated at winter pruning, budbreak, three- to four-leaf stage, bloom, veraison, harvest, and postharvest. Each vine was separated into different organs, dried, and weighed to determine biomass, and then ground and analyzed for C, N, P, K, Ca, and Mg. The results showed that the seasonal dynamics of nutrient contents shared a consistent pattern: translocation of nutrients from woody tissues to actively growing organs at the beginning of the season; nutrient uptake from bloom to veraison (P and Mg in 2006), bloom to harvest (N, P, K, and Ca), or veraison to harvest (P and Mg in 2007); and nutrient movement to woody tissues occurring after veraison until leaf fall with no further nutrient uptake. There was a very high accumulation of Ca in permanent structures of the vine, reflecting the high Ca and CaCO3 found in the soils of the region. As a result, the vines had a higher Ca content than all other nutrients throughout the growing season, which is different from findings in other growing areas.

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Suphasuk Pradubsuk and Joan R. Davenport

This study investigated the distribution of the micronutrients boron (B), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), and zinc (Zn) in 42-year-old ‘Concord’ grapevines (Vitis labruscana Bailey) grown in a calcareous soil to understand seasonal partitioning and distribution of micronutrients throughout various grapevine tissues. In 2006 and 2007, four vines each were excavated at winter pruning, budbreak, the three- to four-leaf stage, bloom, veraison, harvest, and postharvest. Separated plant organs were measured for biomass and analyzed for B, Fe, Mn, Cu, and Zn. The results showed that seasonal patterns of micronutrient concentrations varied considerably with respect to organ and growth stage. Leaf blades, shoot tips, and petioles had the highest concentration of B at bloom and Mn at harvest, whereas Fe, Cu, and Zn concentrations were highest in fine roots but values varied over time each year. Whereas seasonal patterns of Fe, Cu, and Zn contents differed year by year, B and Mn contents had a similar pattern over both years. Translocation of B and Mn from woody tissue to actively growing organs occurred at the beginning of the season. The majority of B uptake occurred between bloom and veraison, whereas that of Mn occurred between bloom and harvest. There were similar B concentrations in shoot tips and leaf blades. Boron remobilization to woody tissues from the leaves occurred between veraison and harvest, suggesting moderate, late-season, phloem mobility of B in ‘Concord’ grapevines. Microsite differences in soil pH likely contribute to variable nutrient availability around the root system, demonstrated by high variability of Fe, Cu, and Zn contents in different vine organs.

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Joan R. Davenport and Carolyn DeMoranville

Soluble nitrogen (ammonium and nitrate) is released when soil organic matter is mineralized. The amount of N released by this process depends on the amount of organic matter present and soil temperature. Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.) grows in acidic soils with a wide range in organic matter content. To evaluate how soil N release is affected by soil temperature, intact soil cores were collected from sites that had received no fertilizer and placed in PVC columns. Four different soil types, representing the range of cranberry soils (sand, sanded organic soil, peat, and muck), were used. Each column was incubated sequentially at six different temperatures from 10 to 24 °C (2.8 °C temperature intervals) for 3 weeks at each temperature, with the soils leached twice weekly to determine the amount of N release. The total amount of N in leachate was highest in organic soils, intermediate in the sanded organic soil, and lowest in the sands. The degree of decomposition in the organic soils was important in determining which form of N predominated. In the more highly decomposed organic soil (muck), most of the N was converted to nitrate. The data from this study resulted in the development of two models—one predicting the N mineralization and the other predicting the proportion of N in each of the two forms. Key factors for N release rate were soil temperature, percentage of clay, and organic carbon content. For predicting the proportion of N as ammonium vs. nitrate, key factors were soil temperature, soil pH, and the distribution of mineral matter in the silt and sand fractions.

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Joan R. Davenport and Nicholi Vorsa

Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.) has the opportunity to partition resources into sexual and/or asexual (stolons) modes of reproduction. Nitrogen status has been shown to impact the degree of stoloniferous growth. To determine whether there is a genotypic response to varying nitrogen levels, six hybrid and four native cultivars were treated with three annual rates of nitrogen fertilizer (17, 34, or 67 kg·ha-1) for 4 years. Fruit yield was determined each year and asexual vegetative growth (stolons) weight was removed and measured in all but the first year of the experiment. Cultivars exhibited different patterns of yield and stolon weight response over the three nitrogen rates. Not all cultivars exhibited significant yield decreases at the high N levels. Vegetative growth (stolon weight) generally increased with increasing N, however, not all cultivars responded similarly over three N rates. Partitioning between yield and stolon production favored fruit yield at the lower N rates in three of the four native cultivars studied (`Cropper', `Early Black', and `Howes'). Yield over N rates was more stable for four of the six hybrid cultivars, which may be the result of greater heterozygosity in hybrids than natives, and/or genetic gain from one breeding and selection cycle, offering increased tolerance to nitrogen stress. This study indicates that genetic variation exists for yield, yield stability, and stolon production relative to nitrogen level, and that genetic gain in cranberry is possible for these traits. Future studies involving cranberry physiology and nutrition should consider the genotypes used.

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David Granatstein, Joan R. Davenport and Elizabeth Kirby

The drive alley in modern apple (Malus ×domestica Bork.) orchards often receives enough light to grow plants other than the typical perennial grass cover. By planting leguminous species in this area, it is possible to produce a portion of the nitrogen needs of the orchard by mowing the vegetation and blowing it onto the tree row where it mineralizes and releases available N over the tree roots. Four perennial legume species [alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), ladino white clover (Trifolium repens L.), birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.), kura clover (Trifolium ambiguum L.)] were compared with the resident grass cover crop in a mature apple orchard. All legumes were direct-seeded into the alley to avoid any soil disturbance and were successfully established. Legume biomass and tissue N were monitored, along with biweekly monitoring of tree row soil nitrogen with both soil sampling and ion exchange resins using Plant Root Simulator® probes. Four mowings of alfalfa contained ≈43 kg total N/ha that was added to the tree row during the second season (2009), with a dry matter C:N of 10.8. Economically, legume nitrogen appears to be less expensive than other sources of organic N and may be cost competitive with synthetic fertilizer N when prices are high.

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Joan R. Davenport and Mary J. Hattendorf

Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.) are grown extensively throughout the Pacific northwestern United States as a high value crop in irrigated rotations with other row crops such as wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and both field and sweet corn (Zea mays L.). Center pivots are the predominant irrigation systems. Soil texture ranges from coarse sands to finer textured silt loams and silts and can vary within one field, particularly in fields with hilly topography. Site specific management is being evaluated as an approach to help to optimize inputs (water, seed, agricultural chemicals) to maintain or enhance yield and reduce potential negative environmental impacts from these farming systems. Currently, variable rate fertilizer application technology and harvest yield monitoring equipment are commercially available for potato. Variable rate seeding and variable rate irrigation water application technologies are developed but not fully commercialized and variable rate pesticide application equipment is in development. At the Irrigated Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Prosser, Wash., we have a team of research scientists, interested individuals from local industry, and other key organizations (e.g. local conservation districts) who are working together to evaluate different site specific technologies, improve the ability to use available tools, and to improve decision-making ability by conducting research both on farm and in research plots.