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  • Author or Editor: Muddappa Rangappa x
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An on-farm animal manure, such as chicken manure, can be a source of nutrients for the growth and production of agricultural crops. However, use of manures at rates that are considered adequate for crop production may cause excessive accumulation of phosphorus (P) and also result in leaching of nitrogen (N), thus leading to potential pollution of ground and surface water. Composting of manures with a carbon (C) source can reduce P and N to manageable levels to support production of crops. In order to determine the potential of composted manure for crop production, we studied growth and production of sweet corn by using poultry manure composted with a carbon source of crimson clover hay or wheat straw. These experiments, conducted during 2002 and 2003, compared six treatments: 1) uncomposted chicken manure alone; 2) composted with wheat straw turned weekly; 3) composted with wheat straw turned bi-weekly; 4) composted with crimson clover hay turned weekly; 5) composted with crimson clover hay turned bi-weekly; and 6) a control with a commercial recommendation rate of N fertilizer. These treatments resulted in 9244; 13,866; 15,688; 16,734; and 11,977 marketable ears/acre, respectively, indicating significant superiority of treatments 4 and 5 over all others. Similar results were obtained for ear length, ear fresh weight, and plant height. Results indicated that composting of poultry litter with wheat straw or crimson clover hay is a viable way to utilize poultry manure for production of sweet corn and other agricultural crops. This study implies that composting of on-farm animal manure with organic material, such as hay and straw, could play an important role in development of an environmentally friendly, economically feasible, and sustainable organic production of agricultural crops.

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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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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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Lack of adequate processing facilities has been a major hindrance in the adoption of canola (Brassica napus L. and Brassica rapa L.) as an alternative oilseed crop in the southern United States. Therefore, development of alternative uses could be instrumental in facilitating adoption of canola by American farmers. We evaluated chemical composition of greens from four canola cultivars (`Dixie', `Falcon', `HN120-91', and `Jetton') grown during 1995-96 and 1996-97 at Petersburg, Va., to determine their potential as a food and feed source. The results indicated potential yield of ≈11 t·ha-1 of fresh greens and ≈1 t·ha-1 of dry matter. The canola greens contained 3.4% oil and 30.6% protein on a dry weight basis. Canola greens contained 0.52%, 4.14%, 0.35%, 1.59%, and 0.20% (dry weight basis) of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and sodium, respectively. Canola greens also contained 0.94, 2.02, 5.47, 14.65, 28.61, 0.74, and 31.92 (mg/100 g dry weight basis) of sulfur, boron, zinc, manganese, iron, copper, and aluminum, respectively. The oil in canola greens contained 18.79%, 81.14%, 15.36%, and 65.78% saturated, unsaturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids, respectively. Based on these values, canola greens compared favorably with mustard and turnip greens.

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Two separate experiments were conducted during 1992 to determine optimum rate of nitrogen fertilizer for cilantro (Coriandrun sativum L.) and dill (Antheum graveolens L.) production in Virginia. Three varieties of cilantro and two varieties of dill were used. The experiments were planted on July 28 and August 26 with three nitrogen rates (100, 200, and 300 kg/ha) and fresh weights (30 cm row length from each plot) were recorded periodically during the vegetative growth. Generally, the nitrogen did not affect the yield indicating that soil nitrogen plus 100 Kg of applied nitrogen per hectare was adequate for optimum growth of both cilantro and dill. At 45 days after planting (DAP), C1410 had the highest fresh yield of 1.8 kg/m whereas at 66 DAP the highest yielding variety was 18135 in both plantings (7.1 and 3.1 kg/m, respectively for first and second plantings). The differences between dill varieties were non-significant except with the second planting where Bouquet significantly outyielded Dukat at 70 DAP. The analyses to determine effects of varieties, nitrogen rates, and plant age on chemical properties of cilantro and dill is continuing and will be presented.

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