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  • Author or Editor: Mzwakhile Petros Zakhe Simelane x
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Rapid leaching of soluble nitrogen (N) sources in soil poses a significant challenge in agricultural practices. Therefore, gaining a comprehensive understanding of crop responses to slow-release N application rates has become crucial to contributing valuable insights to optimize N management strategies in agriculture. A field study was conducted to investigate the influence of preplant calcium cyanamide fertilizer on the growth, yield, quality, and shelf life of short-day onion. Six levels of calcium cyanamide (CaCN2, 19.8% N), 0, 90, 120, 200, 400, and 600 kg⋅ha−1 CaCN2, which are equivalent to 0, 17.82, 23.76, 39.6, 79.2, and 118.8 kg⋅ha−1 N, respectively, replicated four times were broadcasted and incorporated into the top 5 to 10 cm of soil. Using 400 kg⋅ha−1 of CaCN2 yielded noteworthy improvements in various parameters of onion growth, such as plant height, leaf count, bulb weight per plant, bulb diameter, bulb length, and overall plant weight, as indicated by the study results. The application of different levels of CaCN2 as an N source exerted a significant influence on these growth factors. Moreover, the study revealed a direct correlation between CaCN2 application levels and the storage life of onions. Specifically, the findings demonstrated that the application of 400 kg⋅ha−1 CaCN2 resulted in enhanced yield and overall onion plant growth. However, the application of 600 kg⋅ha−1 CaCN2 increased the incidences of bulb weight loss, rots, and sprouting during the 8-week storage period at room temperature. These findings provide valuable insights for onion investors and farmers in the region and offer practical recommendations for optimizing fertilizer use and storage practices to improve onion production and minimize postharvest losses.

Open Access