As concern over NO3-N pollution of groundwater increases, California lettuce growers are under pressure to improve nitrogen (N) fertilizer efficiency. Crop growth, N uptake, and the value of soil and plant N diagnostic measures were evaluated in 24 iceberg and romaine lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. var. capitata L., and longifolia Lam., respectively) field trials from 2007 to 2010. The reliability of presidedressing soil nitrate testing (PSNT) to identify fields in which N application could be reduced or eliminated was evaluated in 16 non-replicated strip trials and five replicated trials on commercial farms. All commercial field sites had greater than 20 mg·kg−1 residual soil NO3-N at the time of the first in-season N application. In the strip trials, plots in which the cooperating growers’ initial sidedress N application was eliminated or reduced were compared with the growers’ standard N fertilization program. In the replicated trials, the growers’ N regime was compared with treatments in which one or more N fertigation through drip irrigation was eliminated. Additionally, seasonal N rates from 11 to 336 kg·ha−1 were compared in three replicated drip-irrigated research farm trials. Seasonal N application in the strip trials was reduced by an average of 77 kg·ha−1 (73 kg·ha−1 vs. 150 kg·ha−1 for the grower N regime) with no reduction in fresh biomass produced and only a slight reduction in crop N uptake (151 kg·ha−1 vs. 156 kg·ha−1 for the grower N regime). Similarly, an average seasonal N rate reduction of 88 kg·ha−1 (96 kg·ha−1 vs. 184 kg·ha−1) was achieved in the replicated commercial trials with no biomass reduction. Seasonal N rates between 111 and 192 kg·ha−1 maximized fresh biomass in the research farm trials, which were conducted in fields with lower residual soil NO3-N than the commercial trials. Across fields, lettuce N uptake was slow in the first 4 weeks after planting, averaging less than 0.5 kg·ha−1·d−1. N uptake then increased linearly until harvest (≈9 weeks after planting), averaging ≈4 kg·ha−1·d−1 over that period. Whole plant critical N concentration (Nc, the minimum whole plant N concentration required to maximize growth) was estimated by the equation Nc (g·kg−1) = 42 − 2.8 dry mass (DM, Mg·ha−1); on that basis, critical N uptake (crop N uptake required to maintain whole plant N above Nc) in the commercial fields averaged 116 kg·ha−1 compared with the mean uptake of 145 kg·ha−1 with the grower N regime. Soil NO3-N greater than 20 mg·kg−1 was a reliable indicator that N application could be reduced or delayed. Neither leaf N nor midrib NO3-N was correlated with concurrently measured soil NO3-N and therefore of limited value in directing in-season N fertilization.
Thomas G. Bottoms, Richard F. Smith, Michael D. Cahn and Timothy K. Hartz
requirement of perennial crops and consequently minimizing environmental losses. Two new soil and tissue tests for determining the P requirement for bahia pastures and commercial citrus producers are being offered at the IFAS ESTL. Similar models for N and
Mary Lamberts, Teresa Olczyk, Stephen K. O'Hair, Juan Carranza, Herbert H. Bryan, Edward Hanlon and George Hochmuth
A baseline survey was conducted to determine grower fertilizer management practices for five vegetable crops: beans, malanga, potatoes, sweet corn, and squash. This was done in conjunction with a 3-year replicated fertility trial with four vegetable crops (1993–94 through 1995–96) in the Homestead area. Questions included: fertilizer rates and timing, source(s) of fertilizer recommendations, soil and tissue testing, irrigation, changes in practices, summer cover crops, rock plowing, spacing, and type of fertilizer used. Survey results will be presented.
Robert L. Mikkelsen and Thomas W. Bruulsema
Tremendous changes have occurred during the past century in the sources and methods for supplying nutrients for horticultural crops. Reliance on animal manure, cover crops, and animal tankage was insufficient to meet the crop nutrient demand for a rapidly expanding population. The Haber-Bosch process for ammonia synthesis (1910s) revolutionized the availability and affordability of nitrogen (N) fertilizer. Discovery of large-scale deposits of rock phosphate in South Carolina (1860s) and Florida (1880s) alleviated widespread nutrient deficiencies. Acidification of rock phosphate and bone material significantly improved phosphorus (P) availability for plants. Discovery of potassium (K)-bearing minerals in New Mexico (1920s) and later in Canada (1960s) now provide a long-term nutrient source. Modern fertilizer technology allows nutrients to be applied in the correct ratio and amount to meet crop needs. Advances in understanding plant nutrition, coupled with slow-release fertilizers, foliar fertilization, soluble nutrients, and the development of soil and tissue testing have all improved the yield and quality of horticultural crops. Future developments will likely focus on fertilization in an increasingly competitive global economy, while requiring sophisticated management to minimize environmental impacts.
Neil S. Mattson and Marc W. van Iersel
The 4R nutrient stewardship framework presents four concepts to consider when applying fertilizers in a responsible matter; the “right source” of nutrients should be applied at the “right rate” during the “right time” and supplied to the “right place” to ensure their uptake. In this article, we provide ideas to consider when attempting to provide nutrients at the right time. When nutrients are applied at a time when they are not required by the plant, the result can be economic and environmental losses. Oversupply relative to plant demand can result in losses of applied nutrients because of leaching or volatilization. Undersupply relative to demand, especially in the case of phloem-immobile nutrients, may limit plant growth and yield. Several factors interact to affect plant nutrient demand such as growth stage, life history (annual vs. perennial), environmental conditions, and plant health. Techniques such as soil and tissue testing, isotopic labeling, and spectral reflectance have been used with varying degrees of success and expense to measure plant nutrient demand and guide fertilizer decisions. Besides knowledge of plant nutrient demand, efficient nutrient supply also depends on systems that allow precise spatial and temporal delivery of nutrients. Future improvements to the timing of nutrient delivery will depend on improvement in knowledge of plant nutrient demands. For example, targeted gene expression chips show promise for use in rapidly assessing plant status for a broad suite of nutrients. Future developments that allow more precise nutrient delivery or more robust agroecosystems that scavenge available nutrients before they are lost to the environment will also help producers use nutrients more efficiently.
from crop removal calculations and field observations are for annual applications of 40–120 lb/acre K, adjusted based on soil and tissue test results. In addition to N and K, most Massachusetts cranberry beds receive annual applications of P. In the
Kathleen Delate, Andrea McKern, Robert Turnbull, James T.S. Walker, Richard Volz, Allan White, Vincent Bus, Dave Rogers, Lyn Cole, Natalie How, Sarah Guernsey and Jason Johnston
formulations) are commonly applied to the soil or in a foliar form in organic orchards. Trace minerals are often applied after soil and tissue tests determine a need for these restricted elements ( U.S. Department of Agriculture–Agriculture Marketing Service
Jinghua Fan, George Hochmuth, Jason Kruse and Jerry Sartain
potassium fertilization rates for establishment of warm-season putting greens Agron. J. 102 1601 1605 Sartain, J.B. 2001 Soil and tissue testing and interpretation for Florida turfgrasses. Florida Coop. Ext. Serv. SL 181 Saxton, K.E. Rawls, W.J. 2006 Soil
David R. Bryla
-flower chrysanthemums Calif. Agr. 22 8 13 14 Brennan, R.F. Bolland, M.D.A. 2006 Soil and tissue tests to predict the sulfur requirements of canola in south-western Australia Aust. J. Exp. Agr. 46 1061 1068 Bruulsema, T. Lemunyon, J. Herz, B. 2009 Know your fertilizer
Shawna Loper, Amy L. Shober, Christine Wiese, Geoffrey C. Denny, Craig D. Stanley and Edward F. Gilman
General recommendations for fertilization of turfgrasses on Florida soils University of Florida–IFAS Gainesville, FL 21 Oct. 2009 < http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/LH014 >. Sartain, J.B. 2008 Soil and tissue testing and