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Precision placement of fertiliser for optimising the early nutrition of vegetable crops : a review of the implications for the yield and quality of crops, and their nutrient use efficiency

By Ian G. Burns, John P. Hammond and Philip J. White


The research outlined in this paper highlights the importance of the early nutrition of vegetable crops, and its long-term effects on their subsequent growth and development. Results are also presented to demonstrate how the nutrient supply during the establishment stages of young seedlings and transplants can be enhanced by targeting fertiliser to a zone close to their developing roots. Three different precision fertiliser placement techniques are compared for this purpose: starter, band or side-injected fertiliser. The use of each of these methods consistently produced the same (or greater) yields at lower application rates than those from conventional broadcast applications, increasing the apparent recovery of N, P and K, and the overall efficiency of nutrient use, while reducing the levels of residual nutrients in the soil. Starter fertilisers also advanced the maturity of some crops, and enhanced produce quality by increasing the proportions of the larger and/or more desirable marketable grades. The benefits of the different placement techniques are illustrated with selected examples from research at Warwick HRI using different vegetable crops, including lettuce, onion and carrot

Topics: SB
Publisher: International Society for Horticultural Science
Year: 2010
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