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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 852: IV International Symposium on Ecologically Sound Fertilization Strategies for Field Vegetable Production

EFFECT OF PLASTIC MULCH AND QUANTITY OF N FERTILIZER ON YIELD AND N UPTAKE OF CAULIFLOWER WITH DRIP IRRIGATION

Authors:   N. Vzquez, A. Pardo, M.L. Suso
Keywords:   nitrate leaching, apparent N mineralization, crop residues
Abstract:
To study the effects of both plastic mulch and N fertilization in yield of cauliflower crop, as well as efficiency in the use of nitrogen, a field experiment was carried out during the 2007-2008 crop season in a loamy soil. Two different managements of soil - black polyethylene mulch and bare soil - and different doses of nitrogen were studied. The amounts of fertigated N were 0, 120, 186 and 252 kg Nha-1. Marketable yields ranged between 20 and 36 tha-1. The average weight of the curds varied between 1.1 and 1.7 kgunit-1. Nitrogen percentage in the leaves and curds were 3.5 and 3.7%. The amount of nitrogen that was removed along with the harvested portion of the crop extended between 25.4 and 27.4% of the N present in the aboveground biomass, thus leaving more than 70% in crop residues. Drainage at 90 cm depth ranging between 86 and 109 Lm-2, was associated with rainfall events. Leached nitrate was low, varying between 5 and 27 kg-Nha-1. Calculated values of the apparent N mineralization were high, between 119 and 248 kg Nha-1. The use of plastic mulch compared to bare soil did not improve the yield of cauliflowers. Excess of N fertilizer in mulched plots increased the aboveground crop residues. The amount of nitrogen in crop residues increased in line with application rates of nitrogen in plots with plastic mulch; that nitrogen may be used either by the following crops or lost by leaching. N mineralization was an important factor as a source of nitrogen that must be taken into account in the fertilization programs. More research is necessary to predict the N mineralization rate.
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