Nav: Home

Optimizing fertilizer rates for wild blueberry

November 28, 2016

KEMPTOWN, NOVA SCOTIA - The authors of a study in HortScience (September 2106) say that wild blueberry nutrient management varies considerably compared with typical tilled crop systems. According to the study, there is a "tremendous amount of uncertainty" in wild blueberry nutrient management as a result of dynamic interactions among plant and soil factors. To increase understanding of fertilizers' impact on wild blueberry, scientists in Nova Scotia carried out a 12-year field experiment that produced valuable recommendations for optimum rates of fertilizers to enhance growers' profitability.

Corresponding author Rizwan Maqbool explained that the study was designed to determine the main and interactive effects of soil-applied nitrogen-phosphorous-potassium (N-P-K) fertilizers on wild blueberry growth, development, and berry yield, and then to recommend fertilizer rates that optimize these outcomes. The scientists employed a three-factor central composite design with treatment combinations of five levels of fertilizer N (0, 12, 30, 48, and 60 kg·ha-1), P (0, 18, 45, 78, and 90 kg·ha-1), and K (0, 12, 30, 48, and 60 kg·ha-1). The wild blueberry plants treated were evaluated in a 12-year (six production cycles) field experiment at Kemptown, Nova Scotia.

Results showed that an optimal value of 17.8 cm for stem length was obtained with fertilizer rates of 50 kg·ha-1 N, 48 kg·ha-1 P, and 30 kg·ha-1 K. The maximum number of vegetative nodes per stem occurred at fertilizer rates of 49 kg·ha-1 N, 48 kg·ha-1 P, and 65 kg·ha-1 K, while the maximum number of floral nodes per stem were found with fertilizer rates of 34 kg·ha-1 N, 45 kg·ha-1 P, and 30 kg·ha-1 K.

The optimal number of berries per stem (11.9) was obtained at N, P, and K rates of 40, 38, and 33 kg·ha-1, respectively. Rates of N-P-K fertilizer calculated for optimal berry yield were 30 kg·ha-1, 45 kg·ha-1, and 32 kg·ha-1, respectively.

"Based on the results of this study, we recommend applying 35 kg·ha-1 N, 40 kg·ha-1 P, and 30 kg·ha-1 K at the onset of shoot emergence each sprout year in lowbush blueberry in central Nova Scotia," the authors wrote. "These rates optimized floral bud number, berries per stem, and berry yield, without resulting in excessive stem growth and should be tested in other lowbush growing regions such as Maine, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Quebec."

Analyses showed that the higher fertilizers rates cost an extra $80/ha but increased net profits by $490/ha. "Findings of this study could contribute toward better farm profitability in areas with similar growing conditions," the authors noted. The study also suggests that modifications to existing fertilizer rates be made for wild blueberries growing in central Nova Scotia.
-end-
The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortScience electronic journal web site: http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/content/51/9/1092.abstract

Founded in 1903, the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) is the largest organization dedicated to advancing all facets of horticultural research, education, and application. More information at ashs.org.

American Society for Horticultural Science

Related Fertilizer Articles:

Cold conversion of food waste into renewable energy and fertilizer
Researchers from Concordia's Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering (BCEE) in collaboration with Bio-Terre Systems Inc. are taking the fight against global warming to colder climes.
Nanoparticle fertilizer could contribute to new 'green revolution'
The 'Green Revolution' of the '60s and '70s has been credited with helping to feed billions around the world, with fertilizers being one of the key drivers spurring the agricultural boom.
A fertilizer dearth foiled animal evolution for eons?
Earth was inhospitable to complex life for billions of years, practically suffocating evolution in a nearly oxygen-free environment.
The economy of cold soil blues
For many farmers, in-furrow starter application is a cheaper alternative to other starter fertilizers.
Optimizing fertilizer rates for wild blueberry
Researchers examined effects of soil-applied fertilizers [nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K)] in a 12-year field experiment.
Study says salt marshes have limited ability to absorb excess nitrogen
Results suggest that society can't simply rely on salt marshes to clean up nutrient pollution, but instead needs to do a better job at keeping nutrients out of the water in the first place.
Getting maximum profit, minimal pollution
In a new study, researchers at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service have calculated how much chicken litter farmers need to apply to cotton crops to maximize profits.
Fertilizer, plastic mulch treatments benefit tomato yield
Researchers studied the effects on tomato yield of transplant fertilizer solutions and plastic mulch in a clay loam soil with moderate or high levels of existing phosphorus fertility and organic matter.
How much does that fertilizer REALLY cost?
To adequately account for the cost of nitrogen pollution, researchers from the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment have proposed a framework that accounts for all of the damages that occur when reactive nitrogen enters our air or water.
Sewage sludge could make great sustainable fertilizer
Ever thought of putting sewage on your plants? Scientists say thermally conditioned sewage sludge serves as an excellent fertilizer to improve soil properties.

Related Fertilizer Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#529 Do You Really Want to Find Out Who's Your Daddy?
At least some of you by now have probably spit into a tube and mailed it off to find out who your closest relatives are, where you might be from, and what terrible diseases might await you. But what exactly did you find out? And what did you give away? In this live panel at Awesome Con we bring in science writer Tina Saey to talk about all her DNA testing, and bioethicist Debra Mathews, to determine whether Tina should have done it at all. Related links: What FamilyTreeDNA sharing genetic data with police means for you Crime solvers embraced...