Soil Fertility Research in High Tunnels

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Presentation by University of Minnesota's Carl Rosen, Terry Nennich, and Jerry Wright at the 2009 Minnesota Statewide High Tunnel Conference in Alexandria, MN on Dec. 2-3, 2009.

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Soil Fertility Research in High Tunnels

  1. 1. Soil Fertility Research in High Tunnels Carl Rosen, Terry Nennich, & Jerry Wright University of Minnesota High Tunnel Workshop Alexandria, MN © 2009 Regents of the2009 December 2-3, University of Minnesota
  2. 2. Topics  Background (review)  Fertigation study –  Tomato 2008 and 2009  Cucumber 2009 (spidermite problem in 2008)  Compost vs. compost + fertigation © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  3. 3. Yield Potential & Nutrient Needs  Yields in a high tunnel can be 2 to 4 times the yield obtained in the field  Higher yields will required more nutrients, but knowing how much to apply is a challenge  Lack of nutrients – deficiencies  Excessive nutrients – salt build up  Both situations affect yield and quality © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  4. 4. Tomato nutrient uptake N P K Plant Part -------- lb per ton F.W. ------------ Fruit 3.4 0.4 6.0 Vines 2.6 0.4 3.4 Total 6.0 0.8 9.4 A 50 ton yield/A would require: 300 lbs N/A 40 lbs P/A (92 lbs P2O5) 470 lbs K/A (564 lbs K2O) © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  5. 5. Staples Fertigation Study  High amounts of compost are often used in high tunnels  Objective:  To determine if fertigation is needed for tomato when compost is used  Conducted at the Central Lakes College Ag Center in©Staples in the University of2009 2009 Regents of 2008 & Minnesota
  6. 6. Staples High Tunnel  20’ wide x 48’ length © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  7. 7. Soil Test Properties in the Spring- 2008 (before compost application) Soil Depth pH Organic Matter Soluble Salts Inches % mmhos/cm 0-6 7.0 6.4 0.9 6-12 6.9 5.4 0.7 Soil Depth NO3-N Bray-P K Inches lb/A --------- ppm ---------- 0-6 61 174 89 6-12 43 144 103  P was in the very high range, K was medium © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  8. 8. Soil Amendments & Treatments 2008  Yard waste compost added in 2008  ~ 2.5 tons fresh (~50% moist) spread evenly  ~ 5 lbs fresh per square ft  0.64% N, 0.12% P, 0.18% K; C/N: 26.8  725 lb N/A, 313 lb P2O5/A, 245 lb K2O/A  Two treatments  Fertigation  UAN, Potassium nitrate, and Calcium nitrate  No fertigation  Two replications for tomato  Nine© 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota plants per replication
  9. 9. Procedures - 2008  ‘Cobra’ tomato (indeterminate)  Transplants planted May 9  Double row beds 4 ft apart; 2 ft between plants  One cup 20-20-20 (1 oz/gal) applied to each transplant © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  10. 10. Procedures - 2008  Plots set up so that half received fertigation and the other did not  Each plot received the same amount of water  Plants pruned periodically  Tomatoes harvested: July 24 – October 16 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  11. 11. Staples High Tunnel in 2008 Not Fertigated Fertigated © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  12. 12. Fertigation Dates and Rates - 2008 Date Source oz N/100' lb N/A oz K2O/100' lb K2O/A 2-Jun 28% 0.48 3.2 0.0 0.0 11-Jun 28%+Knit 0.72 4.9 1.5 10.2 17-Jun 28%+Knit 0.72 4.9 1.5 10.2 24-Jun 28%+Knit 0.72 4.9 1.5 10.2 1-Jul 28%+Knit 0.82 5.6 2.0 13.6 8-Jul Knit+CaNit 1.03 7.0 2.0 13.6 15-Jul Knit+CaNit 1.03 7.0 2.0 13.6 22-Jul Knit+CaNit 1.03 7.0 2.0 13.6 29-Jul Knit+CaNit 1.03 7.0 2.0 13.6 15-Aug Knit+CaNit 1.03 7.0 2.0 13.6 12-Aug Knit+CaNit 1.03 7.0 2.0 13.6 18-Aug Knit+CaNit 1.03 7.0 2.0 13.6 28-Aug Knit+CaNit 1.03 7.0 2.0 13.6 10-Sep Knit+CaNit 1.03 7.0 2.0 13.6 Total © 2009 Regents of 12.7 University of Minnesota the 86.5 24.5 166.6
  13. 13. Tomato Early Yields 2008 - First 3 Weeks- Marketable Treatment fruit number/plant fruit wt (lbs/plant) Fertigated 7.5 ± 0.9 2.5 ± 0.3 Non-fertigated 8.8 ± 0.0 3.3 ± 0.1  Fertigation tended to delay yield © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  14. 14. Marketable Tomato Yields - 2008 Treatment fruit number/plant fruit wt. (lbs/plant) Fertigated 27.5 + 0.3 10.1 + 0.3 Non-fertigated 29.9 + 3.1 13.2 + 1.1 Non-fertigated as good or better than fertigated Compost supplied enough nutrients © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  15. 15. Soil Test after Final Harvest – Fall 2008 With fertigation Soil Depth NO3-N Bray-P K Soluble Salts Inches lb/A --------- ppm ---------- mmhos/cm 0-6 50 181 117 0.4 6-12 37 161 101 0.4 Without fertigation Soil Depth NO3-N Bray-P K Soluble Salts Inches lb/A --------- ppm ---------- mmhos/cm 0-6 36 193 76 0.4 6-12 26 145 75 0.3 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  16. 16. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  17. 17. Soil Test before Planting – April 2009 With fertigation Soil Depth NO3-N NH4-N Bray-P K Soluble Salts Inches ----------- lb/A ----------- --------- ppm ---------- mmhos/cm 0-6 84 10 167 146 0.8 6-12 44 6 109 96 0.7 Without fertigation Soil Depth NO3-N NH4-N Bray-P K Soluble Salts Inches ----------- lb/A ----------- --------- ppm ---------- mmhos/cm 0-6 78 8 160 101 0.9 6-12 30 6 134 73 0.5 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  18. 18. Soil Amendments & Treatments 2009  No amendments added before planting  Two treatments (same as in 2009)  Fertigation  UAN, Potassium nitrate and Calcium nitrate  No fertigation  Tomato and cucumber evaluated  Two replications for tomato; one rep for cucumber  Nine plants per replication © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  19. 19. Procedures - 2009  ‘Cobra’ tomato and ‘Sweet Success’ cucumber  Transplants planted May 7  Double row beds 4 ft apart; 2 ft between plants for tomato and 18” apart for cucumbers  One cup 20-20-20 (1 oz/gal) applied to each transplant  Plants pruned periodically  Cucumbers harvested June 19 – October 8  Tomatoes harvested July 30 – October 8 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  20. 20. Not Fertigated Fertigated © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  21. 21. Not Fertigated Fertigated © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  22. 22. Fertigation Dates and Rates - 2009 Date Source oz N/100' lb N/A K2O/100' lb K2O/A 1-Jun 28% 0.48 3.2 0 0 8-Jun 28%+Knit 0.72 4.9 1.5 10.2 15-Jun 28%+Knit 0.72 4.9 1.5 10.2 24-Jun 28%+Knit 0.72 4.9 1.5 10.2 1-Jul 28%+Knit 0.82 5.6 2 13.6 8-Jul Knit+CaNit 1.03 7 2 13.6 15-Jul Knit+CaNit 1.03 7 2 13.6 23-Jul Knit+CaNit 1.03 7 2 13.6 29-Jul Knit+CaNit 1.03 7 2 13.6 5-Aug Knit+CaNit 1.03 7 2 13.6 12-Aug Knit+CaNit 1.03 7 2 13.6 19-Aug Knit+CaNit 1.03 7 2 13.6 27-Aug Knit+CaNit 1.03 7 2 13.6 2-Sep Knit+CaNit 1.03 7 2 13.6 9-Sep Knit+CaNit 1.03 7 2 13.6 17-Sep Knit+CaNit 1.03 7 2 13.6 25-Sep Knit+CaNit 1.03 7 2 13.6 Total © 2009 Regents of the University of 15.8 Minnesota 107.5 30.5 207.4
  23. 23. Tomato Early Yields 2009 - First 3 Weeks- Treatment fruit number/plant fruit wt. (lbs/plant) Fertigated 5.9 + 0.5 2.3 + 0.3 Non-fertigated 4.8 + 0.7 2.1 + 0.3  Slight increase with fertigation © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  24. 24. Marketable Tomato Yields – 2009 Treatment fruit number/plant fruit wt. (lbs/plant) Fertigated 33.1 + 1.5 12.8 + 0.8 Non-fertigated 31.6 + 1.9 13.0 + 0.3 Non-fertigated as good or better than fertigated © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  25. 25. Marketable Cucumber Yields – 2009 Treatment fruit number/plant fruit wt. (lbs/plant) Fertigated 22.5 36.4 Non-fertigated 22.7 37.3 Non-fertigated as good or better than fertigated Is compost the only source of nutrients??? © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  26. 26. What’s in the Water??? Sample pH EC Nitrate-N Ammonium-N P K mmhos/cm --------------------- ppm --------------------- Irrigation Water 8.2 61 24 <1 <1 2 Fertigation water 8.2 85 56 5 <1 79 Water without fertigation 8.4 61 25 <1 <1 1 Water after fertigation 8.2 61 25 <1 <1 2 24 ppm nitrate-N in irrigation water 0.67 gal/min/100 sq. ft. 1 hour per irrigation & 96 irrigation events ~ 85 lb N/A © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  27. 27. Soil Test after Final Harvest – October 2009 With fertigation Soil Depth NO3-N NH4-N Bray-P K Soluble Salts Inches ----------- lb/A ----------- --------- ppm ---------- mmhos/cm 0-6 47 6 148 110 0.5 6-12 32 4 132 82 0.4 Without fertigation Soil Depth NO3-N NH4-N Bray-P K Soluble Salts Inches ----------- lb/A ----------- --------- ppm ---------- mmhos/cm 0-6 24 5 127 44 0.4 6-12 17 5 132 48 0.3 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  28. 28. Summary  Compost applied at high rates before planting can reduce or eliminate the need for fertigation  Lack of response to fertigation in this study was also in part due to high nitrate in irrigation water  Soil tests at harvest suggest that potassium will be limiting in the nonfertigated treatment next year © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
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