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Nitrogen in Cranberry Agriculture

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A presentation about nitrogen in cranberry agriculture in Massachusetts. Presented by Carolyn DeMoranville of the UMass Cranberry Station during the Buzzards Bay Coalition's 2013 Decision Makers …

A presentation about nitrogen in cranberry agriculture in Massachusetts. Presented by Carolyn DeMoranville of the UMass Cranberry Station during the Buzzards Bay Coalition's 2013 Decision Makers Workshop series. Learn more at www.savebuzzardsbay.org/DecisionMakers

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  • 1. Nitrogen in Cranberry Agriculture Carolyn DeMoranville, UMassUMass Cranberry Station
  • 2. Why cranberry farmers use nitrogen  Important in plant structure and function • Protein, DNA • Chlorophyll  Each year the plant makes more leaves, stems, and roots and sheds leaves and roots  In the fruit, N is the element in the highest concentration  Nitrogen is arguably the most important fertilizer element applied to cranberriesUMass Cranberry Station 2
  • 3. N removed (pounds/acre per year) - Early Black Nutrient Removed- Removed – Total leaves/ 100 bbl crop stems* Nitrogen 13.6 5.0 18.6 Since Early Black has small leaves *Leaves and stems and thin stems compared to hybrids, are removed as part there is an assumption that N removal of harvest operations for those would be greater. This calculation does not include N in roots.UMass Cranberry Station 3
  • 4. How much N is required?  At least enough to replace what’s lost and to support new growth and fruiting  Cranberry varieties have differing needs for N – larger fruit, larger plants (leaves) and bigger crops mean more N is needed  Most growers develop fertilizer programs based on N.UMass Cranberry Station 4
  • 5. How cranberries get nitrogen  From soil • Cranberry soil very sandy - holds little • Organic matter - 1-2% only  From recycling in the plant • Some stored in stems and roots  From fertilizerUMass Cranberry Station 5
  • 6. Compare cranberry to other crops Plant leaf tissue Avg. applied Crop Nitrogen (%) Nitrogen (lb) Cranberry 0.9-1.1 20-60 Blueberry 1.0-1.5 45-65 Apple 2.0-2.5 50-60 Peach 2.5-3.0 80 Corn 2.9-3.5 160-200 Wheat 2.6-4.0 75-110UMass Cranberry Station 6
  • 7. Nitrogen use in cranberry  If growers get N wrong – they pay a price in plant growth and crop  There is a body of research on N needs and ratesUMass Cranberry Station 7
  • 8. Disadvantage to too much NUMass Cranberry Station Davenport, Stevens in BC 8
  • 9. N rate decision tree – from the BMPs  Use less N if:  Use more N if: • No or low crop • Bog renovated or new • Native varieties • Ben Lear or Stevens • Deep peat • Mineral soil • >3% organic • <1% organic • You sanded • You mowed • You pruned • Crop was heavy • Tissue N >1.1% • Tissue N <0.75% • Uprights long/runners • Uprights stunted/thin • Frost damage • Heavy bloom • Insect/disease damage • General yellowingUMass Cranberry Station 9
  • 10. Nitrogen Form - Ammonium  Several studies show best growth and N uptake with ammonium (compared to nitrate)  Ammonium taken up 10x faster than nitrate  Little conversion of ammonium to nitrate at low pH; ammonium leaches lessUMass Cranberry Station 10
  • 11. Nitrogen – Nitrogen Cycle Ammonium Soil T Low pH Removal in Fertilizer crop (~23 lb in 150 bbl)
  • 12. When do cranberries need nutritional support?  Applications coincide with growth and fruiting demands of the plants  Late May through early AugustUMass Cranberry Station 12
  • 13. Environmental considerations  Biggest concern is movement of N in surface water  Leaching limited • layered soil and barrier layers (why the bog can hold a flood) • ammonium N forms  Groundwater pathway – total extent unknownUMass Cranberry Station 13
  • 14. Flooding practicesUMass Cranberry Station 14
  • 15. CES/SMAST Field Study Cranberry Bog NET Nitrogen Loss Bog ID --> EH PV BEN WS M-K ASH Nitrogen Inflow to Bog Irrigation 0.4 1.5 0.6 0.2 1.7 2.4 Groundwater 0.0 0.0 1.0 0.3 0.0 0.0 Frost Protection 0.8 1.8 1.4 0.5 1.6 2.0 Pest Management 0.0 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 Harvest 1.3 3.4 4.5 1.2 4.2 2.9 Winter Protection 3.0 3.7 5.2 1.4 4.8 4.0 Total IN 5.5 10.5 12.8 3.6 12.4 11.3 Nitrogen Outflow from Bog Drainage/Infiltration 5.7 6.7 10.5 4.6 7.7 7.2 Harvest 2.1 5.3 9.4 4.3 4.5 2.8 Winter 4.0 4.6 6.4 1.7 4.0 5.2 Total OUT 11.9 16.5 26.3 10.5 16.2 15.2 Net Nitrogen Loss (lb/a/yr)= 6.4 6.0 13.5 7.0 3.7 3.8Nitrogen Output to Downgradient Systems (lb N/acre/yr)Pine-Oak Forest 0.4Cranberry Bog Nitrogen Output 6.4 (Flow Through Bog = 8.6)Residential (density 1 per 2.5 acres) 5.7Direct Precipitation on Bay 9.8
  • 16. How can we reduce N output?  Practice BMPs regarding rate, timing, split applications  Look at it more as a water problem • Amount of flow • Direction of flow • Pathway of flowUMass Cranberry Station 16
  • 17. Amount of flow  Follow recommendations on flooding, drainage, and irrigation  Research on looking at how to limit groundwater upwelling • Compare 2 upwelling sites (10 lb/a/yr) vs. • 4 not upwelling sites (5 lb/a/yr)UMass Cranberry Station 17
  • 18. Direction of flow  Diversion • Tail water recovery  Can also relate to attenuation  Research on how to limit flow-through situations – by-pass canals? • Compare flow-through (8.6 lb/a/yr) • To all other types (6.4 lb/a/yr)UMass Cranberry Station 18
  • 19. Pathway of flow  Attenuation function of ponds, steams, and wetlands  Mill Brook watershed (Howes and Millham, 1991) • TDN leaving the bog was 0.99 ppm • Downstream the load had decreased to 0.71 ppm  Vegetative channels or retention ponds between the bog and the final discharge point – how to best accomplish this?UMass Cranberry Station 19
  • 20. Literature review - attenuation  Denitrification in wetlands is effective at attenuating N • NO3 to N2  Denitrification in ponds and streams • Ponds – 50% attenuation • 2 studies: 39-95% and 84-96% • Streams – 30% attenuation • 30-40% observed in riverine systems  Uptake by vegetation less effectiveUMass Cranberry Station 20
  • 21. UMass Cranberry Station 21

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