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Managing and
Amending Soils for
Productive Yields
in High Tunnels
Terrance T. Nennich, Fruit and
Vegetable Production
Carl...
2
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
TOPICS
 Considerations before planting
– Site selec...
3
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
SITE SELECTION
 Ideal soil is a well-drained sandy ...
4
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
IMPROVING SOIL PHYSICAL
PROPERTIES
 Compost additio...
5
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
YIELD POTENTIAL & NUTRIENT NEEDS
 Yields in a high ...
6
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
CROPS THAT DEMAND HIGH
FERTILIITY
Tomatoes
Cucumbe...
7
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
CROPS THAT USE MEDIUM
FERTILITY Strawberries
 Rasp...
8
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
LOW FERTILITY CROPS
 Lettuce
 Spinach
 Greens
 B...
9
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
PUTTING A HIGH TUNNEL IN
PERSPECTIVE
 1 acre = 4356...
10
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
SOIL FERTILITY
Start with a complete
soil test
 $...
11
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
SOIL FERTILITY
 If soil fertility is low from the ...
12
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
FERTILIZER PLACEMENT
 It is important to keep the ...
13
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
14
15
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
TOMATO FERTILITY DEMANDS IN
HIGH TUNNELS
 Not hard...
16
“Book Values” for Tomatoes
N P K
Plant Part -------- lb per ton F.W. ------------
Fruit 3.4 0.4 6.0
Vines 2.6 0.4 3.4
T...
17
Tomato Fertilizer Use 5lb Plant
N P K
Plant Part -------- lb per ton F.W. ------------
Fruit 3.4 0.4 6.0
Vines 2.6 0.4 ...
18
Tomato Fertilizer Use 20lb Plant
N P K
Plant Part -------- lb per ton F.W. ------------
Fruit 3.4 0.4 6.0
Vines 2.6 0.4...
19
Tomato Fertilizer Use 40lb Plant
N P K
Plant Part -------- lb per ton F.W. ------------
Fruit 3.4 0.4 6.0
Vines 2.6 0.4...
20
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
SATISFYING NUTRIENT DEMAND IN A
HIGH TUNNEL SYSTEM
...
21
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
AMENDMENTS BEFORE PLANTING
 Have soil tested befor...
22
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
SOLUBLE SALTS (EC)
 Based on saturated paste:
– < ...
23
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
SOIL PH
 Acceptable range: 5.5-7.5
 Adjust before...
24
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
PHOSPHORUS AND MICRONUTRIENTS
 Base P application ...
25
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
NITROGEN AND POTASSIUM
 A portion should be applie...
26
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT
WITHOUT FERTIGATION
 Organic s...
27
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT
WITHOUT FERTIGATION
– Use legum...
28
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT
WITHOUT FERTIGATION
 Conventio...
29
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT
WITH FERTIGATION
 Injection of...
30
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT
WITH FERTIGATION
 Primarily us...
31
Solubility of Common Fertilizers
Material Composition Salt index
Solubility
% N %P2O5 %K2O lbs/gal H20
Calcium nitrate1...
32
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
MIXES TO AVOID
 Phosphorus compounds with calcium ...
33
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
RATE AND TIMING OF
APPLICATION
 Preparing soils an...
34
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
FERTIGATION
 Use a batch loading fertigation appro...
35
Meeting the Demands for Crops
with Different Requirements
 Fertigate crops at different
times
– Allows for varying rat...
36
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
DETERMINING THE RATE OF N AND K
TO APPLY
 Most con...
37
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
TISSUE TESTING
 Plant tissue analysis at first flo...
38
39
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
FOLIAR SPRAYS
 Foliar sprays will help, but it is ...
40
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
FERTILIZER
 Needs to be added at least weekly
 Up...
41
N and K Fertigation Schedule for
Tomatoes - lb/A basis
Days after Planting Daily N Weekly N Seasonal N Daily K2O Weekly...
42
N and K Fertigation Schedule for
Tomatoes – oz per 100 ft basis
Days after Planting Daily N Weekly N Seasonal N Daily K...
43
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
CALCULATING THE RATE OF
FERTILIZER TO INJECT
 Exam...
44
Amount of UAN Solution for Various N
Rates per Acre
N Rates
lbs/ac
1 2 3 4 6 8 10
28%
Gallons/ac
0.33 0.67 1.00 1.33 2....
45
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
SUMMARY
 Soil test before planting
 Incorporate c...
46
© 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
SUMMARY
 For conventional systems, use fertigation...
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Managing and Amending Soils for Productive Yields in High Tunnels, 2015

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by Terrence T. Nennich, Extension Educator, University of Minnesota and Carl Rosen, Professor, Dept. of Soil, Water and Climate, University of Minnesota.

Presented at the 2015 Minnesota Statewide High Tunnel Conference, Beginning Grower Workshop.

Published in: Education
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Managing and Amending Soils for Productive Yields in High Tunnels, 2015

  1. 1. Managing and Amending Soils for Productive Yields in High Tunnels Terrance T. Nennich, Fruit and Vegetable Production Carl Rosen, Dept of Soil Water and Climate
  2. 2. 2 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. TOPICS  Considerations before planting – Site selection  Yield potential in a high tunnel – Satisfying nutrient needs  Preplant amendments – Importance of soil testing  Nutrient management – Without fertigation  Nutrient sources – organic and controlled release – With fertigation  Nutrient sources & timing of application
  3. 3. 3 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. SITE SELECTION  Ideal soil is a well-drained sandy loam to silt loam  Medium to high organic matter levels (3.5 to 6%)  Consider growing green manure crops before planting/establishing the tunnel – Sorgum-sudan – Rye or oats – Legumes such as field peas, clover
  4. 4. 4 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. IMPROVING SOIL PHYSICAL PROPERTIES  Compost addition – 1-2 lbs compost per sq. ft.  Use good quality compost – Beware of herbicide residuals
  5. 5. 5 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. YIELD POTENTIAL & NUTRIENT NEEDS  Yields in a high tunnel can be 2 to 4 times the yield obtained in the field  Higher yields will require 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
  6. 6. 6 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. CROPS THAT DEMAND HIGH FERTILIITY Tomatoes Cucumbers Egg Plants Okra Peppers
  7. 7. 7 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. CROPS THAT USE MEDIUM FERTILITY Strawberries  Raspberries  Fruit Trees  Beans  Potatoes ??  Carrots
  8. 8. 8 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. LOW FERTILITY CROPS  Lettuce  Spinach  Greens  Beans  Some cole crops
  9. 9. 9 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. PUTTING A HIGH TUNNEL IN PERSPECTIVE  1 acre = 43560 sq ft.  A 26 X 96 High Tunnel = 2496 sq/ft  26 X 96 High tunnel = .057 acres  A little over 1/20th of a acre.  So when a soil tests requires 300 pounds of Nitrogen for Example  300 X .057 = 17 pounds of N applied in the high tunnel
  10. 10. 10 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. SOIL FERTILITY Start with a complete soil test  $Cost is about 35.00  Bring soil to high level
  11. 11. 11 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. SOIL FERTILITY  If soil fertility is low from the beginning you will not work your way out.  If you are planting a crop in rows test the rows  We blame it on Potassium
  12. 12. 12 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. FERTILIZER PLACEMENT  It is important to keep the high tunnel fertility to a high level through out the high tunnel  But—  In high tunnels the fertilizer extraction zone is very narrow as compared to field production  12- 16 inches as compared to 36 inches + in the field
  13. 13. 13 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  14. 14. 14
  15. 15. 15 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. TOMATO FERTILITY DEMANDS IN HIGH TUNNELS  Not hard to get 5-7 pounds per plant  Usually enough fertility in soil with a little extra compost  20 pounds per plant excellent fertility  25- 50 pounds per plant requires extremely high fertility, supplied at the proper stages of growth in proper amounts.
  16. 16. 16 “Book Values” for Tomatoes 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)
  17. 17. 17 Tomato Fertilizer Use 5lb Plant 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 Field Production 13.5 ton: ( 5 Lbs Plant) 81 lbs N/A 11 lbs P/A (25.3 lbs P2O5) 127 lbs K/A (152 lbs K2O)
  18. 18. 18 Tomato Fertilizer Use 20lb Plant 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: ( 20 Lbs Plant) 300 lbs N/A 40 lbs P/A (92 lbs P2O5) 470 lbs K/A (564 lbs K2O)
  19. 19. 19 Tomato Fertilizer Use 40lb Plant 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 100 ton yield/A would require: ( 40 Lbs Plant) 600 lbs N/A 80 lbs P/A (184 lbs P2O5) 940 lbs K/A (1128 lbs K2O)
  20. 20. 20 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. SATISFYING NUTRIENT DEMAND IN A HIGH TUNNEL SYSTEM  Release of nutrients from the soil – Importance of good preparation  Addition of fertilizer – Preplant – During the growing season  fertigation
  21. 21. 21 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. AMENDMENTS BEFORE PLANTING  Have soil tested before applying amendments – pH, OM, nitrate-N, P, K, Ca, Mg, micronutrients, soluble salts – Retest yearly, especially if problems are occurring
  22. 22. 22 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. SOLUBLE SALTS (EC)  Based on saturated paste: – < 2 mmhos/cm (dS/m) - no problems – 3-4 some plants affected – 5-7 many plants affected – >8 only salt tolerant plants survive  Most soils in Minnesota have low salts, but salts may accumulate with excessive fertigation
  23. 23. 23 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. SOIL PH  Acceptable range: 5.5-7.5  Adjust before planting – Acid soils – use calcitic or dolomitic limestone – Alkaline soils – use compost, sphagnum peat, elemental sulfur
  24. 24. 24 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. PHOSPHORUS AND MICRONUTRIENTS  Base P application on soil test level – Greater than 41 ppm is considered very high for most vegetables/fruit  Incorporate before planting if soil test indicates a need – Potassium phosphate, DAP, MAP – Numerous micronutrient sources – Composted manure  Use starter solutions high in P for transplants
  25. 25. 25 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. NITROGEN AND POTASSIUM  A portion should be applied before planting  Base K fertilizer application on soil test – most can be applied preplant – Greater than160 ppm is considered very high for most vegetables/fruit – potassium chloride (0-0-60) – potassium sulfate (0-0-50) – potassium magnesium sulfate (0-0-22); acceptable organic source  For soluble N sources, apply about 1/3 – 1/2 of the required N before planting – urea (46-0-0) – ammonium nitrate (34-0-0) – calcium nitrate (15.5-0-0) – potassium nitrate (13-0-44) – composted manure (variable)
  26. 26. 26 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT WITHOUT FERTIGATION  Organic systems – Composted manure  Type of compost  Moisture content  Crops grown – To supply equivalent of 100 lbs available N/A:  Dairy manure compost: 2700 lbs/1000 sq. ft.  Poultry manure compost: 900 lbs/1000 sq. ft. – Incorporate 6 to 8 inches into soil
  27. 27. 27 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT WITHOUT FERTIGATION – Use legume cover crops – Warm season cover crops can be planted later in the season
  28. 28. 28 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT WITHOUT FERTIGATION  Conventional system – Composted manure – Soluble fertilizers – Controlled release N fertilizers  Coated urea  Osmocote  Be sure that release rate is fast enough for the crop being grown – For most vegetables – 50 to 70 day release is needed – Temperatures are warmer in a high tunnel – faster release
  29. 29. 29 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT WITH FERTIGATION  Injection of one or more nutrients into the irrigation water  Review the Minnesota Chemigation/Fertigation Permit Application and Safety Requirements – www.mda.state.mn.us  Submit the Minnesota Chemigation/Fertigation Permit Application to MDA – Main requirement is to have recommended anti-pollution and safety devices
  30. 30. 30 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT WITH FERTIGATION  Primarily used for nitrogen and potassium – Urea-ammonium nitrate (28%N) (liquid) – Calcium nitrate (15.5% N) – Potassium nitrate (13% N; 44% K2O) – Potassium chloride (60%; K2O) – Blends eg. 20-20-20  Soluble sources of organic fertilizers are available, but are expensive and may cause clogging – Some fish emulsions have been successfully used
  31. 31. 31 Solubility of Common Fertilizers Material Composition Salt index Solubility % N %P2O5 %K2O lbs/gal H20 Calcium nitrate1 15.5 0 0 53 8.5 Potassium nitrate 13.0 0 44 73 1.1 Ammonium nitrate 33.5 0 0 105 9.8 Urea 46.0 0 0 75 6.5 Ammonium sulfate2 21.0 0 0 69 5.9 Potassium chloride 0.0 0 60 116 2.3 Potassium sulfate2 0.0 0 50 46 0.6 Diammonium phosphate2 18.0 46 0 30 3.6 1 May cause clogging if irrigation water is high in bicarbonates 2 Not recommended for use with calcium nitrate or if irrigation water is high in calcium
  32. 32. 32 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. MIXES TO AVOID  Phosphorus compounds with calcium or iron  Calcium with sulfate and bicarbonate  To avoid precipitation problems two stock tanks should be used, one for calcium nitrate and iron chelate and the other for the remaining fertilizers – Alternatively apply P fertilizer preplant
  33. 33. 33 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. RATE AND TIMING OF APPLICATION  Preparing soils and applying preplant nutrients is still important - compost or fertilizer  About 1/2 of N and K needs can be applied through fertigation  Timing is not as critical as rate – Once per month – Once per week – Every time there is an irrigation event
  34. 34. 34 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. FERTIGATION  Use a batch loading fertigation approach  Inject total volume of nutrient during an irrigation event  Total volume of fertilizer for batch loading depends on the area of the irrigated zone and the desired nutrient rate  The injection rate does not need to be precisely controlled  The injector should apply the chemical solution in a time period that does not result in over-irrigation, otherwise leaching will occur
  35. 35. 35 Meeting the Demands for Crops with Different Requirements  Fertigate crops at different times – Allows for varying rates to be applied  Fertigate to meet the demands of the crop needing the lowest amount of nutrients – Make up difference with preplant fertilizer
  36. 36. 36 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. DETERMINING THE RATE OF N AND K TO APPLY  Most conventional recommendations are based on lbs N or K2O/A  Ounces per linear feet of row is more practical for high tunnels – Based on 4ft spacing between rows – 100 linear ft = 400 sq. ft.
  37. 37. 37 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. TISSUE TESTING  Plant tissue analysis at first flower.  Tissue analysis: – 10-15 whole leaves – Collect from average plants – Collect 4-5th leaf from top  Most recent mature leaf – Paper bags only! – Overnight or pickup
  38. 38. 38
  39. 39. 39 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. FOLIAR SPRAYS  Foliar sprays will help, but it is difficult to raise the potassium levels 2-4% points as would be needed. Boron also plays a role in helping with the uptake of K, Ca, sulfur and Mg.  More research needs to be done with this.
  40. 40. 40 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. FERTILIZER  Needs to be added at least weekly  Up to Flowering 1-1-1 ratio  After flowering 2 -1- 2 ratio  Possible 1-1-4 after harvest.  Added fertilizer should have Micro Nutrients.
  41. 41. 41 N and K Fertigation Schedule for Tomatoes - lb/A basis Days after Planting Daily N Weekly N Seasonal N Daily K2O Weekly K2O Seasonal K2O ----------------------------------------- lb/A--- ---------------------------------------------- Preplant ---- ---- 50.0 ---- ----- 100.0 0- 21 0.5 3.5 61.5 1.0 7.0 121.0 22- 49 0.7 4.9 81.1 1.4 9.8 160.2 50- 70 1.0 7.0 102.1 2.0 14.0 202.2 71- 91 1.1 7.7 125.2 2.2 15.4 248.4 92-112 1.0 7.0 146.2 2.0 14.0 290.4
  42. 42. 42 N and K Fertigation Schedule for Tomatoes – oz per 100 ft basis Days after Planting Daily N Weekly N Seasonal N Daily K2O Weekly K2O Seasonal K2O --------------------------------- oz/100 linear row ft -------------------------------------- Preplant ---- ---- 7.3 ---- ----- 14.7 0- 21 0.07 0.50 9.0 0.15 1.1 17.8 22- 49 0.10 0.70 11.9 0.21 1.5 23.5 50- 70 0.15 1.05 15.0 0.29 2.0 29.7 71- 91 0.16 1.12 18.4 0.32 2.2 36.5 92-112 0.15 1.05 21.5 0.29 2.0 42.6 1 assumes 4 ft spacing between rows; lb/A X 0.147 = oz/100 linear ft of row. lbs/A x 0.147 = oz/100 linear ft of row
  43. 43. 43 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. CALCULATING THE RATE OF FERTILIZER TO INJECT  Example for urea-ammonium nitrate (28%) – Area to fertilize – 200 linear feet (800 sq. ft.) – Liquid (28% N) – 3 lbs N/gallon – Recommendation is 10 lbs N/A – 10/3 = 3.33 gallons/A – 3.33 gal * 800/43560 * 128 oz/gal = 7.8 fl oz  Use similar approach for granular except conversion to lbs product rather than fl. oz. is made
  44. 44. 44 Amount of UAN Solution for Various N Rates per Acre N Rates lbs/ac 1 2 3 4 6 8 10 28% Gallons/ac 0.33 0.67 1.00 1.33 2.00 2.67 3.33 28% fl. oz/100 linear ft of row1 0.39 0.78 1.16 1.55 2.32 3.10 3.88 1 Assumes a between row spacing of 4 ft.
  45. 45. 45 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. SUMMARY  Soil test before planting  Incorporate compost if needed to improve soil physical and chemical properties  If needed adjust acid soil pH with lime  Incorporate P and micronutrients before planting based on a soil test  For organic production use composted manure before planting
  46. 46. 46 © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. SUMMARY  For conventional systems, use fertigation with soluble N and K sources or use controlled release fertilizers  A portion of the N and K can be applied before planting  Total rate applied is more important than timing  Use the tables provided to estimate amounts of nutrient required on a linear foot basis

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