Growth and yield of broccoli as affected by nitrogen content of transplants and the timing of nitrogen fertilization.
The nitrogen requirement of broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica) ranges from 300 to 465 kg·ha–1. Recommendations for N fertilization are accordingly high. High fertilizer rates applied at planting result in a high soil mineral N content that remains high for weeks because the N requirement of the crop is low at early growth stages. Therefore, the risk of leaching is high for several weeks until the available N is finally taken up by the crop. Our study had two objectives: 1) to quantify yield responses to preplant fertilization, and 2) to test our hypothesis that the preplant fertilization rate could be reduced without yield losses by increasing the N content in the transplants and improving crop establishment. Field experiments were carried out on transplants with four levels of N content in dry matter (0.018 to 0.038 g·g–1dry weight), which were tested in all combinations with four fertilization timings. All treatments received the same amount of N fertilizer (270 and 272 kg·ha–1 in 2001 and 2002, respectively), but with different rates of supply at the time of planting (0 to 90 kg·ha–1 N fertilizer plus 30 and 28 kg·ha–1 soil mineral N in 2001 and 2002, respectively). Total and marketable yields increased significantly with an increasing N supply at time of planting. In our experiments, in which topdressing was applied 25 days after planting, an N supply at planting of 80 to 118 kg·ha–1was required to obtain maximum marketable yields. The N content in transplants had little effect on growth and yield, and there were no significant interactions between the N content in the transplant and fertilizer timing.
Feller, C.; Fink, M. 2005. Growth and yield of broccoli as affected by nitrogen content of transplants and the timing of nitrogen fertilization. HortScience 40 (5), 1320-1323.