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Nitrogen use for high productivity and sustainability in cashew.

O'Farrell, P.J. and Armour, J.D. and Reid, D.J. (2010) Nitrogen use for high productivity and sustainability in cashew. Scientia Horticulturae, 124 (1). pp. 19-28.

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Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scienta.2009.11.016

Publisher URL: http://www.elsevier.com

Abstract

Interest in cashew production in Australia has been stimulated by domestic and export market opportunities and suitability of large areas of tropical Australia. Economic models indicate that cashew production is profitable at 2.8 t ha-1 nut-in-shell (NIS). Balanced plant nutrition is essential to achieve economic yields in Australia, with nitrogen (N) of particular importance because of its capacity to modify growth, affect nut yield and cause environmental degradation through soil acidification and off-site contamination.

The study on a commercial cashew plantation at Dimbulah, Australia, investigated the effect of N rate and timing on cashew growth, nut production, N leaching and soil chemical properties over five growth cycles (1995-1999). Nitrogen was applied during the main periods of vegetative (December-April) and reproductive (June-October) growth.

Commercial NIS yields (up to 4.4 t ha-1 from individual trees) that exceeded the economic threshold of 2.8 t ha-1 were achieved. The yield response was mainly determined by canopy size as mean nut weight, panicle density and nuts per panicle were largely unaffected by N treatments. Nitrogen application confined to the main period of vegetative growth (December-April) produced a seasonal growth pattern that corresponded most consistently with highest NIS yield. This N timing also reduced late season flowering and undesirable post-November nut drop. Higher yields were not produced at N rates greater than 17 g m-2 of canopy surface area (equating to 210 kg N ha-1 for mature size trees). High yields were attained when N concentrations in Mveg leaves in May-June were about 2%, but this assessment occurs at a time when it is not feasible to correct N deficiency. The Mflor leaf of the preceding November, used in conjunction with the Mveg leaf, was proposed as a diagnostic tool to guide N rate decisions. Leaching of nitrate-N and acidification of the soil profile was recorded to 0.9 m. This is an environmental and sustainability hazard, and demonstrates that improved methods of N management are required.

Item Type:Article
Corporate Creators:DEEDI
Additional Information:© Crown Copyright. © Elsevier Ltd.
Keywords:Acidification; application rates; cashews; chemical composition; crop yield; flowering; growth; leaching; leaves; nitrate nitrogen; nitrogen; nitrogen content; nitrogen fertilizers; nutrient content; panicles; plant composition; productivity; soil chemical properties.
Subjects:Plant culture > Fruit and fruit culture > Nuts
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Special aspects of agriculture as a whole > Sustainable agriculture
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Fertilisers
Science > Statistics > Statistical data analysis
Deposited On:12 Aug 2010 06:13
Last Modified:18 Mar 2011 06:29

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