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Nitrogen and environmental factors influencing macadamia quality

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Stephenson, R.A., Gallagher, E.C., Doogan, V.J. and Mayer, D. G. (2000) Nitrogen and environmental factors influencing macadamia quality. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 40 (8). pp. 1145-1150. ISSN 08161089 (ISSN)


Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1071/EA99077


Applications of nitrogen fertiliser in macadamia orchards remain high, despite indications that optimum yields and quality are obtained at a lower rate. This 6-year study examined the effect on quality of 230, 690 and 1150 g nitrogen/tree . year, applied in April (floral initiation), in April and June (inflorescence development), in April, June and November (rapid nut growth and premature nut drop), in April, June, November and January (nut maturation/oil accumulation) or monthly. Higher rates of nitrogen increased kernel recovery by 1% in 5 years out of 6. In 1 year only, 4 or more split applications of the medium and high rates of nitrogen increased kernel recovery by up to 1.6%. These increases were insufficient to compensate for depressed yields (17% lower) at high nitrogen. In good years, when yields were above average, kernel recovery tended to be high and in years with poor yields, kernel recovery tended to be low except when nuts were small. Moderate summer—early autumn rainfall of about 100 mm/month was associated with high kernel recovery whereas very heavy rainfall (>200 mm/month) during this period was detrimental.
The percentage of first grade kernels was influenced most by season but was negatively correlated with the rate of nitrogen. Impurities, including immature, deformed, mouldy and insect-damaged kernels, were lowest at low rates of nitrogen and highest during wet harvest seasons.

Time of nitrogen application had no significant effect on yield, kernel recovery, the percentage of first-grade kernels or impurities. For sustained high yield and quality, 355 g nitrogen, or 0.8 kg urea/tree.year, applied in April—June is indicated. Agronomic and economic advantages of reducing rates of nitrogen applied to macadamia orchards are enhanced by increasingly important environmental considerations.

Multiple regression analyses indicated that the rate, strategy and timing of nitrogen application, rainfall, temperature, flushing and litterfall were correlated with kernel recovery and first-grade kernels but more work is needed to elucidate the significance of these factors.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Plant culture > Fruit and fruit culture > Nuts
Live Archive:07 Jan 2024 23:38
Last Modified:10 Jan 2024 00:26

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