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Evaluation of a newly developed potassium and nitrogen fertilization regime for soil cultivation of Ranunculus asiaticus

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The requirements of Ranunculus asiaticus L. for N and K fertigation were recently studied in an experimental cultivation system in soilless culture, and the results identified lower requirement of R. asiaticus L. for N and K fertilization than the regime routinely practiced in Israel in the production fields. Fertigation with 50 mg N L-1 and 60 mg K L-1 excelled in terms of marketable flower production, flower quality, vase life duration, and reducing damage to the cut-flower yield by "stem-topple". In the present study, to assess the applicability of the newly developed optimized fertigation regime for soil-cultivation in the commercial production fields, we have compared the conventional high-input fertigation practice (100 mg N L-1 and 120 mg K L-1) with the newly developed reduced-fertigation regime (50 mg N L-1 and 60 mg K L-1) under agronomic conditions routinely practiced for commercial cultivation in the Bessor region, at the south of Israel. The newly optimized regime, which requires half the inputs of K and N fertilizers, was sufficient for optimal yield quality and quantity in agronomic soil production setups. It supported production of the same number of marketable cut flowers, of better length quality and vase life than the high input commercial regime. Utilization of the newly optimized regime therefore has the potential to increase income to farmers by reducing fertilizers input costs, and increasing profit from the improved flower quality.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Soil Water and Environmental Science ; 2: Extension Service, Ministry of Agriculture ; 3: Dept. of Postharvest Science of Fresh Produce, ARO, The Volcani Center ; 4: Havat Habsor


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