Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment

Vol 6, Issue 3&4,2008
Online ISSN: 1459-0263
Print ISSN: 1459-0255

Effect of nitrogen fertilisation reduction on yield, quality and N utilisation of processing spinach


Stefano Canali 1*, Francesco Montemurro 2, Fabio Tittarelli 1, Olimpia Masetti 1

Recieved Date: 2008-04-23, Accepted Date: 2008-09-05


Nitrogen (N) fertilizer is one of the main growth limiting nutrients in leafy crops and represents one of the highest input costs in horticultural systems and a potential concern for the environment. As a consequence, any environmental and economic considerations need a deep analysis of N fertiliser utilisation in vegetable production. This study was carried out to evaluate the effect of the reduction of N fertilisation on yield, quality, N uptake and N utilisation efficiency of processing spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.). To accomplish this objective two field experiments were carried out in the Foggia Plain (Southern Italy) to determine the optimum N-application level and ways of modulating it during the growing cycle through the application of different N rates. In a completely randomized experimental design with four replications the following three N fertilization treatments were compared: 50% (N 150 kg ha-1), 75% (N 225 kg ha-1) and 100% (N 300 kg ha-1) of the normal rate applied by the farmers in the trial area. Subdividing the total amounts in equal parts, the urea fertiliser was broadcasted in three times: before sowing, at the stage of second couple of leaves (38 days after sowing, DAS) and at fast growing stage (81 DAS). The results indicate that lower N fertilization level ensured a satisfactory yield, quality (dry matter and nitrate contents), N uptake and N utilisation pattern. It also decreased the amount of N available for leaching during the whole cropping cycle. The higher quantity of N applied at the maximum level did not increase the majority of the measured parameters, whereas the N utilization efficiency decreased significantly from the intermediate to the highest N treatment level in both field experiments. The results of this research indicated the way to optimise N fertilisation of processing spinach, in terms of quantity and time of fertiliser application, to obtain satisfactory crop performances and reducing environmental risks.


Spinach, N fertilisation, yield, quality, N uptake efficiency, N utilisation efficiency, soil nitrate, leaf nitrate, Mediterranean environment, Spinacia oleracea L

Journal: Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment
Year: 2008
Volume: 6
Issue: 3&4
Category: Agriculture
Pages: 242-247

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