Response of yield and quality of cauliflower varieties (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis) to nitrogen supply

K. Rather, M.K. Schenk, A.P. Everaarts, S. Vethman

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    The fertilizer nitrogen (N) inputs to some vegetables such as cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis) can be large. One approach to decreasing the input of N may be to select for cultivars efficient in the use of nitrogen. The objective of this investigation was to identify a cultivar which was nitrogen efficient in terms of producing a high yield under nitrogen (N) limiting conditions. Field trials were conducted in 1993 and 1994 with the cauliflower F1-hybrids (B. oleracea var. botrytis) 'Marine', 'Lindurian' and 'Linford' at the Ruthe (Germany) and Schermer (the Netherlands) sites. Optimum N supply was 250 kg ha-1 as the sum of the inorganic N content of the soil (Nmin) at planting and fertilizer N. Limiting N supply consisted of Nmin at planting and mineralization of N during cultivation. The Nmin at planting was 116 and 66 kg ha-1 at Ruthe and 84 and 20 kg ha-1 at Schermer in 1993 and 1994, respectively. The yield in terms of total dry-matter and quality (measured as percentage class 1 curds) was highest with 'Marine' both at limiting and optimum N supply. Additionally, in quality 'Marine' was the least sensitive variety to N shortage. Thus, 'Marine' could be regarded as being nitrogen efficient. 'Linford' could be considered as nitrogen inefficient in quality, whereas 'Lindurian' generally performed inconsistently. The reduction in quality with N shortage was due to an increase in loose curds, indicating that limiting N supply promoted the process of bolting. Quality defect buttoning increased in part with N shortage. 'Marine' produced no buttoned curds. Bracting was not affected by N supply and appeared only in Ruthe 1994 with 'Lindurian' and 'Linford'. It was concluded that the improved efficiency with 'Marine' in terms of total dry matter and quality might have been achieved either through a higher N uptake capacity of the root system (uptake efficiency) and/or through a greater utilization of nitrogen by the plant (N utilization efficiency).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)658-664
    JournalJournal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology
    Publication statusPublished - 1999


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