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Placement of nitrogen in spinach (Spinacea oleracea L.): a method to increase seed yield?

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Seed production of spinach (Spinacea oleracea L.) is positively affected by increasing the amounts of nitrogen (N); however, regulations restrict the application rate of N in Danish agriculture. The aim of our study was to test different N application strategies in spinach seed production and their effects on N concentration, seed yield, seed weight and germination. A total amount of 100–150 kg N ha -1 was broadcast or placed at sowing or applied as a split application at sowing and pre-elongation at the Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, location Flakkebjerg. Seed yields were positively affected by the high N applications, but no difference was observed between 150 kg N ha -1 broadcast at sowing, and 40 kg N ha -1 broadcast at sowing with an additional late application at a rate based on soil mineral N analysis. No consistent pattern was observed between N management strategy and seed weight or N management strategy and germination. A high N concentration in the plants at the start of growth showed negative effects on final seed yield, whereas later in the season there was a significantly positive correlation between N concentration in the plants and seed yield. A soil mineral analysis can be used as a tool to adjust the N application rate when a split application strategy is chosen.

Keywords: Germination; N concentration; N management strategy; seed production; seed weight; soil mineral N analysis

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Plant Biology, Research Centre Flakkebjerg, Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, DK-4200, Slagelse, Denmark

Publication date: March 1, 2005

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