Evaluating a protocol for growing organic market garden cabbage using split band applications of granulated laying-hen droppings

Christine Landry, researcher

Christine Landry

Researcher

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Description

The market for Québec organic foods is growing at an average annual rate of 10%. It is, therefore, important to develop competitive production protocols, particularly with regard to fertilization, to satisfy crop nitrogen (N) requirements while avoiding undue accumulations of soil phosphorus (P). Organic producers, with their high-N-demand crops, are faced with the problem of soil P saturation. This is especially true for market gardeners, whose crops have especially high N requirements. Among the available animal fertilizers used, cattle manure and manure composts represent affordable N sources, however, they are also loaded with P. Since the N in these manures has a low fertilizing efficiency, large quantities must be applied to satisfy crop needs. Consequently, these products contribute to raising soil P levels. Granulated laying-hen droppings (GHD) could serve as an alternative source of N. They are rich in total nitrogen (35 to 40 kg N-tot/T) and easily mineralizable (C/N <8), so only half the volume is needed. This type of fertilizer has gained popularity among organic market gardeners, but it is often spread in a single broadcast application prior to planting, which results in the unnecessary fertilization of inter-rows. However, given the granular form of GHD it could be efficiently applied using band applications.

Objective(s)

This project aims to develop a GHD-based fertilizer management system using split band applications for high-N-demand crops grown in rows, e.g., summer cabbage. More specifically, we will show that by using split band applications to achieve the total dose, it is possible to…

  • use less GHD than broadcast applications
  • achieve equivalent or higher yields, while reducing residual post-harvest nitrate (as shown in three different areas with variable growing conditions), and
  • compare the costs and revenues of the tested protocols in the context of three different crop management strategies.

From 2018 to 2019

Project duration

Market gardening

Activity areas

Organic farming, Waste conversion, Fertilizer management

Services

Proper use of chicken manure will reduce production costs and promote good yields.

Partenaires

Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec, Les Jardins Barry Inc., CÉGEP de Victoriaville, Club agroenvironnemental en agriculture, Vallons Maraîchers

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