Nutrient management of blackberry cultivars grown in organic production systems Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/x633f393x

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  • The impact of fertilizer source and cultivar on growth, fruit quality, and yield was evaluated in organic blackberry (Rubus L. subgenus Rubus Watson) from 2011-2013 in three studies. In all studies, plants were drip irrigated, and weeds were managed using a woven polypropylene, permeable landscape fabric (weed mat). At a grower collaborator site, fertilizer source (liquid fish and molasses blend; soybean meal; pelletized, processed poultry litter) had little effect on yield or fruit quality and results were inconsistent among cultivars ('Marion', 'Black Diamond', 'Obsidian', 'Triple Crown') and years. Fertilizer source (corn steep liquor and fish waste digestion; fish solubles and molasses blend) also had little effect on the machine-harvested yield, plant growth, and fruit quality of 'Marion' and 'Black Diamond'. When these fertilizers were applied through the drip system, emitter flow rates decreased an average of 4.5% in the first year and 19% in the second year, but system performance was not affected by fertilizer source or flushing. Primocane leaf tissue nutrient concentrations were within recommended levels for all nutrients, except for Ca and B which were below recommended standards, in all cultivars and Mg which was deficient in some. Cultivars differed in yield and fruit quality in all of the organic production trials. At the grower collaborator site, 'Triple Crown' produced the greatest yield in both years, whereas 'Black Diamond' and 'Marion' had the lowest yield in 2011 and 2012, respectively. 'Triple Crown' fruit had the highest percent soluble solids and were the least firm in 2011, while 'Marion' fruit were the least firm in 2012. 'Black Diamond' produced a greater machine-harvested total yield than 'Marion' in the second study, but also produced a greater proportion of unmarketable fruit. In the third study, all of the cultivars tested responded well to the organic production system used based on yield and plant growth, but 'Onyx' and 'Metolius' were considered to have a low yield for commercial production. In contrast, the higher yielding 'Obsidian' and 'ORUS-2635-1' appeared to be the best suited for fresh market, organic production due to their greater fruit size, firmness, and sugar to acid ratio and a low post-harvest percent moisture loss ('ORUS-2635-1') and a long number of marketable days of storage ('Obsidian'). Plantings were successfully established and maintained using the organic sources of fertilizer studied. Supplemental fertilization with B, Mg, and Ca would be required with each fertilizer studied to maintain recommended soil and plant fertility levels. Since the cultivars responded similarly to the fertilizer sources studied, cost of the nitrogen (N) in the fertilizer should be taken into account, which varied from $5.60 to $18.00 per kg of N.
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