Vegetable Research & Innovation

Nutrient management of vegetable crops in New Zealand

By JB Reid and J D Morton

In 1986, MAF published Fertiliser Recommendations for Horticultural Crops. The book summarised nutrient requirements for the major vegetable crops based on research results obtained up till then (Wood et al. 1986). In 2000, the Vegetable Growers Handbook (Wallace 2000) contained information for fertiliser use, but the scientific basis for many recommendations was unclear. Since then, much has changed in the business, social and regulatory environment of horticulture. Crop location, varieties, management practices and yield expectations have changed, and growers are more aware of the impact of their practices on the environment. New scientific approaches have enabled researchers to quantify the influences of many of the key interactions between plants, soils, and management that influence productivity, profitability and risk.

This book builds on the 1986 recommendations with the results of a further thirty-odd years of research. In addition, there is information on environmental impacts and improving the efficiency of fertiliser use. The format is deliberately brief and direct.These recommendations are intended to be a guide based on the best current experimental evidence; they are not prescriptive requirements. At times it may be beneficial to use the skills of a nutrient management adviser to interpret and if necessary modify them for specific circumstances.

This book is intended to be a resource of best-practice advice to manage the nutrition of vegetable crops in New Zealand (NZ). The emphasis is firmly on practices that are scientifically defensible.