Comparative Nitrogen Use Efficiency of Urea, Manure and Different Mulch Types in Horticulture in Semi-Arid Bolivia
Laura Kuonen1, Noemi Stadler Kaulich2, Lindsey Norgrove1
1Bern University of Applied Sciences, School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences, Switzerland
Onion (Allium cepa) is an important horticultural crop in Bolivia, where the main production region is in the semi-arid region of Cochabamba, in the inter-Andean valleys. Here, soils are degraded, due to overgrazing and agricultural intensification. Soil erosion and water availability as well as nitrogen (N), limits crop growth. We hypothesised that using locally available mulch might improve growth and finally yield more than the equivalent N application as either inorganic fertiliser or manure as it might also release nutrients more in synchrony with the developing crop as well as suppress weeds, increase soil moisture and reduce soil erosion. We also hypothesised that growth improvement due to adding nutrients would be less in the more shaded blocks where growth would be light-limited.
Keywords: Allium cepa, horticulture, mulch, nitrogen efficiency, semi-arid climate
Contact Address: Laura Kuonen, Bern University of Applied Sciences, School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences, Länggasse 85, 3052 Zollikofen, Switzerland, e-mail: laura.kuonenbfh.ch