EVALUATION OF NON-CONVENTIONAL ADDITIVES

FOR ONION PRODUCTION

Erik B.G. Feibert, Clint C. Shock, and Lamont D. Saunders

Malheur Experiment Station

Oregon State University

Ontario, Oregon, 1999

Summary

Eleven non-conventional additives from eight companies were tested for their effect on onion yield and quality, and for their economic efficiency. None of the products tested increased onion yield or quality compared to the untreated check.

Introduction

Numerous non-conventional additives are being marketed. Growers need information on onion yield and quality responses to these products and their cost effectiveness.

Methods

The trial was conducted on an Owyhee silt loam with 1.4 percent organic matter and a pH of 7.4. The field previously had been planted to wheat. In the fall, before plowing, 100 lb P2O5/acre and 20 lb N/acre were broadcast. The wheat stubble was shredded, and the field was deep-chiseled, disked, irrigated, moldboard-plowed, roller-harrowed, fumigated with Telone C-17 at 24 gal ai/acre, and bedded.

Beds were knocked down March 16. Onion seed (cv Vision, Petoseed, Payette, ID) was planted April 7 at 153,000 seeds/acre in double rows on beds spaced 22 in apart. The onion rows received 3.7 oz of Lorsban 15G per 1,000 ft of row (0.82 lb ai/acre), and the soil surface was rolled.

Plots were 27 ft long and four double rows wide. On May 17, alleys 4 ft wide were cut between plots, leaving plots 23 ft long.

Eight companies entered treatments that consisted of single products or combinations of products. The humic acid products tested and their application modes are listed in Table 1. The products were applied using the equipment listed in Table 2. The experimental design was a randomized complete block with treatments replicated six times.

Table 2. Equipment used to apply non-conventional additives. Malheur Experiment Station, Ontario, Oregon, 1999
Application mode Equipment specifications
10-in band pre-plant backpack sprayer at 20 gal/acre, 30 PSI, 8001 even nozzles
   
Broadcast pre-plant - liquid double application with backpack sprayer at 50 gal/acre, 30 PSI, 8004 nozzles
   
Broadcast pre-plant - dry hand fertilizer spreader
   
In seed furrow Ridomil applicator at 24 gal/acre
   
Sidedress sidedressed as Uran to both sides of bed at 60 gal/acre. Products were mixed with Uran.
   
Foliar backpack sprayer at 16 gal/acre with 8002 nozzles

All treatments were sidedressed on June 7 and again on June 23 with 100 lb N/acre as Uran, except treatments 6 and 11. Treatment 6 (Humizyme) did not receive any Uran. Treatment 11 (Kozgro) received 75 lb N/acre at the first sidedressing and 100 lb N/acre at the second sidedressing.

The trial was managed to avoid yield reductions from weeds, pests, and diseases. Weeds were controlled with cultivations on May 13, May 27, and June 17, and with low-rate herbicide applications as needed until lay-by (Table 1). After lay-by, the field was hand weeded as necessary. Thrips were controlled with four aerial applications of Warrior and Lannate. A brown wheat mite infestation in early August was controlled by Microthiol Special at 8 lb ai/acre.

Table 3. Herbicides and quantities (ai/acre) applied after onion emergence. Malheur Experiment Station, Ontario, Oregon, 1999.

Date Herbicides
April 30 Buctril 3.3 oz
May 10 Buctril 3.3 oz, Poast 3.6 oz
May 22 Goal 1.2 oz, Buctril 3.3 oz, Poast 2.9 oz
June 2 Goal 1.2 oz, Buctril 3.3 oz, Poast 2.9 oz, Prowl 0.45 pint
June 17 Goal 1.2 oz, Prowl 0.9 pint
         

The trial was furrow irrigated as necessary. Soil water potential was monitored by eight granular matrix sensors (GMS, Watermark Soil Moisture Sensors Model 200SS, Irrometer Co., Riverside, CA) installed below the onion row at 8-in depth on June 7. Thereafter, the field was irrigated to maintain soil water potential at 8 in depth above -20 kPa until the last irrigation on August 23.

The onions were lifted on September 17 to field dry. Onions from the middle two rows of every plot were topped by hand on September 28 and placed into storage in wooden crates on September 30. Onions were graded out of storage November 30, 1999. Bulbs were separated according to quality: bulbs without blemishes (No. 1s), split bulbs (No. 2s), neck rot (bulbs infected with the fungus Botrytis allii in the neck or side), plate rot (bulbs infected with the fungus Fusarium oxysporum), black mold (bulbs infected with the fungus Aspergillus niger), and bulbs with translucent rings. The No. 1 bulbs were graded according to diameter: small (< 2¼ in), medium (2¼ to 3 in), jumbo (3 to 4 in), and colossal (4 in and larger).

Onion production costs were based on data prepared by the Malheur County Extension Service. All onion production costs were the same for all treatments except loading and hauling, bin rental and storage, and grower assessments, which were based on a fee per hundredweight of total yield. Onion production costs for treatment 6 did not include N fertilizer. Onion production costs for treatment 11 had N fertilizer cost reduced by 12.5 percent. The treatment production costs were based on the onion production cost plus the retail cost and application cost of the products in each treatment.

Gross economic returns were calculated by crediting each marketable onion class with the average price of onions paid to the grower from the beginning of the marketing season in early August through January. Average prices were calculated for the years 1992 through 1999 from data prepared by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service, Idaho Falls, Idaho. Average prices reflecting adjustments for packing and shipping costs in U.S. dollars per cwt were: $4.05 for medium grade bulbs, $6.80 for jumbo grade bulbs, and $9.63 for colossal grade bulbs.

Treatment differences were compared using ANOVA and least significant differences at the 5 percent probability level, LSD (0.05).

Treatment Company Products Rate Application mode
      Amount/acre  
1 Ag Concepts  Jump Start 5-5-5 1.5 gal in seed furrow
    Jump Start 5-5-5 1 gal 1st sidedress
    Jump Start 5-5-5 1 gal 2nd sidedress
2 Ag Concepts  Agzyme 12.5 oz 10-in band over row pre-plant
    Humaide 1 gal  
    Kelp Treat 2 qt  
    Jump Start 5-5-5 1 gal 1st sidedress
    Jump Start 5-5-5 1 gal 2nd sidedress
3 Ag Concepts  Jump Start 5-5-5 1 gal 10-in band over row pre-plant
    Humaide 1 qt.  
    Kelp Treat 2 qt  
    Agzyme 6 oz 1st sidedress
    Kelp Treat 1 qt  
    Humaide 1 qt  
4 Horizon Ag-Products Agri-Plus 40 lb broadcast pre-plant
    Quantum-H 1 gal in seed furrow
    Quantum-H 1 gal 1st sidedress
    Quantum-H 1 gal 2nd sidedress
5 RSA Microtech RSA Humic acid 1 gal in seed furrow
    RSA Humic acid 1 gal 1st sidedress
6 Dynamite Marketing Humi-Zyme RX 100 gal broadcast pre-plant
7 Agri-Gro  Agrigro 1 pint 10-in band over row pre-plant
    Agrigro 1 pint in seed furrow
    Agrigro 1 pint 1st sidedress
    Agrigro 1 pint 2nd sidedress
    Agrigro 1 pint foliar 3 times
8 Agri-Gro  Agrigro 1 pint 10-in band over row pre-plant
    Agri-Calcium 2.5 gal  
    Agrigro 1 pint in seed furrow
    Agrigro 1 pint 1st sidedress
    Agri-Calcium 2 gal  
    Agrigro 1 pint 2nd sidedress
    Agri-Calcium 2 gal  
    Agrigro 1 pint foliar 3 times
9 Huma Grow Pop-up mix 3 gal in seed furrow
    Blend 1 qt 1st sidedress
    Superphos 2 qt  
    Blend 1 qt 2nd sidedress
    Superphos 2 qt  
    Sulfur 8 oz 2nd foliar
    Copper 6 oz  
    Calcium 12 oz  
    Vitol 1 qt 1st and 2nd foliar 
10 UAP Northwest Awaken 2 quarts in seed furrow
11 Kozgro Kozgro 20 oz broadcast pre-plant
    Kozgro 17 oz 1st and 2nd foliar 
12 Check      
    Marketable yield by grade   Non-marketable yield
Treatment Total yield Total >4 in. 3-4 in. 2¼-3 in.   Total rot Neck rot Plate rot Black mold No. 2s Small
  ------------------- cwt/acre -------------------   ------ % of total yield ------ -- cwt/acre --
1- Ag Concepts 1 1,148.8 1,086.2 436.1 642.4 7.7   2.0 0.2 1.8 0.0 36.1 3.0
2- Ag Concepts 2 1,131.1 1,092.5 316.0 759.6 16.9   1.3 0.1 1.0 0.1 20.7 3.8
3- Ag Concepts 3 1,177.6 1,107.9 376.7 709.2 21.9   2.6 0.6 1.6 0.3 35.6 4.0
4- Horizon Ag-Prods. 1,154.4 1,091.3 372.1 707.7 11.5   2.3 0.2 1.9 0.2 35.7 1.7
5- RSA Microtech 1,165.3 1,095.8 379.6 705.0 11.1   2.5 0.9 1.4 0.2 38.8 1.4
6- Humi-Zyme-RX 957.3 905.5 173.1 695.5 36.9   1.6 0.6 1.0 0.0 34.4 2.6
7- Agri-Gro 1 1,226.6 1,174.4 400.6 763.2 10.7   1.8 0.4 1.4 0.0 28.3 1.2
8- Agri-Gro 2 1,106.4 1,032.4 369.0 656.1 7.3   2.0 0.0 1.8 0.1 50.5 1.4
9- Huma Grow 1,181.2 1,108.1 396.8 704.7 6.6   2.2 0.8 1.1 0.3 47.2 0.4
10- Awaken 1,124.9 1,076.9 385.7 680.0 11.3   1.9 1.0 0.8 0.1 24.5 1.5
11- Kozgro 1,132.4 1,068.9 320.9 730.3 17.7   1.9 0.5 1.1 0.2 40.1 2.1
12- Check 1,155.6 1,093.8 364.5 707.8 21.5   1.9 0.2 1.6 0.0 36.9 3.0
Mean 1,138.5 1,077.8 357.6 705.1 15.1   2.0 0.5 1.4 0.1 35.7 2.2
LSD (0.05) 106.8 108.2 83 NS NS   NS NS NS NS NS NS
Treatment  Plant population Plant height July 30 Maturity Aug. 27 Production cost Gross returns Profit
  plants/acre in % ---------------- $/acre ----------------
1- Ag Concepts 1 131,340 31.7 43.3 3,832.0 8,600.0 4,768.0
2- Ag Concepts 2 132,660 31.9 46.7 3,815.0 8,277.0 4,462.0
3- Ag Concepts 3 137,280 31.8 47.5 3,874.0 8,539.0 4,665.0
4- Horizon Ag-Prods. 130,020 31.9 46.7 3,844.0 8,443.0 4,599.0
5- RSA Microtech 123,420 31.3 45.0 3,835.0 8,495.0 4,660.0
6- Humi-Zyme-RX 138,600 29.9 42.5 3,615.0 6,546.0 2,931.0
7- Agri-Gro 1 127,380 30.8 44.2 3,968.0 9,090.0 5,122.0
8- Agri-Gro 2 132,660 31.8 40.0 3,821.0 8,045.0 4,224.0
9- Huma Grow 135,960 31.8 43.3 3,906.0 8,640.0 4,734.0
10- Awaken 136,620 32.3 45.0 3,775.0 8,384.0 4,608.0
11- Kozgro 137,940 31.4 41.7 3,789.0 8,128.0 4,339.0
12- Check 145,200 32.0 45.8 3,812.0 8,410.0 4,598.0
Mean 134,090 31.6 44.3 3,823.8 8,299.8 4,475.8
LSD (0.05) NS 1.2 NS 160 847 702