Yield performance and agronomic efficiency in oil pumpkins (Cucurbita pepo L. group Pepo) depending on production systems and varieties

Abstract

In 2013 and 2014, a long-term trial (which was established in 2007) was conducted at the University Agricultural Centre in Pivola near Hoče. It included different production systems (conventional, integrated, organic, biodynamic), carried out in a field trial with oil pumpkins. The aim of the research was to analyse the effects of different production systems, varieties (hybrid and population variety) and years of production, on formation of oil pumpkin yields. The agricultural practice has been carried out in accordance with the applicable legislations and standards for the individual production system. When sowing, before fertilizing with nitrogen in early June and after the harvest, the amount of soil mineral nitrogen was monitored. We evaluated the number and weight of harvestable, unripe and decayed fruits, and yield of oil seed pumpkins and calculated the agronomic efficiency of the applied nutrients. The results showed that the year of production, the production system and the variety have a significant effect on some fruit characteristics and the yield of oil pumpkin seeds. The content of soil mineral nitrogen in May and September was significantly influenced by the production system and the year. In June, only the production system had a significant effect. The hybrid significantly increased the yields of oil pumpkin seeds in all production systems, even in the year that was less suitable for production. The agronomic efficiency of the applied nutrients in the biodynamic and organic production system is higher or equal than in the conventional production system, similarly, agronomic efficiency is higher in the hybrid compared to the oldest population variety efficiently. A comparable oil pumpkin yield can be expected in biodynamic and organic production, when proper nutrition and well carried out cultivation practices are combined with a new variety, when compared to less sustainable production systems, which often cause damage to the environment.

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