Changes in Pickling Cucumber Yield and Economic Value in Response to Planting Density
- Mathieu Ngouajio *a,
- Guangyao Wangb and
- Mary K. Hausbeckc
- a Michigan State Univ., Dep. Horticulture, 428 Plant and Soil Sciences Building, East Lansing, MI 48824
b Michigan State Univ., Dep. Horticulture, 432 Plant and Soil Sciences Building, East Lansing, MI 48824
c Michigan State Univ., Dep. Plant Pathol., 140 Plant Biology Building, East Lansing, MI 48824
Studies on density-dependent variations in yield and economic value of crops could help identify optimum plant density. Field experiments were conducted in 2003 and 2004 using a wide range of densities (from 88 000 to 330 000 plants ha−1) of pickling cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) grown for once-over machine harvest. Fruit set was identified as a major yield-limiting factor at low densities. When plant density decreased by 73%, fruit number only increased by 50% within the range of densities used. Total marketable yield increased with density. However, the highest yield observed at the highest density did not translate into the highest economic value. This was mainly due to the added cost of the seed under high densities. Optimum density required to maximize economic value, was between 220 000 and 245 000 plants ha−1 and depended on the selling price of the fruits. Our results support the hypothesis that the density of 330 000 plants ha−1 currently used by many growers could be significantly reduced without losses in economic value of the crop. Finally we propose that seed cost be included in studies designed to identify optimum planting density of crops.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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