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Sustainable Saffron Production as Influenced by Integrated Nitrogen Management in Typic Hapludalfs of NW Himalayas

Kirmani, Nayar Afaq, Sofi, Javid Ahmad, Bhat, Mohammad Auyoub, Ansar-Ul-Haq, S.
Communications in soil science and plant analysis 2014 v.45 no.5 pp. 653-668
Azotobacter, Hapludalfs, animal manures, arid lands, biofertilizers, corms, crop yield, field experimentation, mineral fertilizers, nitrogen, nutrient content, saffron, soil quality, India
The effects of integrated nitrogen management (INM) on saffron yield, corm production, nutrient concentration, crocin content, and soil health were studied in field experiments at the Dryland (Karewa) Agriculture Research Station, Budgam District of Kashmir Himalayas, India, during 2006–2010. The levels of fertilizers applied were 0, 45, and 90 kg ha ⁻¹ of nitrogen; 0, 30, and 60 t ha ⁻¹ of farm yard manure (FYM), and 0 and 5 kg ha ⁻¹ of Azotobacter in solid form. The greatest yields of 3.64 and 3.51 kg ha ⁻¹ were observed when nitrogen was applied at 90 kg ha ⁻¹ and FYM was applied at 60 t ha ⁻¹. The increases over the controls (2.31 and 2.45 kg ha ⁻¹) were 57.57% and 43.26%, respectively. The maximum corm productions (10.26 and 13.10 t ha ⁻¹) were observed with the application of nitrogen at 90 kg ha ⁻¹ and FYM at 60 t ha ⁻¹ respectively, with the corresponding increases of 79.62% and 260.97% over their respective controls. Biofertilizer application in the form of viable strain of Azotobacter significantly increased the corm production only. The influence of INM on nutrient and crocin content of saffron and soil health was also found to be sustainable over nonapplication of organic and inorganic fertilizers.