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      Effects of nettle slurry ( Urtica dioica L.) used as foliar fertilizer on potato ( Solanum tuberosum L.) yield and plant growth

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          Abstract

          Organic agriculture is becoming increasingly important, and many natural products are now available for organic farmers to manage and improve their crops. Several ethnobotanical studies have indicated that the use of nettle slurry as fertilizer in organic farming for horticultural crops is spreading. Sometimes, however, the consequences of using these natural products have been poorly evaluated, and there is very little scientific evidence for the effects of using these slurries. In this study, we aimed to analyze the possible effect of nettle slurry on potato yields produced by organic farming. To achieve this main objective, we assessed the effect of nettle slurry on potato yields, plant size and growth parameters, chlorophyll content, and the presence of pests and diseases. Different slurry doses were assessed in 36 plots and nine variables were measured during the crop cycle. Under these field experimental conditions, nettle slurry (including one treatment with Urtica in combination with Equisetum) had no significant effects on yield, chlorophyll content, or the presence of pests and diseases in organic potato crops. The highest chlorophyll content was found in the double dose treatment, but the difference was not significant. This result, together with a small improvement in plant height with the double dose treatment, might indicate very slight crop enhancement which, under our experimental conditions, was not enough to improve yield. The Urtica and Equisetum slurry chemical analyses showed very low levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

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          Most cited references 33

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          The Split-Apply-Combine Strategy for Data Analysis

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            Organic agriculture in the twenty-first century.

            Organic agriculture has a history of being contentious and is considered by some as an inefficient approach to food production. Yet organic foods and beverages are a rapidly growing market segment in the global food industry. Here, we examine the performance of organic farming in light of four key sustainability metrics: productivity, environmental impact, economic viability and social wellbeing. Organic farming systems produce lower yields compared with conventional agriculture. However, they are more profitable and environmentally friendly, and deliver equally or more nutritious foods that contain less (or no) pesticide residues, compared with conventional farming. Moreover, initial evidence indicates that organic agricultural systems deliver greater ecosystem services and social benefits. Although organic agriculture has an untapped role to play when it comes to the establishment of sustainable farming systems, no single approach will safely feed the planet. Rather, a blend of organic and other innovative farming systems is needed. Significant barriers exist to adopting these systems, however, and a diversity of policy instruments will be required to facilitate their development and implementation.
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              Plotrix: a package in the red light district of R.

               J. LeMon,  J LEMON,  J. Lemon (2006)
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                PeerJ
                PeerJ
                PeerJ
                PeerJ
                PeerJ
                PeerJ Inc. (San Francisco, USA )
                2167-8359
                7 May 2018
                2018
                : 6
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Instituto Agroforestal Mediterráneo, Universitat Politècnica de València , Valencia, Spain
                [2 ] Instituto Universitario de Conservación y Mejora de la Agrodiversidad Valenciana , Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, Spain
                [3 ] Departamento de Ecosistemas Agroforestales, Universitat Politècnica de València , València, Spain
                Article
                4729
                10.7717/peerj.4729
                5944444
                © 2018 Garmendia et al.

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.

                Funding
                The authors received no funding for this work.
                Categories
                Agricultural Science
                Plant Science
                Natural Resource Management
                Green Chemistry

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