IMPACT OF VARIABLE RATE SPLIT FERTILIZATION ON CROP PRODUCTION AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION IN WILD BLUEBERRY
The heavy rainfall, gentle to severe topography with high proportion of bare spots, and weed patches emphasize the need of variable rate split (VRS) fertilization in wild blueberry. Two commercial fields were selected in central Nova Scotia to evaluate the impact of VRS fertilization on ammonia volatilization, subsurface water quality, and crop productivity. Management zones were delineated based on slope variability, and different fertilizer rates were applied using global positioning system (GPS) guided prescription map. Ammonia huts were used to quantify the ammonia volatilization losses, while the lysimeters were installed in the fields to evaluate the impact of different fertilizer treatments on subsurface water quality. The VRS treatment significantly decreased the ammonia volatilization losses and nutrients leaching losses as compared to uniform treatment. Based on the results of this study, it can be concluded that VRS fertilization in wild blueberry fields could reduce environmental contamination and improve crop productivity.