The “Best Management” of Water and Nutrients in Vegetable Production

Efficiency has long been prized in vegetable production. Achieving more with less remains a guiding operational principle on most farms. And, developing tools and techniques to achieve greater levels of efficiency remains a leading goal of most research, extension and industry teams.
Soil, water, and nutrients are foundational resources in crop production but abundant, high quality supplies of each will be needed throughout society and business for the long term. So, how do we employ these resources most effectively in commercial crop production, particularly in ‘environmentally sensitive’ areas where linkages between on- and off-farm condition can be obvious? The team of Simonne and others takes three steps toward addressing this question that are well worth noting.
First, they outline four operational principles for developing and applying efficiency-enhancing tools. For example, they suggest switching the focus from reducing nutrient inputs to simultaneously improving water and nutrient management.
Second, they describe eight strategies for keeping water and nutrients in the root zone. The use of grafted vegetable plants, given their potential to take up and/or use nutrients more efficiently, is one of the strategies listed.
And, third, they provide glimpses into Best Management Practice research and related knowledge among university personnel.