Evidence from recent research in China shows that precise use of fertilizer makes a significant difference to yield in production of wax gourds, and results in better returns for farmers.
The Vegetable Research Institute of the Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Guangzhou carried out the research. The aim was to compare a variety of fertilizer strategies for wax gourds.
Also known in China as winter melon, wax gourd is an important crop economically. It is a fast-growing, long-season vine grown for its very large fruit, eaten as a vegetable when mature. The plant produces fruits on vines on the ground, which can grow to more than 20 kilos in weight.
Production of quality gourds can be limited by a number of factors including not enough irrigation, but inadequate crop nutrition is a serious problem. In the research to develop best practice for farmers to follow, the Research Institute trials compared a variety of farmers’ practices with improved practices: three crop nutrition treatments used variants of farmers’ practice of just NPK applications, and another three treatments combined early use of NPK with topdressing with NPK plus Polysulphate from ICL Fertilizers.
Analysis of the effects of the different treatments revealed that the wax gourd crop benefited from topdressing with Polysulphate. These plots produced larger and heavier fruits with improved keeping quality. Yield was up by as much as 36% with Polysulphate compared with wax gourd vines only given NPK.
Investing in targeted nutrition for crops can require additional investment. However, the evidence from this research in China shows that the net income to wax gourd farmers who used Polysulphate increased by more than 37% after expenditure.