For the organic farmer: Cattle manure is best for crop growth
10/09/2018 // Ellaine Castillo // Views

A study, published in Horticultural Science, compared the effects of different organic treatments on the growth of the Chinese cabbage (Brassica campestris L. var. pekinensis Lour [Olson]). They considered treatments such as the type of organic fertilizer, location, and the cabbage hybrid used. Growth was estimated using the following parameters: yield, plant height, and cabbage head length, diameter, weight, and the number of leaves.

The Chinese cabbage is a crop that was initially found in Asian countries but has found its way to countries all over the world. It is a cruciferous vegetable known for its delicious taste and its many health benefits. Unfortunately, cabbages have the tendency to bolt.

Bolting is a defense mechanism wherein the plant, due to factors such as lack of nutrients or water, starts to produce flowers and seeds before it can be harvested. To prevent a plant from bolting, it is crucial to optimize farming conditions such as the type of fertilizer and and plant variety. This study focused on determining what these optimum conditions are for the Chinese cabbage, when doing organic farming.

The researchers designed a polyfactorial experiment, following a randomized complete block design, with four replications each. They considered treatments like horse or cattle manure as fertilizers, protected or open field locations, and different cabbage hybrids, namely Golden Wa-Wa, Vitimo, and Hybrid Super. A total of 18 treatments that combined these factors were used.

Based on the results of the study, both cattle and horse manure were able to significantly improve the yield and quality of Chinese cabbage heads. Aside from this, it was also determined that horse manure, although not commonly used as vegetable fertilizer, provides a lot of benefits for the plant.


Comparison between plants in protected locations versus those in the open field showed that a protected culture promotes better quality and yield.

“Protected culture of Chinese cabbage comes with higher costs but it is worth investments because of the higher yield of better quality and higher selling price,” the researchers said.

Lastly, results also showed that different hybrids had their own strengths and weaknesses and should therefore be chosen based on what is prioritized. High yield was observed for Vitimo but the harvested crops could not be stored for long periods of time. On the other hand, Golden Wa-Wa produced lower yield but it could be harvested in a shorter period of time. Among the three, Hybrid Super appeared to be the best since it produced high yield and it didn't bolt as fast as the others. The only downside for Hybrid Super is that it prefers a protected culture.

Overall, it can be observed that all factors can significantly affect the growth, quality, and yield of Chinese cabbage. These results also show that organic farming is suitable for Chinese cabbages and can even be better for their growth than conventional methods. (Related: Study: Organic farming outperforms conventional in yields, economic viability, conservation, and health.)

Health benefits of Chinese cabbage

Many people are discovering the wonders of the Chinese cabbage. It's not only delicious, it also provides many health benefits, including:

  • Weight loss – The Chinese cabbage contains high levels of nutrients but low calories. This makes it perfect for those who have been wanting to lose some weight.
  • Enhanced immune system – Many vitamins are packed in the Chinese cabbage. These are used by the body to give the immune system the boost that it needs.
  • Better eyesight – Vitamin A is abundant in Chinese cabbages. This specific vitamin can prevent cataracts, macular degeneration, and blindness.

Learn more about organic farming by visiting today.

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