Effects of Deficit Irrigation on Yield and Quality of Onion Crop

David K. Rop, Emmanuel C. Kipkorir, John K. Taragon

Abstract


The broad objective of this study was to test Deficit Irrigation (DI) as an appropriate irrigation management strategy to improve crop water productivity and give optimum onion crop yield. A field trial was conducted with drip irrigation system of six irrigation treatments replicated three times in a randomized complete block design. The crop was subjected to six water stress levels 100% ETc (T100), 90% ETc (T90), 80% ETc (T80), 70% ETc (T70), 60% ETc (T60) and 50% ETc (T50) at vegetative and late season growth stages. The onion yield and quality based on physical characteristics and irrigation water use efficiency were determined. The results indicated that the variation in yield ranged from 34.4 ton/ha to 18.9 ton/ha and the bulb size ranged from 64 mm to 35 mm in diameter for T100 and T50 respectively. Irrigation water use efficiency values decreased with increasing water application level with the highest of 16.2 kg/ha/mm at T50, and the lowest being13.1 kg/ha/mm at T100. It was concluded that DI at vegetative and late growth stages influence yields in a positive linear trend with increasing quantity of irrigation water and decreasing water stress reaching optimum yield of 32.0 ton/ha at 20% water stress (T80) thereby saving 10.7% irrigation water. Onion bulb production at this level optimizes water productivity without significantly affecting yields. DI influenced the size and size distribution of fresh onion bulbs, with low size variation of the fresh bulbs at T80.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/jas.v8n3p112

Journal of Agricultural Science ISSN 1916-9752 (Print) ISSN 1916-9760 (Online)

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