Yield and Water Productivity of Drip-Irrigated Potato under Different Nitrogen Levels and Irrigation Regime with Saline Water in Arid Tunisia


Field studies were conducted on a sandy soil during autumn of 2010 and 2011 in an arid region of Tunisia to investigate the effects of nitrogen and irrigation regimes with saline water on yield and water productivity (WP) of potato (Solanum tuberosum L. cv. Spunta) and soil salinity. For the two years, irrigation treatments consisted in water replacements of cumulated crop evapotranspiration (ETc) at levels of 100% (I100, full irrigation), 60% (I60) and 30% (I30), when the readily available water in I100 treatment was depleted, while the nitrogen treatments (N) were 0, 100, 200, and 300 kg/ha (No, N100, N200, and N300). Results showed that soil salinity values remained lower than those of electrical conductivity of irrigation water (ECiw) and were the lowest under treatment I100 and the highest with I30 treatment. Relatively low ECe values were also observed under I60 treatment. The highest potato yields for the two years were obtained with I100 treatment. Compared to I100, significant reductions in potato yields were observed under I60 and I30 deficit irrigation treatments resulting from a reduction in tubers number/m2 and tuber weight. The water productivity (WP) was found to significantly vary among treatments, where the highest and the lowest values were observed for I30 and I100 treatments, respectively. Potato yield and WP increased with an increase in nitrogen rates. The rate of 300 kg N/ha was seen to give good yield and higher WP of potato under full (I100) and deficit (I60) irrigation treatments. However, application of N adversely affected potato yield and WP, when N level applied above 200 kg N/ha at I30. The WP was improved by N supply, but its effect decreased as the irrigation level increased. The IWP at I100, which produced the highest potato yield, was 8.5 and 9.9 kg/m3 with N300 but this increased to 11.9 and 15.6 kg/m3 at I30 with N200, in 2010 and 2011, respectively. These results suggested that potato in arid region could be cultivated with acceptable yields while saving irrigation water and reducing nitrogen supply but it was essential to exploit the interaction effect between these two parameters to maximize resource use efficiency.

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Mokh, F. , Nagaz, K. , Masmoudi, M. and Mechlia, N. (2015) Yield and Water Productivity of Drip-Irrigated Potato under Different Nitrogen Levels and Irrigation Regime with Saline Water in Arid Tunisia. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 6, 501-510. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2015.64054.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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