Effects of Surface and Subsurface Drip Irrigation on the Yield, Vegetative Growth and Water Productivity of Onions

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The objective of this study, conducted in the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina, was to analyze the effect of surface and subsurface drip irrigation (with drip lateral placement depths of 0.05 and 0.1 m) on the yield and water productivity of onions (Allium cepa L., var. ‘Holandski žuti’). The irrigation applied was scheduled on the basis of the water balance method. The daily evapotranspiration rate was computed using the reference evapotranspiration (ETo) based on the Hargreaves equation and the crop coefficient (kc). The irrigation rate was 30 mm, whereas the amount of water added by irrigation during the season was 150 mm. According to the results obtained, the onion yield under irrigated conditions was significantly higher than that under non-irrigated (control) conditions. Differences in the yield obtained using surface and subsurface irrigation were non-significant. The amounts of water used for evapotranspiration under irrigated and non-irrigated conditions were 363 mm and 220 mm, respectively. The value of the surface irrigation yield response factor (Ky) was 0.62, whereas the values of the subsurface irrigation yield response factor (Ky) were 0.61 (0.05 m) and 0.79 (0.1 m). Consequently, onions grown from sets proved moderately sensitive to water stress under regional climate conditions and could be grown without irrigation. The value of the irrigation water use efficiency (Iwue) ranged from 3.55 to 4.97 kg m−3, whereas the value of the evapotranspiration water use efficiency (ETwue) ranged from 3.72 to 5.22 kg m−3. The highest yield of onions was obtained using a drip lateral placement depth of 0.1 m, which is recommended for high-yielding onion production.

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