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Title: Effect of Deficit Irrigation and Fertilization on Cucumber

item Hatfield, Jerry

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/2/2009
Publication Date: 11/15/2009
Citation: Amer, K.H., Midan, S.A., Hatfield, J.L. 2009. Effect of Deficit Irrigation and Fertilization on Cucumber. Agronomy Journal. 101:1556-1564.

Interpretive Summary: Irrigation water is essential for crop production in arid regions to achieve even minimal crop yields. Management of irrigation water to achieve maximum crop yield in combination with nitrogen management offers potential to help producers optimize both their water and nutrient use efficiency. A study was conducted on cucumber growth and yield in Egypt under arid conditions to evaluate the effect of different irrigation regimes and nitrogen sources under trickle irrigation. This study was conducted for two years in 2006 and 2007 to evaluate the potential interactions of irrigation and nitrogen amounts on cucumbers. In this study irrigation water was applied using trickle irrigation systems at rates that completely refilled the soil profile, refilled the soil profile to 85% of capacity, and to 65% of capacity. These irrigation treatments were combined with seven different nitrogen rates that were applied with a combination of commercial fertilizer as ammonia nitrate with either farmyard, chicken, or rabbit manure. There was an effect of the source of manure for all irrigation regimes on the yield, amount of growth, and number of male/female flowers. The maximum yield occurred when the irrigation water completely refilled the soil profile and when chicken manure was applied in combination with commercial fertilizer. These results help provide guidance for producers in arid regions to maximize their production of cucumbers and these results should be applicable to other vegetable crops in arid environments.

Technical Abstract: Soil water budgets are essential in determining when to irrigate and the amount of water to apply. Hence, water supply can be optimized to crop use to increase water savings. Organic fertilizers can be substituted for commercial fertilizers; however, there is little information on the interaction of irrigation management and nutrient source on cucumber production. This study was designed to evaluate the effect of nutrient source and irrigation management on growth and yield of cucumber (Cucumis sativus) grown in the arid area of Egypt. A field experiment was conducted using cucumber grown in northern Egypt at Shibin El-Kom in 2006 and 2007 summer planting seasons to evaluate water use and fertilizer rate and type. To achieve this objective, three irrigation deficits and seven fertilization types were arranged as a randomized complete block design with irrigation rates as blocks and fertilizer treatments randomized within irrigation rates. Irrigation treatments were a ratio from crop evapotranspiration (ET) as: 1.0ET, 0.84ET and 0.64ET using trickle system. Fertilizer treatments were recommended rate of nitrogen (N) as a commercial fertilizer or in combination with organic manure as follows: T1 (160 kg/ha N), T2 (80 kg/ha N with 17 Mg/ha farmyard manure), T3 (160 kg/ha N with 17 Mg/ha farmyard manure), T4 (80 kg/ha N with 7 Mg/ha rabbit manure), T5 (160 kg/ha N with 7 Mg/ha rabbit manure), T6 (80 kg/ha N with 7 Mg/ha chicken manure), and T7 (160 kg/ha N with 7 Mg/ha chicken manure). Additions of P and K varied among treatments because of the variable amounts of manure added but the rates were sufficient to be non-limiting for cucumber production. Chlorophyll a and b, leaf area index, and yield for cucumber were greatest when adequate water and high N were used (1.0ET with chicken manure at 7 Mg/ha). The lowest ratios of male to female flowers occurred for 1.0ET plus T7 treatment. Seasonal water use was 498 and 471 mm for 1.0ET in 2006 and 2007 plantings over the 125 day growing season, respectively. Crop coefficients were developed in four stages and seasonally averaged as 0.83. The yield reduction coefficient averaged as 0.7745 by irrigation deficit. An optimal scheduling was statistically developed based on crop response in deficit irrigation to achieve maximum yield for different uniformity CV values for the trickle irrigation system. The optimal scheduling parameter a was determined to be -1.725 from which the amount of water could be determined in known intervals. Cucumber performance was significantly affected by both irrigation and nutrient deficiencies. Optimal vegetative growth and management was achieved using 1.0ET with 80 kg/ha commercial fertilizer combined with 7 MG/ha of chicken manure for a total N of 234 kg/ha.