A Detailed Study on the Effects of Regulated Deficit Irrigation on the Growth and Yield of Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) Grown in the Malkerns Area, a Region in the Kingdom of Eswatini (Southern Africa)

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A Detailed Study on the Effects of Regulated Deficit Irrigation on the Growth and Yield of Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) Grown in the Malkerns Area, a Region in the Kingdom of Eswatini (Southern Africa)

March 29, 2021 Agricultural Sciences 0

In many parts of the world, including Eswatini, water is rapidly becoming an economically scarce resource, especially in arid and semi-arid regions. Deficit irrigation (DI) is a widely used technique for optimising and/or increasing water usage while lowering costs by allowing crops to withstand mild water stress with no or minor yield and quality trait reductions. A field plot experiment at the University of Eswatini’s Faculty of Agriculture’s Luyengo Campus was used to test the response of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) to deficit irrigation. A randomised block template was used to lay out the treatments. There were four treatments in all, each of which was repeated three times. Treatment 1 (T1) received daily irrigation, treatment 2 (T2) received irrigation after two days, treatment 3 (T3) received irrigation after three days, and treatment 4 (T4) received irrigation after four days. In each procedure, a total of 30 lettuce plants were planted. The lettuce was cultivated for four weeks before being harvested in its entirety. The number of leaves, plant height (cm), leaf area index (LAI), and fresh and dry head mass were all calculated as yield parameters (grams). Fresh and dry lettuce head mass showed significant differences (P 0.01) between treatments T3 and T4. Treatment T3 had the highest water usage efficiency and crop water productivity. Under the conditions of the experiment, it was determined that irrigating lettuce every three days was the best choice for the region. Irrigating every four or more days, on the other hand, will result in slightly lower yields than predicted, potentially resulting in a loss to the farmer.

Author (s) Details

Dr. M. V. Dlamini
Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Eswatini, Private Bag, Luyengo, Eswatini.

S. Zwane
Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Eswatini, Private Bag, Luyengo, Eswatini.

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