|Authors: ||A. Battilani, C.R. Jensen, F. Liu, F. Plauborg, M.N. Andersen, D. Solimando|
|Keywords: ||deficit irrigation, water use efficiency, Solanum tuberosum |
A field experiment was carried out in Northern Italy, within the frame of the EU project SAFIR, to test the feasibility of partial root-zone drying (PRD) irrigation management in potatoes and to compare the PRD irrigation strategy with regulated deficit irrigation (RDI). PRD increased total and first class tuber yield by 4.7% compared to RDI. Tuber weight was significantly (P<0.05) higher in the average as compared with RDI (+14.9 g). In dry years, PRD produced significantly more starch and less reducing sugars than RDI, but this did not occur in the rainy year.
Water and Nitrogen Use Efficiency (WUE, NUE) were similar between irrigation treatments.
The income for each cubic meter of water or kg of nitrogen was highly variable and not statistically different between PRD and RDI. Crop gross margin per hectare shows a tendency to increase with PRD (average +256 euro ha-1), although not steadily and not sufficiently to overcome the higher irrigation system and management costs.
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