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Farm-Scale Processing Tomato Production using Surface and Subsurface Drip Irrigation and Fertigation

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Paper number  032092,  2003 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.13775) @2003
Authors:   C. S. Tan, T. Q. Zhang, W. D. Reynolds, C. F. Drury, A. Liptay
Keywords:   Drip irrigation, fertigation, water use efficiency, nutrient use efficiency

Processing tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.; cultivar, Heinz 9478) were grown on two commercial fields: one comprising about 16 acres on the loamy sand and the other comprising about 5 acres on the clay loam soil. The objectives of this study were to determine the effects of surface and subsurface drip irrigation and fertigation on yield, quality, and water and nutrient use efficiency of processing tomatoes on commercial scale. The treatments included non-irrigated control plots with broadcast fertilizer and surface and sub-surface drip irrigated plots, both with broadcast fertilizer and fertigation (ie. fertilizer applied via drip lines). Surface and sub-surface drip and/or fertigated plots had consistently higher available soil moisture than non-irrigated plots throughout the entire 2002 growing season on both loamy and clay loam soils. Both the leaf petiole sap NO3 -N and K concentrations were within sufficiency values during the month before harvest on both soils. On the loamy sand soil, marketable tomato yields were increased by 52.3 % and 60.4 % under surface drip or fertigated (SDI) and sub-surface drip or fertigated (SSDI) plots relative to the non-irrigated control (NI). Marketable tomato yields under SSDI plots on the loamy sand were increased only by 5.3 % relative to SDI plots. There was no significant difference in marketable tomato yields between broadcast fertilizer and fertigation for both SSDI and SDI on the loamy sand. On the clay loam soil, marketable tomato yields were increased by 86.7 % under SDI plots relative to NI plots, while tomato yields under SSDI plots were increased by 44.2 % relative to NI plots. Marketable tomato yields on the clay loam under SDI plots were increased by 29.5 % relative to SSDI plots. The soluble solids of tomato were higher in the non-irrigated plots than in the drip irrigated and/or fertigated plots for both soils. There were no significant differences on soluble solids among surface and sub-surface drip irrigated tomatoes with either broadcast fertilizer or fertigation. Drip irrigation and/or fertigation increased the water use efficiency of tomato by 32 % and 52 % relative to nonirrigation on the loamy sand and clay loam soils, respectively.

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