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Farm-scale processing tomato production using surface and subsurface drip irrigation and fertigation.

Tan, C.S., Zhang, T.Q., Reynolds, W.D., and Warner, J.T. (2009). "Farm-scale processing tomato production using surface and subsurface drip irrigation and fertigation.", Acta Horticulturae (ISHS), 823, pp. 77-81.

Abstract

Processing tomato (Heinz 9478) was grown on two commercial fields: one on a light soil (i.e. loamy sand) and the other on a heavy soil (i.e. clay loam). The objective of this study was to determine the effects of surface and subsurface drip irrigation and fertigation on yield, quality, and water-nutrient use efficiency of processing tomato grown at the commercial field scale. The treatments included: i) non-irrigated control plots with broadcast fertilizer; ii) surface drip irrigated plots with broadcast fertilizer; iii) surface drip irrigated plots with fertigation; iv) subsurface drip irrigated plots with broadcast fertilizer; and v) sub-surface drip irrigated plots with fertigation. On the light soil, average marketable tomato yields over a 3-year period were increased by 35 to 37% under the surface drip-broadcast fertilizer and surface- fertigated treatments relative to the non-irrigated control treatments, while average marketable tomato yields under subsurface -fertigated and subsurface-broadcast treatments were increased by 43 to 47% relative to non- irrigated treatments. There was no significant difference in average marketable tomato yields among drip or fertigated treatments. On the heavy soil, average marketable tomato yields over a 3-year period were increased by 26 to 35% under surface drip- fertigated and surface-broadcast treatments relative to non-irrigated treatments, while tomato yields under subsurface- fertigated and subsurface- broadcast treatments were increased by 14 to 25% relative to non-irrigated treatments. The soluble solids of tomato were higher in the non-irrigated than in the drip irrigated and/or fertigated plots, especially under the light soil. The reduction on tomato soluble solids relative to non-irrigated treatments due to drip or fertigation was also much larger for the light soil than for the heavy soil. There was no significant difference on tomato soluble solids among drip or fertigated treatments for both soil types. Drip irrigated and/or fertigated tomatoes increased water use efficiency by 25 and 17% relative to non-irrigated tomatoes for the light and the heavy soils, respectively. Drip and fertigation increased P and N use efficiency for both soil types.

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