Tarquis Alfonso, Ana Maria and Castellanos Serrano, Maria Teresa and Cartagena Causape, Maria Carmen and Ribas Elcorobarrutia, Francisco and Cabello Cabello, María Jesús and Arce Martinez, Augusto
Impact of nitrogen uptake on field water balance in fertirrigated melon..
"Agricultural Water Management", v. 120
Agronomic management in Ciudad Real, a province in central Spain, is characteristic of semi-arid cropped areas whose water supplies have high nitrate (NO3?) content due to environmental degradation. This situation is aggravated by the existence of a restrictive subsurface layer of ?caliche? or hardpan at a depth of 0.60 m. Under these circumstances, fertirrigation rates, including nitrogen (N) fertilizer schedules, must be carefully calibrated to optimize melon yields while minimizing the N pollution and water supply. Such optimization was sought by fertilizing with different doses of N and irrigating at 100% of the ETc (crop evapotranspiration), adjusted for this crop and area. The N content in the four fertilizer doses used was: 0, 55, 82 and 109 kg N ha?1. Due to the NO3? content in the irrigation water, however, the actual N content was 30 kg ha?1 higher in all four treatments repeated in two different years. The results showed correlation between melon plant N uptake and drainage (Dr), which in turn affects the amount of N leached, as well as correlation between Dr and LAI (leaf area index) for each treatment. A fertilizer factor (?) was estimated through two methods, from difference in Dr and in LAI ratio with respect to the maximum N dose, to correct ETc based on N doses. The difference was found in the adjusted evapotranspiration in both years using the corresponding ? achieved 42?49 mm at vegetative period, depending on the method, and it was not significant at senescent period. Finally, a growth curve between N uptake and plant dry weight (DW) for each treatment was defined to confirm that the observed higher plant vigour, showing higher LAI and reduced Dr, was due mainly to higher N doses.