Effect of drip irrigation and mulching on yield, water-use efficiency and economics of tomato
This study investigated the combined effects of drip irrigation and mulches on yield, water-use efficiency and economic return of tomato. The treatments of the study comprised different combinations of three drip irrigation levels (100, 75 and 50% of crop water requirement, ETc) and two mulches (black polyethylene sheet and paddy straw). The yield and yield-contributing characters in the mulched treatments for all levels of irrigation were significantly higher compared to those in the unmulched treatments. The yield of tomato increased with the increasing amount of irrigation water in unmulched treatment. The trend was reversed when drip irrigation was coupled with mulches. The highest yield for each mulch (81.12 t/ha for polyethylene and 79.49 t/ha for straw) was obtained when 50% of water requirement was applied. With 100% water application, polyethylene-mulched treatment produced lower yield than the straw-mulched treatment. The highest water use efficiency of 592 kg/ha/mm was obtained with 50% water application under polyethylene mulch. The highest net return (US$ 7098/ha), incremental net return (US$ 1556/ha), and incremental benefit-cost ratio (7.03) were found for 50% water application with straw mulch. The study thus reveals that drip irrigation with mulch has an explicit role in increasing the land and water productivity of tomato.
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