Effects of three irrigation systems on ‘Piel de sapo’ melon yield and quality under salinity conditions
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Cita bibliográficaVisconti, F., Salvador, A., Navarro, P., & de Paz, J. M. (2019). Effects of three irrigation systems on ‘Piel de sapo’ melon yield and quality under salinity conditions. Agricultural Water Management, 226, 105829.
The melon crop is moderately sensitive to soil salinity and, as a consequence, its yield decreases under saline conditions. Nevertheless, the exposure to moderate salinity also influences the melon quality by improving it, which offers compensation to the farmer. As a consequence, in moderately salt-affected lands, like the traditional irrigation area of the ‘Vega Baja del Segura’ (Alicante, Spain), melons are being grown. In this area the modernization of the secular irrigation system through the replacement of flood by drip systems, is currently being fostered. This fact, however, is generating some controversy, due to the known salt leaching effect that flood irrigation followed by drainage makes in the soil. In this study, the effects of three irrigation systems, namely, drip (DI), subsurface drip (SDI) and flood (FI), on soil salinity and thus, on the yield and quality of the melon, were compared. According to the results, the FI system kept the soil salt levels during the growth period at 4.1 ± 0.3 dS/m, that is, significantly lower than the 4.7 ± 0.2 dS/m attained with the DI and SDI systems. Nevertheless, the DI and, overall, SDI, provided higher and more homogenous soil moisture completely counteracting the effect of salinity as revealed by the soil water potential calculations. As a result, the SDI gave 27 ± 5 Mg/ha of total yield in comparison to 23 ± 2 Mg/ha (DI) and 20 ± 6 Mg/ha (FI). Besides, the SDI system reduced the number of damaged melons, thus additionally contributing to the significant higher marketable yield of the SDI (25 ± 4 Mg/ha) in comparison to the DI (20 ± 1 Mg/ha) and the FI (19 ± 7 Mg/ha). On the contrary, in the SDI treatment the fruit soluble solids content, tritatable acidity and pulp firmness decreased a bit, however, in the sensory evaluation no differences among irrigation treatments were observed.