Effect of Drip Irrigation Frequency and N-Fertilization on Soil Physical Properties, Yield and Water Use Efficiency of Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L) in Ado Ekiti, Southwestern Nigeria

Awe Gabriel Oladele, Fasina Abayomi Sunday, Shittu Olubunmi Samuel, Jejelowo Temitope Afolabi, Oparemi Adeola Dorcas


Soil water budgets are essential in determining the proper timing and amount of optimal irrigation for improving water and nutrient use efficiency in vegetable production A field experiment was therefore setup at the Teaching and Research Farm, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Ekiti State University, Ekiti State, Nigeria during 2015 dry season to evaluate the effect of drip irrigation frequency and N-fertilization on soil physical properties, yield and water use efficiency of cucumber (Cucumis sativus). The experiment was a 3x2 factorial in randomized complete block design, with split-plot arrangement in three replications. The main block consisted of three levels of drip irrigation frequency: daily water application (ID), twice weekly water application (I2W) and weekly water application (IW) while the sub-plots were nitrogen fertilization (No fertilizer (N0) and 80 kg N ha-1 (N80)). The results showed that soil bulk density (BD) and water content (SWC) of the 0-10 cm surface layer increased with time and was significantly highest from ID treatment compared with other treatments. N-fertilization had no influence on both BD and SWC whereas cucumber yield was significantly (p<0.05) increased. Reducing the frequency of water application increased cucumber water use efficiency (WUE) whereas N-fertilization had no significant effect on WUE. The different drip irrigation levels caused distinct spatial patterns of SWC and BD. The study showed that cucumber fruit yield will increase with more availability of water as well as good soil structural condition. However, for optimum yield, water saving strategy, reduced cost of pumping and lesser effect on soil structure, drip irrigation scheduling of twice weekly (I2W) combined with N-fertilization is recommended for cucumber cultivation.

Keywords: Drip irrigation frequency, soil physical properties, spatio-temporal variability, cucumber yield, water use efficiency

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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