Impact of Irrigation Scheduling and total Applied Water on Crop-Water Productivity and Fruit Quality of Opuntia Ficus-Indica
Marginal lands are fragile socio- and eco-systems exposed to deterioration and degradation especially in arid and semi-arid areas. Horizontal expansion in these areas would provoke more stress on limited water resources. Planting drought and heat tolerant crops could be of a good benefit to these areas revitalization. Opuntiaficus-indica is a crop that proved its great capacity to tolerate the harsh environmental conditions of marginal lands. The current study planted Opuntiaficus-indica under three irrigation scheduling and regimes in marginal area Northwest Alexandria, Egypt. One treatment (T1) was following the common recommendation of Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation. The other two treatments (T2 and T3) were to fill the effective root zone up to 100% of available water when it drops below 85% and 70%, respectively. No fertilization or salinity stresses were existed. The obtained results revealed that T2 and T3 increased water productivity to 89 and 148 ton m-3, respectively compared to 7 ton m-3 for T1. All treatments produced good fruit suitable for commercialization with no significant difference in physical properties. Antioxidants’ concentration in fruit yield was significantly higher in T3 than T1 and T2. The obtained data should be confirmed with second plantation season before dissemination to agriculture stakeholders.
Keywords - Cactus Pear, On-Farm Water Management, Antioxidants, Vitamin C