Colombia: Pepper makes more efficient use of water

The water supply is fundamental for the development of plants. Researchers at the UN in Palmira (Colombia) determined that this vegetable uses water efficiently.

"Plants generally serve their vegetative cycle through the following stages: germination, development, maturation and harvesting, and water needs of the plant become more pressing in any of these stages," says Professor Hernán Rojas.

However, one of the most demanding crops, in terms of water requirements is pepper. In fact, if planted in a place where there is lack of water, its development stagnates and fruit quality deteriorates; cracked or apical necrosis (at the end of the vegetable).

Otherwise, if planted where there is plenty of water, Professor Rojas explains, "if there is excess moisture in the soil because of the effect of irrigation or rain, there will be an increase of root system diseases associated with fungi like Phythophtora capsici and Fusarium".

With this in mind, researchers from the center went ahead with a study to characterize the soil against moisture holding capacity of paprika Capsicum, and to assess their physiological and productive response at three levels of moisture associated with evaporation.

Furthermore, the researchers were able to estimate the water needs of the variety Unapal-Serrano, developed in UN in Palmira.

The test was developed at the Experimental Center of CEUNP´s Center, and was done under cover to avoid effects by precipitation. The experimental design was used in a randomized complete block with three treatments and three repetitions.

"The treatments were: water depth equal to 100% of evaporation (EV) another same one to 75% of EV and another that very much the same to 50% of EV. The minimum daily evapotranspiration occurred during the first 24 days, with a value of 1.25 mm/day. The maximum value, of 4.45 mm/day, was between 60 and 75 days," explains Professor Rojas.

After assessment, the researchers concluded that the water use efficiency was of 5.32 kg/m3 in terms of fruit yields, and 0.5 kg/m3, in terms of dry matter.

"Since the calculated evapotranspiration was 425 mm in the 122 day cycle, it was estimated a potential average fruit yield of 22.6 tons per hectare," he says.

The main characteristics were determined to schedule the crop´s irrigation system that had not been registered for Valle del Cauca´s weather conditions. Among these are: the crop coefficient, effective rooting depth, plant height, percentage of coverage, the gross depth of water that must be applied to different soil types and irrigation according to the development phase.

This research was conducted with the group of Vegetables and Water of the UN in Palmira and with the support of the professors Franco Alirio Vallejo Cabrera, Edgar Iván Estrada Salazar and Adriana Gomez Enriquez.

Source: UN

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