Yield and irrigation water use of fruit vegetables grown with plastic and straw mulch in the U.S. Virgin Island

A major factor limiting increased vegetable production in the U.s. Virgin Islands (USV!) is water availability. The climate of the USVI is semi-arid with moderate rainfall (1100 mmlyr) and high evapotranspiration (ET) of about 1500 mm/yr. The University of the Virgin Islands Agricultural Experiment Station has been conducting studies to increase water use efficiency of vegetable crops under limited water availability. Field experiments were conducted from 1995 to 2000 to determine yield and irrigation water use of fruits vegetables including bell peppers (Caps icum annuum L.), cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.), and tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum L.). Except for tomato all crops were drip-irrigated at three soil moisture regimes (-20, -40, -60 kPa ) based on soil tensiometers. Irrigation regime for tomato was based on U. S. Weather Service Class A pan evaporation rates equivalent to 40, 60 and 80%. Crops were planted in plots with polyethylene mulch, straw mulch and no mulch (bare). For each crop, trials were conducted over two seasons. Data on marketable yield, total water use and efficiency were collected from each trial. Results in general indicate no significant yield diff ences (P>O.05) between iITigation regimes. Water use was highest at -20 kPa or 80% ET and lowest at ,..60 kPa or 40% ET. Since water use efficiency was highest at the lowest irrigation rate, fruit vegetables can be grown with minimum iITigation water without sacrificing yield. Furthermore, the use of mulch conserves water and increases yield of vegetables.

Publication type:
Staff Publications
Conference Papers
Publication date:
New of Leans, Louisinia USA: The Irrigation Association
Record ID:
Other report number:
AVRDC Staff Publication
Book title:
2002 Conference proceedings understanding and addressing conservation and recycled water irrigation
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 Record created 2007-11-07, last modified 2019-02-01

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