Drought is one of the factors that threatens the performance of agricultural products, especially corn in most parts of the world. Under conditions of water scarcity, the effectiveness and efficiency of fertilizer use is reduced, especially if fertilizer application is not consistent with plant growth. Among fertilizers, nitrogen is one of the most important nutrients for corn, and consumption management of this fertilizer has great importance in order to succeed in increasing the production of corn. Therefore, in conditions of water shortage, balanced and optimal use of fertilizer should be considered to achieve increased yield and water use efficiency.
This study was conducted to investigate the effect of drip irrigation regimes and different levels of nitrogen fertilizer on yield and yield components of corn and soil moisture changes at the Shaheed Zendrh Rouh Jupar in Kerman province during the years of 2012-2014. The experiment was arranged as a split-plot design based on randomized complete block design with five irrigation regimes (I1 = 100, I2 = 80 and I3 = 60% ETc) as the main-factor and five nitrogen fertilizer level N1 = 0, N2 = 50, N3 = 100, N4 = 150 and N5 = 200 kg/ha) as sub-factor. According to the Kerman Meteorological Station, this region has a semi-arid climate with warm summers and mild winters. To calculate the volume of water consumed, potential evapotranspiration (ETo) was determined using daily meteorological information and Penman-Monteith method (PM). A sampling method was used to measure moisture at different depths of soil.
The results showed that the highest yield was due to I1 treatments with 8.85 t/ha, and there was a direct relation between crop reduction and water requirement reduction at all stages of crop production. High nitrogen application had a negative effect on yield. Typically, in soils that lack nitrogen, corn grain yield increased with nitrogen addition. However, after reaching the maximum yield, nitrogen addition has no effect on increase or yield may reduce. The interactions of different levels of water and fertilizer showed that I1N4 and I3N1 treatments had the highest (10.6 ton/ha) and lowest (1.24 ton/ha) value of corn yield, respectively. The highest and lowest grain yield components (thousand grain weight, number of kernels row, number of kernels per row, cob length, cob diameter) were observed in N1 and N3 I1 treatments, respectively. The highest water use efficiency (1.26 kg/m3) was observed in I2N4 treatment and the lowest (0.068 kg/m3) in I3N1 treatment. The results of this study showed that the remaining moisture content in soil decreased by decreasing amount of irrigation water and nitrogen fertilizer in 20 days after planting. At 75 days after planting, reasons such as severe water shortages during growth, reduced root density, high water requirement at this stage of growing season, and the plants need to nutrients have probably caused the roots to absorb as much as possible of the top three water and nutrient. As a result, the moisture that reaches the last layer is less. The results showed that in the last stages of growth compared to other stages, the plant water requirement is reduced and excess water penetrates the lower layers.
According to the results of this study, nitrogen fertilizer at 150 kg/ha with 100% water requirement is the best combination for corn farming in semi-arid climates.
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