In arid and semi-arid regions such as Iran, water shortage and soil absorbable nutrients deficiency are limiting factors of plants growth. Nutrient deficiencies are compensated by chemical fertilizers. The main issue in fertilizer consumption is to use the optimal amount of fertilizer that increases water and fertilizer use efficiency. One of the newest and most effective approach for efficient use of water in agriculture is to magnetize the irrigation water. For producing magnetized water, it is crossed through a permanent magnetic field. By crossing water through a magnetic field, its physical and chemical properties improve. The aim of current research was, investigating the effect of urea fertigation by magnetized water on yield, water and fertilizer use efficiency in cucumber cv. Kish F1.
This study was performed as split plot experiment based on completely randomized block design with three replications from June to November 2018 on cucumber cultivate Kish F1 at the Research Farm of Agricultural Faculty, University of Zanjan, Iran. The treatments consisted nitrogen fertilizer levels at 5 levels from urea source (0%, 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% crop fertilizer requirement) and irrigation water (magnetized and no magnetized water). The treatment of 0% urea fertilizer and no magnetized water were considered as control. For crops irrigation, tape-drip irrigation system was used and for magnetizing of water, an electromagnetic field with 0.1 tesla was used. The crop water requirements were calculated by FAO-Penman-Monteith Approach on a daily basis using on-time weather parameters data of Zanjan Station. The irrigation frequency was 3 days. During the growth period, fertilization was done as fertigation approach on four times (15%, 30%, 30% and 25% of total crop urea fertilizer requirement). The first fertilization was applied 45 days after planting and the rests was carried out as 10-day periods after first fertilization.
The effect of urea fertilizer levels were significant at 0.1% level on yield, water use efficiency, number of fruits and leaf area, at 1% on chlorophyll index and at 5% on fertilizer use efficiency. Magnetized water was significant at 0.1% level on the all evaluated traits, except chlorophyll index. Treatment interaction effects were significant on water use efficiency, urea fertilizer use efficiency and number of fruits at 1% and no significant effect on the rest of traits. Compared with control, the highest and lowest increase in mean chlorophyll index were in 75% and 0.0% urea fertilizer level and magnetized water (21.1% and 0.4% respectively). At any urea fertilizer level, mean leaf area in magnetized water treatment was greater than no magnetized water treatment. Maximum and minimum difference between magnetized and not magnetized water treatments were in 25% and 0.0% urea fertilizer level (155.8 and 143.6 cm2, respectively). Based on treatments interaction, maximum mean of fruits number, achieved in 75% urea fertilizer level-magnetized water (32.8 number). It was 47.7% more than control. Maximum mean of cucumber yields with 50.3 t/ha, were in 75% urea fertilizer level-magnetized water that it increased 17.9, 2 and 3.8 t/ha compared with control, 100% urea fertilizer level-magnetized and no magnetized water, respectively. Results showed that application of magnetized water to irrigate plants, increased water use efficiency. Maximum water use efficiency achieved in 25% urea fertilizer level and magnetized water as much as 17.7 kg/m3. The trend of variations in mean water use efficiency showed, in no magnetized water, by reducing the application amount of urea fertilizer, averages of water use efficiency decreased but in magnetized water treatment, the trend of variations were incremental from 100% to 75% urea fertilizer level. On results, at each level of urea fertilizer treatment, using magnetized water for plant irrigating, increased mean of fertilizer use efficiency compared no magnetized water treatment. Maximum difference between means of urea fertilizer use efficiency at magnetized and no magnetized water was achieved in 25% urea fertilizer level as 74.3 Kg/Kg (367%). The results also showed, the trend of variations in mean urea fertilizer use efficiency at no magnetized water were decreasing from 100% to 25% urea fertilizer level but at magnetized water, the trend was increasing.
based on results of the current research, the optimum urea fertilizer level in Zanjan Region for cucumber is 75% urea fertilizer requirement, which by applying magnetized water to irrigate cucumber plants, mean of yield increases. In this case, in addition to save 25% of urea fertilizer amount, it is also prevented environmental problems.
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