Comparative Response of Cabbage to Irrigation in Southern Malawi

  •  Davie Kadyampakeni    


An experiment was conducted at Kasinthula and Masenjere in Chikwawa district in Malawi in the dry seasons (May through August) of 2006 and 2007 to evaluate yield response of cabbage (Brassica oleraceae) to irrigation frequency. The study was laid out in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) where three irrigation frequencies served as treatments: F1-Irrigated twice a week, F2-Irrigated once a week and F3-Irrigated once a fortnight. At Kasinthula, weight of marketable heads and water-use efficiency (WUE) were significantly different (P<0.05) across the irrigation frequencies. At Kasinthula and Masenjere, F1 resulted in highest yield of 32.9 and 23.0 t ha-1 in 2006 and 2007 seasons. There was a 50% and 25% reduction in yield in 2007 at Kasinthula and Masenjere Research sites. WUE peaked in F1 to 83.6 and 57.5 kg ha-1 mm-1 in 2006 and 2007 while lowest values were noted using F3 resulting in WUE of 57.9 and 39.4 kg ha-1 mm-1. Water productivity (WP) was significantly different across irrigation frequency (P<0.05). F3 resulted in the highest WP of 11.8 and 7.4 kg m-3 in 2006 and 2007, respectively. The lowest WP of 6.7 and 5.2 kg m-3 were observed in F1 in the two years. Comparing all the irrigation frequencies, F3 turns out to be the most effective water saving irrigation frequency suggesting that in the face of competing water needs and dwindling water resources, the longer duration F3 irrigation frequency is preferred to shorter duration ones. Where water is considered ample, F1 is recommended.

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