Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) and Sulla (Hedysarum coronarium L.) Intercropping in Tunisia: Effects in Water Consumption and Water Use Efficiency

  •  Mourad Rezig    
  •  Ali Sahli    
  •  Faycel Ben jeddi    
  •  Youssef Harbaoui    


This experiment was carried out at the Technical Center of Potato (C.T.P) situated in the low valley of Medjerda river at Tunisia, during two growing seasons (2006-2007) and (2008-2009). It aims at evaluating the effect of intercropping potato (Solanum tuberosum cv. Spunta) and sulla (Hedysarum coronarium L. cv. Bikra 21) grown under 1:1 intercropping row arrangement and sole cropping on water consumption and water use efficiency of one potato variety and one sulla variety. In addition, land equivalent ratio (LER) was determined to assess the efficiency of the intercropping system. Intercropping had no significant effect on the above parameters and tuber dry biomass production of potato and sulla. However, it increased the total dry biomass of the intercropping system. This increase occurred during the two cultivating seasons of 2007 and 2009 respectively from 12.5 to 14.8% compared to the potato in sole cropping. Intercropping has led to a similar reduction of water consumption (WC) of both crops. This reduction was 36 and 28% for 2007 and 2009 seasons respectively and for both crops. However, intercropping has led to an increase in the overall (WC) of the mixed system by 9.1 and 13.8% in 2007 and 2009 respectively. Water Use Efficiency (WUE) has been improved from 35.4 to 45.6% for potato in sole intercropping and from 25 to 37.5% for sulla intercropped. The values of total LER were higher than one, which indicates the superiority of intercropping system over the sole cropping system.

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