Original Articles

Effect of irrigation scheduling on leaf yield of non-heading Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa L. subsp. chinensis)


A field experiment conducted on the Dzindi canal irrigation scheme in the north of South Africa demonstrated that non-heading Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa L. subsp. chinensis) needed to be irrigated at least twice per week to maintain the water content of the rooting zone close to field capacity and achieve maximum leaf yield. Irrigation scheduling practice affected both total consumptive water use and leaf yield of the crop and the latter two variables were strongly correlated (r = 0.91). Single applications of 20 mm per week, commonly practiced by smallholders on canal irrigation schemes in the region, limited yield to about two-thirds of the maximum achieved when the soil was irrigated to field capacity every other day. Pre-charging the upper 800 mm of the soil profile to field capacity followed by single applications of 20 mm per week increased yield, but only to 80% of the maximum, suggesting that the scope for improving water use efficiency in non-heading Chinese cabbage through the use of deficit irrigation was limited.

Get new issue alerts for South African Journal of Plant and Soil