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Scientia Agricola

versão impressa ISSN 0103-9016versão On-line ISSN 1678-992X

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VALENCA, David da Cunha et al. Automatically controlled deficit irrigation of lettuce in “organic potponics”. Sci. agric. (Piracicaba, Braz.) [online]. 2018, vol.75, n.1, pp.52-59. ISSN 0103-9016.  https://doi.org/10.1590/1678-992x-2016-0331.

Concerns with water crisis involve all sectors of society and irrigated agriculture remains the main water consumer. This study evaluated an agricultural production system for lettuce cultivation in greenhouse, “organic potponics”, to economize water and manure use, using a Simplified Irrigation Controller (SIC), based on soil matric potential monitoring. Five irrigation volumes were evaluated in pots with 4.8 L, fertilized with 200 g of vermicompost. One of the volumes was controlled with the SIC. The other volumes represented 130, 80, 60 and 33 % of that controlled by the SIC and all treatments received water at the same time. Shoot fresh weight, head diameter and stomatal conductance (gs) increased linearly with irrigation volumes. For shoot dry weight, number of leaves and water use efficiency (WUE), the regression was quadratic with maximum values at 126, 114 and 83 %, respectively. Leaf relative water content did not show variation among treatments and changes in some fluorescence parameters (Reo/RC, Sm, N and φR0) were much more remarkable to drought compared with the FV/ FM ratio, one of the most commonly used stress indicators. The data indicated a tradeoff between WUE and plant growth thus the economic values of water and lettuce should be taken into account to indicate the best SIC irrigation volume. Organic potponics is promising and should be further improved to save on water, labor and fertilizer use.

Palavras-chave : Lactuca sativa; water use efficiency; production system; water management; automation.

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