Subsurface drip irrigation of onions: Effects of drip tape emitter spacing on yield and quality Academic Article uri icon


  • Improved irrigation water use efficiency is an important component of sustainable agricultural production. Efficient water delivery systems such as subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) can contribute immensely towards improving crop water use efficiency and conserving water. However, critical management considerations such as choice of SDI tube, emitter spacing and installation depth are necessary to attain improved irrigation efficiencies and production benefits. In this study, we evaluated the effects of subsurface drip tape emitter spacing (15, 20 and 30 cm) on yield and quality of sweet onions grown at two locations in South Texas-Weslaco and Los Ebanos. Season-long cumulative crop evapotranspiration (ETc) was 513 mm in Weslaco and 407 mm at Los Ebanos. Total crop water input (rain + irrigation) at Weslaco was roughly equal to ETc (92% ETc) whereas at Los Ebanos, water inputs exceeded ETc by about 35%. Onion yields ranged from 58.5 to 70.3 t ha-1 but were not affected by drip tube emitter spacing. Onion pungency (pyruvic acid development) and soluble solids concentration were also not significantly influenced by treatments. Crop water use efficiency was slightly higher at Weslaco (13.7 kg/m3) than at Los Ebanos (11.7 kg/m3) partly because of differences in total water inputs resulting from differences in irrigation management. The absence of any significant effects of drip tape emitter spacing on onion yield may be due to the fact that irrigation was managed to provide roughly similar irrigation amounts and optimum soil moisture conditions in all treatments. 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Enciso, J., Jifon, J., & Wiedenfeld, B.

citation count

  • 23

complete list of authors

  • Enciso, Juan||Jifon, John||Wiedenfeld, Bob

publication date

  • September 2007