Effectiveness of silicon and irrigation scheduling for mitigating drought stress in sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L.) in arid region of Saudi Arabia

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Research Paper 01/01/2018
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Effectiveness of silicon and irrigation scheduling for mitigating drought stress in sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L.) in arid region of Saudi Arabia

Aaftab Ahmad, Burhan Abdul Kabeer, Muhammad Niyazi, Ihsanullah Daur, Sidra Riaz
Int. J. Biosci.12( 1), 265-277, January 2018.
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A field experiment with three treatments of irrigation and three treatments of silicon in triplicate was conducted at Hada Al-Sham research station of King Abdulaziz University Jeddah Saudi Arabia using multi-cut sorghum crop. The main objective of this study was to obtain the maximum crop yield at minimum water use under natural arid conditions. The crop was grown for fodder under natural drought condition of Hada Al-Sham until three cuts. Daily weather data was collected from Hada Al-Sham meteorological station to estimate the crop water requirement. Penmen-Monteith equation (PME) (FAO-56) was used to estimate reference evapotranspiration and then crop evapotranspiration was calculated by using crop coefficient (Kc) for sorghum. The irrigations (100%, 80% and 60% of ETc) were applied as main plot treatments and silicon (0, 1, and 2 kg ha-1) were applied as sub-plot treatments. Three cuts were harvested at 50% spikes initiation to determine 1) the number of plants per square meter, 2) plant height, 3) fresh yield and 4) dry yield. The results revealed that drought during growing season severely affected the morphological characters of sorghum. The decrease in irrigation from 100% to 60% decreased the plant height, fresh and dry yields while the number of tillers during 2nd and 3rd cuts increased. Meanwhile the foliar application of silicon improved the number of tillers, plant height, fresh and dry yields under drought conditions.


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