Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment

Vol 11, Issue 2,2013
Online ISSN: 1459-0263
Print ISSN: 1459-0255

Production of automatically watered lettuce with a low cost controller 


Selma C. O. Batista 1, Daniel F. Carvalho 2, Hermes S. Rocha 3, Hugo T. Santos 4, Leonardo O. Medici 5*

Recieved Date: 2013-01-07, Accepted Date: 2013-04-28


A low-cost automatic controller for irrigation systems was evaluated for lettuce cropping. This device is handmade, adjustable for soil water tension and could be build up by the own farmer. A greenhouse experiment was carried out, using a 2 x 2 x 2 factorial design, to test controller adjustments to start drip irrigation (3.0 and 9.0 kPa), soil texture (clayey and sandy) and pot size (2.76 and 4.81 L). In a field experiment the controller adjustments (3.0 and 9.0 kPa) were combined, in a 2 x 2 factorial design, with the depth of the tension sensor installation in bed (0.1 and 0.2 m). The two experiments were performed using only organic manure. The big pot exhibited lower water depth applied than the small one, while the combination of sandy soil with 9.0 kPa exhibited the lowest water depth among all factorial treatments. The lettuce growth was very similar across all treatments in greenhouse, except for head diameter that was highest in the sandy soil at 3.0 kPa. In the field, lettuce fresh and dry weights were greatest (301.8 and 10.9 g pl-1, respectively) when the controller operated at 9.0 kPa. The difference between the results from greenhouse and field are discussed, regarding putative nutritional limitations. The water depth applied at combination of 9.0 kPa and sensor depth of 0.2 m in bed corresponded to 89% of crop evapotranspiration. The results indicate that the controller is useful to save water and labor and must be adjusted to 9.0 kPa for lettuce production. 


Lactuca sativa L., automation, water management, water-use-efficiency, drip irrigation, soil matric potential, tensiometer, low-cost, family farming, Brazil

Journal: Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment
Year: 2013
Volume: 11
Issue: 2
Category: Agriculture
Pages: 485-489

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