Enhanced fodder yield of maize genotypes under saline irrigation is a function of their increased K accumulation and better K/Na ratio
Poor quality irrigation water adversely affects the growth and yield of crops. This study was designed to evaluate the growth, fodder yield and ionic concentration of three promising maize (Zea mays L.) genotypes under the influence of varying quality irrigation water, with different salinity levels. The genotypes, such as EV-1097, Kisan and Akbar were irrigated with usable (electrical conductivity, EC 1.5 dS m-1), marginal (EC 3.0 dS m-1), poor (EC 4.5 dS m-1) and very poor (EC 7.0 dS m-1) quality irrigation
water. The increasing adverse effects on various growth and yield variables of all three genotypes were observed with the increasing water salinity. Also, soil EC, SAR and ESP values increased linearly with increasing salinity levels of irrigation water. Poor quality irrigation water affected all the growth
variables and yield of maize. Increasing concentrations of sodium and chloride ions, coupled with decreasing concentration of potassium, in flag leaf of maize was observed in response to increasing salinity of irrigation water. The genotypic variation among the three maize genotypes to saline water irrigation was in order of EV-1097 > Kisan > Akbar. The better fresh fodder yield of maize genotypes under poor quality irrigation water was a function of their enhanced accumulation of potassium (K) and better K/Na ratio. The study concluded that, the genotype EV-1097 is a better choice for the maize growers under saline water irrigation condition.
Key words: Maize (Zea Mays L.), fodder yield, saline irrigation, K accumulation, K/Na ratio.