Effect of Drought Stress on Crop Yield and Yield Components of Cantaloupe in the Arid Lands of Iran
Field experiments were conducted to study the effect of drought stress on crop yield and yield components of cantaloupe in the arid lands of Iran during 2004 and 2005 growing seasons. Four irrigation treatments based on 10, 30, 50 and 70% available water deficit (AWD) were applied to cantaloupe in the two consecutive growing seasons. Irrigation treatments were designed to induce a range of drought stress from emergence to harvest. Yield components, i.e. number of plants per hectare (NPPH), number of fruits per plant (NFPP), fruit weight (FW) and fruit thickness (FT) were measured and consequently crop yield (CY) was determined for all treatments. The statistical results of study showed that drought stress significantly (P ≤0.01) affected CY, NPPH, NFPP and FW, but there was no significant difference in FT. The maximum values of CY (29.10 t ha-1) and NPPH (8255) were obtained in case of 10% AWD treatment and the minimum values of CY (17.26 t ha-1) and NPPH (4645) were recorded in case of 70% AWD treatment. Moreover, the maximum values of NFPP (3.77) and FW (1520 g) were obtained in case of 30% AWD treatment and the minimum values of NFPP (2.03) and FW (1030 g) were recorded in case of 70% AWD treatment.