Texas AgriLife Research scientists have recently completed a two-year study on the impact of deficit irrigation and plant density on the growth, yield and quality of short-day onions.

Deficit irrigation is a strategy in which water is applied to a crop during its drought-sensitive stages of development and is either applied sparingly or not at all during other growth stages, particularly if there is sufficient rainfall, reducing the overall amount of irrigation through the crop cycle.

According to crop production experts, the strategy is particularly helpful in areas where water limitations or restrictions are a significant factor.

The study's lead researcher was Dr. Daniel Leskovar, a professor and vegetable physiologist with AgriLife Research and interim resident director for the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Uvalde. Leskovar collaborated with other AgriLife Research experts in vegetable stress physiology, Shinsuke Agehara and Dr. Kilsun Yoo, both from the Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center, part of the Texas A&M University System.

Information about the study was first presented at the 28th International Horticultural Congress held this August in Lisbon. The study was funded in part by U.S. Department of Agriculture Food for Health and Rio Grande Basin initiatives.