"Yield components included the marketable yield of the crop and onion bulb size," Leskovar said. "And quality aspects were gauged in terms of quantities of soluble solids, pyruvic acid and quercetin."

Leskovar said results indicated that while marketable yields and the number of bulbs increased at the higher plant density, the bulb size decreased. "Results also showed that deficit irrigation at the 50 percent of ETc had a significant impact on yield, while the yield from deficit irrigation at 75 percent was not notably less than at 100 percent and produced a similar bulb size," he said.

Leskovar said the main conclusion to be drawn from this research is that it would be possible for onion producers to adjust planting densities and water-conservation practices, most specifically to a 75 percent ETc rate, as a means to "target high-price bulb sizes without reducing flavor and quercetin content."

paschattenberg@ag.tamu.edu