عنوان مقاله [English]
Introduction: Saffron is one of the most important economic plants in the Khorasan province. Awareness of soil quality in agricultural lands is essential for the best management of lands and for obtaining maximum economic benefit. In general, plant growth is a function of environmental factors especially chemical and physical properties of soil (20). It has been demonstrated that there was a positive and high correlation between soil organic matter and saffron yield. Increasing the yield of saffron due to organic matter is probably due to soil nutrient, especially phosphorous and nitrogen and also improvement of soil physical quality (6, 28, 29). The yield of saffron in soils with high nitrogen as a result of vegetative growth is high (8). Shahandeh (6) found that most of the variation of saffron yield depends on soil properties. Due to the economic importance of saffron and the role of soil properties on saffron yield, this research was conducted to find the relationship between saffron yield and some soil physical and chemical properties, and to determine the contribution of soil properties that have the greatest impact on saffron yield in the Ghayenat area.
Materials and Methods: This research was performed in 30 saffron fields (30 soil samples) of the Ghayenat area (longitude 59° 10΄ 10.37˝ - 59° 11΄ 38.41˝ and latitude 33° 43΄ 35.08˝ - 33΄ 44΄ 02.78˝), which is located in the Khrasan province of Iran. In this research, 21 soil properties were regarded as the total data set (TDS). Then the principal component analysis (PCA) was used to determine the most important soil properties affecting saffron yield as a minimum data set (MDS) and the stepwise regression to estimate saffron yield. To estimate the yield of saffron in stepwise regression method, saffron yield was considered as a dependent variable and soil physical and chemical properties were considered to be independent variables.
Results and Discussion: According to the PCA method, among the 21 studied properties, 7 out of them including calcium, iron, zinc contents, sand, calcium carbonate equivalent percent, mean weight diameter of aggregates (MWD) and manganese (Mn) had the higher Eigenvalues. Therefore, the above properties were introduced as the most important soil properties in saffron fields. Calcium carbonate had the negative effect on the availability of micro-nutrients (26). Christensen et al. (15) found that by increasing the calcium carbonate in soil due to high pH and formation of insoluble components, the uptake of micro-nutrients is especially limited.
The results of stepwise regression method (equation 1) showed that soil acidity (pH), zinc content, bulk density, MWD, iron content, salinity (EC), organic carbon and available potassium in soil were the most important properties that affect the yield of saffron, so that the determination coefficient (R2) of the regression model was high (Table 2) and it can explain 74% of the variation of saffron yield.
Y = 6924.51 – 1187.31 pH – 89.65 EC + 71.6 Fe – 826.02 Zn + 471.55 OC, + 5490.96 K + 1353.56 BD + 752.82 MWD (1)
where Y: saffron yield (kgha-1), pH: soil acidity, EC: electoral conductivity (dSm-1), Fe: iron concentration (mgkg-1), Zn: zinc concentration (mgkg-1), OC: organic carbon (%), K: soil potassium (%), BD: soil bulk density (Mgm-3), and MWD: mean weight diameter of aggregates (MM).
Based on the absolute values of standard ß in the regression model (Table 3), pH value and then after Zn concentration had the most effect on saffron yield. In general, responses of different plants to soil pH is varied, and saffron grows satisfactory in pH = 7.8 (5). Soil pH influences the uptake of soil nutrients by plants (15), so that this parameter had the most effect on saffron yield and by increasing the soil pH, the yield of saffron decreases. According to the regression model, Zn concentration was the second parameter in saffron yield. Zn has the important role in structure of plant enzymes (30). After these 2 parameters, Bd, MWD, Fe concentration, EC, Organic carbon and K concentration in soil had more effect on saffron yield (Table 3).
Conclusion: According to both PCA and regression methods, the concentration of iron and zinc and MWD were determined as the important and effective soil properties on saffron yield in the Ghayenat area. In addition, soil pH in stepwise regression method and calcium carbonate in PCA method were determined as the effective properties on saffron yield. Therefore, it is suggested that the parameters of Zn, Fe, and MWD along with soil pH and calcium carbonate which were regarded individually in two methods, were considered as the most soil properties in saffron yield.