EFFECT OF SALINITY ON GROWTH AND YIELD OF SUGAR BEET (BETA VULGARIS L.) UNDER LOWER SINDH ENVIRONMENT
Rising demand of sugar with increasing population pressure needs to grow more sugar crops. However, the world is depriving of good quality soil and water to grow these crops. Hence it requires exploring specific germplasms to grow on salt-affected soils. A field experiment was conducted at the experimental farm of National Sugar and Tropical Horticulture Research Institute, Thatta.The aim of the experiment was to investigate the effect of varying salinity levels (0, 4, 8, 12 and 16 EC dS m-1) on the growth and yield of ten sugar beet genotypes (California, Ernestina, Magnolia, Mirabella, Sandrina, SD 12970, SD PAK 03/06, SD PAK 01/07, SD PAK 07/07) and SD PAK 09/07). Planting was done in a Randomized Complete Block Design with three replications. Fifteen-day-old seedlings were stressed with salt solutions of 4, 8, 12 and 16 dS m-1 up to maturity. There was significant effect of salinity and genotypes on growth and yield of sugar beet crop. Salinity at lower levels did not show adverse effect on almost all recorded growth and yield traits it rather encouraged the growth and yield at lower levels. The beet yield produced by SDPAK 09/07, California and SDPAK 01/07 genotypes was encouraging as compared to other genotypes tested. In case of sugar yield, it increased up to 8 dS m-1 then it reduced by 36.0 and 55.0% at EC 12 dS m-1 and EC 16 dS m-1, respectively. It was concluded that sugar beet genotypes SDPAK 09/07, California and SDPAK 01/07 displayed better performance for beet yield in salinity levels over the other genotypes. The defined genotypes SDPAK 09/07 and California displayed better performance for sugar yield in salinity levels.