Evaluating the Productivity Potential of Chickpea, Lentil, and Faba bean under Saline Water Irrigation Systems.
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The information on salinity threshold levels for food legumes when irrigating with saline water is limited and old. In a multiyear study at two sites in the Euphrates Basin, we aimed at (i) evaluating the potential of saline water irrigation for chickpea, faba bean and lentil production; and (ii) using the SALTMED model to determine threshold crop yields based on irrigation water salinity in equilibrium with ambient soil solution salinity. To evaluate 15 accessions each of lentil and chickpea, and 11 accessions of faba bean, three irrigation treatments were used with salinity levels of 0.87, 2.50 and 3.78 dS m-1 at Hassake and 0.70, 3.0 and 5.0 dS m-1 at Raqqa. Aggregated grain yields showed significant differences (p < 0.05) among crop accessions. Calibration and validation of the SALTMED model revealed a close relationship between actual grain yields from the field sites and those predicted by the model. The 50% yield reduction (π50 value) in chickpea, lentil, and faba bean occurred at salinity levels of 4.2, 4.4 and 5.2 dS m-1, respectively. These results suggest that of the three food legume crops, faba bean can withstand relatively high levels of irrigation water salinity, followed by lentil and chickpea. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.