CHAMOMILE PRODUCTION USING SUPPLEMENTARY IRRIGATION AND ORGANIC FERTILIZATION IN SANDY SOILS
ABSTRACT: The use of medicinal plants in the herbal medicine of Brazilian Health System has intensified production and the need for developing efficient agricultural techniques that promote greater productivity of these species. The objective of this work was to evaluate the chamomile production at field conditions as a function of irrigation depths and organic fertilizer rates. The experiment was conducted in the Universidade do Oeste Paulista (Campus II experimental area), in Presidente Prudente, São Paulo State, Brazil. A triple factorial experimental design was used, consisting of irrigation rates (150, 100, 75, 50, 25 and 0% of the reference evapotranspiration - ETo), organic manure types (poultry and cattle manure) and manure rates (0, 3 and 5 kg m-2), with four replications. The capitula production per plant, capitula dry weight and yield per water input (water use efficiency) were evaluated. The supplementary irrigation combined with organic manure fertilization provided the highest capitula yield for chamomile crop in the Presidente Prudente region. The combination of poultry manure at rate of 5 kg m-2 with water depth equal to 150% of the ETo resulted in higher average values of capitula fresh and dry weight and water use efficiency.