Irrigation and Drainage Systems

, Volume 21, Issue 3–4, pp 237–250 | Cite as

Response of Sorghum bicolor varieties to soil salinity for feed and food production in Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan

  • Tamara BegdullayevaEmail author
  • Kirsten M. Kienzler
  • Elena Kan
  • Nazar Ibragimov
  • John P. A. Lamers


Water and land salinization, caused by ill-practiced irrigation and drainage is acute and widespread in Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan. A crop frequently grown in these marginal areas is sorghum because of its capability to adapt to saline conditions. However, the salt uptake potential of local varieties for salt-ameliorative purposes, as well as possible income-generation benefits, have not yet been studied. Therefore, field experiments on low, medium and highly saline soils were conducted using four sorghum cultivars (S. vulgare, S. cernuum, S. durra, and S. technicum). The effect of soil salinity on biomass, stover and grain yield, the baking and feed quality, and total water soluble salt (TDS) accumulation, was assessed according to varieties, plant fractions and growth phases. Results showed that S. cernuum had the highest grain yield on the low (5.13 t ha−1), medium (6.05 t ha−1) and highly (3.3 t ha−1) saline soil. S. technicum showed the lowest growth potential under all salinity levels. TDS accumulation varied between 406 and 185 kg ha−1 depending on variety, site, plant fractions and growth stage. Irrespective of the soil salinity levels and varieties, TDS was highest in stover and leaves, while highest TDS uptake, mainly chlorides and bicarbonates, occurred between booting and flowering. Baking quality of all varieties was extremely low, whereas the in-vitro feed was assessed as of medium quality. The findings indicate the scope of local sorghum varieties for phytomelioration of marginal lands in Karakalpakstan, while concurrently satisfying a wider range of rural livelihood needs.


Sorghum Soil Salinity Yield Feed and Food Quality Salt Accumulation Growth Phases Plant Fractions 



The German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF; project number 0339970A) and the Ministry for Schools, Science and Research of the State of Northrhine-Westfalia funded this study. The results were obtained with support from the Institute of Bioecology, Karakalpakstan-branch, Academy of Science of Uzbekistan, and within the framework of ZEF/UNESCO landscape restructuring project. We are grateful for the valuable comments from anonymous reviewers on an earlier version of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tamara Begdullayeva
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kirsten M. Kienzler
    • 2
  • Elena Kan
    • 3
  • Nazar Ibragimov
    • 3
  • John P. A. Lamers
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Bioecology, Karakalpakstan branchAcademy of Science of UzbekistanTashkentUzbekistan
  2. 2.Zentrum für Entwicklungsforschung (ZEF)Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität BonnBonnGermany
  3. 3.ZEF – UNESCO ProjectUrgench State UniversityUrgenchUzbekistan

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