Garlic is a horticultural crop consumed worldwide for its flavor and nutraceutical properties. Annual global garlic production in 2015 and 2016 was 26 to 27 million tons grown on ≈1.5 million ha in several countries with different climates (Faostat, 2018). Water is the factor that most often affects the development, yield, and quality of garlic. Soil water deficiency mainly compromises plant development and bulb yield, whereas excess impairs quality and conservation (Costa et al., 1993). Because garlic is cultivated preferably in the cold season, coinciding with the driest season of the year, in the main producing regions, irrigation is a mandatory practice to meet the water needs of the crop and to ensure high yield.
The objective of garlic production is a high yield and high-quality bulbs. Obtaining such a culture is the result of many growth and development processes. Well-established principles determine the yield of a crop, which are demonstrated by several factors, such as quantity of leaves for greater light absorption, dry matter that can be harvested and produced, the proportion of irrigation applied and transferred to the fraction harvested from the plant, and so on.
Determining correlations among variables is a widely used technique to establish how to increase yield in most crops. However, the correlation between two variables can be influenced by a third variable or a group of variables. Path analysis is the most appropriate technique to remove the effect of these other variables. It allows fractionating the correlation coefficient between two variables in direct and indirect effects. The variables with cause-and-effects relationships must have a high correlation with the main dependent variable, high direct effect and in the same sense of correlation, besides being easier to measure (Cruz et al., 2012).
Therefore, our objective was to investigate the relationship between morphological variables and garlic bulb yield, aiming to indicate criteria for direct selection, and to study the effects of irrigation with a deficit applied at the stage of bulb formation.
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