Document Type : Research Article


Department of Plant Production, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Torbat Heydarieh, Torbat Heydarieh, Iran


Saffron is a plant belonging to the lily family, which is one of the most valuable species of medicinal plants and is often cultivated in areas with dry climates. Saffron is the main source of income for many farmers in the rural areas of the east of the country and after pistachio; it is the most valuable agricultural product in Iran. The yield and quality of saffron is influenced by various economic, social, educational and cultural characteristics of saffron growers. Considering the effect of various environmental factors on the growth and performance of saffron, the process of examining the suitability of land for its cultivation requires the use of comprehensive and diverse spatial information. Applying appropriate management methods to solve the existing limitations will lead to the actual performance approaching the potential performance.  Considering that the level of planting saffron in many parts of the country is increasing, and on the other hand, based on the long-term average statistics, its yield has decreased significantly, the need for continuous monitoring of the level of planting and yield is one of the essential issues of managers.  The purpose of this research was to investigate the relationship between climatic and management factors with saffron yield and to determine the most important parameters affecting yield using saffron information in the Kadkan section of Torbet Heydarieh. It was done to analyze and check the performance of saffron in 2021.
Materials and Methods
In order to investigate the cultivation of saffron and its yield in the Kadkan of Torbat-Hydaria, the data of the cultivation area and yield in 2021 were analyzed. A questionnaire was used to collect data. The questionnaire included information on cultivation area, production rate, and type of irrigation, age of the farm, education and age of the farmer. In this regard, the questionnaire was conducted from 447 people (at the level of 302 hectares) of saffron farmers. The information of these questionnaires was used to analyze the cultivation of saffron in Kadkan of Torbat Heydarieh in 2021.
Results and Discussion
The saffron yield recorded was 3.8 kg of dry stigmas per hectare, signifying a decrease when compared to previous years, with a decline of 26% and 56% compared to 2019 and 2018, respectively. Analysis of the results revealed that the highest saffron yield was observed in four-year-old farms, amounting to 4.17 kg per hectare. Conversely, fields irrigated from the river exhibited the lowest yield at 2.76 kg per hectare, as per the findings of the current study. Based on this study, there was no significant difference between the yield of saffron stigma in pressure irrigation (4.07 kg/ha) and flood irrigation (4.03 kg/ha) of the researched fields. The yield in saffron farms had an inverse relationship with the age of the farmer, so that with the increase in the age of the farms that were covered by the age of the farmers, the yield decreased and the farms that were under the management of younger people, the yield was higher. According to the results, the saffron farms that were cultivated under the management of uneducated farmers had the lowest yield (2.8 kg/ha) and those with university education had the highest yield of saffron stigma (1.5 kg/ha). The results of the cultivated area data showed that with the increase in the cultivated area of saffron, its yield decreased (the regression coefficient with the first-order model was 26% and the second-order model was 38%).
Temperature and rainfall are two influencing factors on saffron performance. In 2016 and 2017, the yield of saffron decreased significantly due to the following reasons: Decrease in rainfall compared to previous years, Improper distribution of rainfall during the vegetative growth period of saffron, The lower and more negative temperatures in 2019 (November, December, December, February and March) compared to the mentioned years caused a decrease in dry stigma harvest in 2014 compared to 2016 and 2018. Given that the majority of saffron farms in the Kadkan district are approximately 4.16 years old (as indicated in Table 2), it is anticipated that the yield of farms in this district may decline in the upcoming year. However, it's important to note that this prediction is solely based on the age of the farms, and actual outcomes may vary depending on climatic conditions. Due to the prevalence of small-scale ownership of saffron farms in Kadkan, managed within a family exploitation system, the management of these smaller farms is typically more manageable. Consequently, it is foreseeable that smaller farms may experience an increase in yield. Therefore, based on these considerations, saffron cultivation is recommended particularly for small-scale owners rather than larger landholders.


Main Subjects

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