Fertigation is a method of applying liquid fertilizers or pesticides during irrigation. The technology has been known in the world since the 70s of the last century. At first glance, it is quite simple: concentrated solutions of fertilizers (or pest control products) are fed into the main watering line of the sprinkler irrigation system using a pump with flow control. Next, the mixture falls on the plants. BRIEF ABOUT ADVANTAGES
A key advantage of fertigation is the increased effectiveness of the nutrient / protective agent. When using sprinkler irrigation, the introduced elements are absorbed by all plant organs - both roots and leaves (it is known that plants are best consumed by substances dissolved in water). At the same time, the optimal moisture regime is maintained without water overruns (with the same water use per 1 ha, fertigation yields are much higher, and unit costs are lower).
Fertigation provides the ability to conduct multiple top dressings in small doses, taking into account the needs of the plant in a certain growth phase. Obviously, it is practically impossible to add potato nutrition at the flowering stage or the beginning of the formation of tubers in another way. Nutrients are delivered on time, regardless of weather conditions.
The consumption of substances in low concentration (the fertilizer content in irrigation water should not exceed 0,2–0,3% in dry and hot periods and 0,5% in cool or rainy weather) allows crops to absorb the maximum necessary nutrition / receive protection, and agricultural producers - to avoid losses of a significant part of fertilizers / plant protection products, subject to leaching in the traditional application scheme. The negative impact of chemicals on nature is excluded.
We also add that the introduction of drugs by fertigation does not require additional passes of the equipment in the fields and saves money on the purchase of a complex of this equipment.
Despite the significant number of advantages, it is important to remember that the technology has certain disadvantages. To begin with, not all drugs can be introduced in this way.
SELECTION OF FERTILIZERS
Certain substances (primarily poorly soluble or precipitating) can cause clogging or damage to sprinklers in sprinklers. And some even cause corrosion of the elements of the irrigation system.
The choice of fertilizers for fertigation should be approached carefully, be sure to read the instructions for each drug. And do not forget about the basic rules:
- Fertilizers must be completely water soluble and compatible with each other.
- Dissolution of substances should occur in a short time at "field" temperatures.
- Fertilizers should have a low salt index (since vegetable crops have low salt tolerance).
- Substances must be characterized by low corrosivity.
Among traditional solid fertilizers, these requirements are more fully met, for example, by ammonium sulfate, urea, potassium chloride, and potassium nitrate.
ACCOUNTING WATER QUALITY
The quality of fertilizer / crop protection operations also depends on the composition of the irrigation water. For example, if it contains an increased percentage of water-soluble salts, the degree of solubility of the fertilizer is reduced. The content of bicarbonates, sulfates and chlorides should also be considered. Bicarbonate ion, for example, increases the pH of the solution, reduces the solubility of fertilizers, sulfates contribute to the precipitation of Ca, Mg and Fe, chlorides increase the mineralization of water and reduce the solubility of fertilizers.
In addition, the water used for irrigation may be cloudy or contain impurities. In these cases, filters must be used to avoid equipment clogging.
SOIL STATE CONTROL
One of the important conditions for success in the implementation of fertigation is the constant monitoring of the state of the soil, monitoring of EC and soil pH. The acidity of the soil allows you to determine the availability of many nutrients. The optimal level of soil pH is 6.0-6.5. If indicators are higher than 6.5, metals such as iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), manganese (Mg), copper (Cu) and trace elements (boron and phosphorus) become less accessible to plants. At soil pH below 5.5, phosphorus and molybdenum also go into the inaccessible stage. EU control determines the concentration of salts in the zone of the root system. In hot weather, the concentration of salts in the plant increases; to reduce it, it is necessary to water with a decrease in the EC value by reducing the concentration of the nutrient solution in the system.
In general, the use of this technology requires strict control of the forms, doses, terms and methods of applying fertilizers / protective equipment.
Often fertigation is implemented by farms with computerized control systems in order to eliminate errors caused by the influence of the human factor.
With proper organization, fertigasia contributes to increased productivity, improved product quality, and reduced production costs. In modern conditions, it becomes the most important (and under certain conditions necessary) instrument of intensive technology for growing vegetables and potatoes.
The Potential company, which is part of the Agrotrade Group of Companies, offers a full range of equipment necessary for the implementation of fertigation in your farm. The company's specialists are ready to provide professional advice and answer your questions.