Fertigation – Efficient fertilizer and water management

Fertigation – Efficient fertilizer and water management

The old irrigation and farming practices lead to a lot of wastage of water, nutrients and time. The efficiency of fertilizers is not up to the mark as well. The practice of inducing fertilizers into the irrigation system has increased dramatically in the last decade. Fertigation is a crop management system in which fertilizers are run into the crop through the irrigation system. In this method, liquid fertilizer, as well as water-soluble fertilizers, are used. By this method, fertilizer use efficiency is increased from 80 to 90 percent. Urea is well suited for injection in the micro irrigation system. It is highly soluble and dissolves in the non-ionic form so that it does not react with other substances in the water. Since it is soluble in water hence it does not have problems of precipitation.

Fertigation system in strawberries. Source : Safer Brand

There are two main types of fertigation approaches:

The proportional approach is used in soil-less mediums where a precise quantity of fertilizer stock solution is injected into each unit of water flowing through the drip system.

The quantitative approach is used in open fields where the horticulturist first decides how much fertilizer should be applied per unit area.

In the process of fertigation, the water and fertilizers are aimed at the region where most of the plant roots develop. The top benefits of fertigation are; nutrients and the fertilizers are directed to the active root zone, the nutrients are distributed uniformly since nutrients are already dissolved the uptake by the roots increases, the plants enjoy a continuous delivery of nutrients without any delays.  Fertigation is a sustainable method that not only saves water but also limits the excess discharge of fertilizers into the groundwater. Fertigation is going to be an important part of the future agriculture system due to the decreasing level of underground water and the need for an increase in productivity.

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