Today we are going to talk about a type of technique that is revolutionizing the irrigation system in agriculture. It’s about the finish. We are talking about a type of technique that allows the simultaneous application of water and fertilizers through an irrigation system. This makes it possible to take advantage of the various irrigation systems to be able to apply the necessary nutrients to the crops so that they can develop well and increase productivity.
In this article we are going to tell you all the characteristics, advantages and uses of fertigation.
Fertigation is nothing more than a technique used in agriculture and that allows both water and fertilizers to be used in the irrigation system. Thanks to this type of application, localized high-frequency irrigation systems can be used. Typically, these irrigation systems are quite efficient at locating crops to optimize water use. In this way, it is possible to apply the nutrients that the plants need at the same time as they are watered.
However, to be able to use fertigation, you need some basic knowledge. Among these knowledge that you need to know we have the following:
- Nutritional needs of each crop. Each crop requires a different amount of nutrients, so it is necessary to know the doses of fertilizers that are going to be added in the irrigation.
- You need to know the distribution of fertilization percentages that are necessary throughout the crop cycle. We know that crops do not always demand the same amount of nutrients. By knowing the life cycle of the crop well, we can optimize the use of fertilizers to not only give it what the plant needs, but also save on these fertilizers.
- Characteristics of the water used during irrigation. Among the characteristics that water has, we find the following: pH, electrical conductivity, micronutrients, etc.
- Needed know how to operate with the change of fertilizer units taking into account the kg of fertilizer used.
Thanks to all these characteristics, we know that the fertigation system is the most rational method available to carry out optimized fertilization and increase production, reducing costs.
Advantages of fertigation
We are going to see what are the main advantages of the use of fertigation in crops. These advantages are quite considerable. They are as follows:
- Water and nutrients are perfectly located in the absorption zone of the roots. The roots have a maximum zone of absorption of nutrients and fertigation helps to send these nutrients to the optimal zone of absorption.
- Can be set different fertilization plans according to the phenological state of the crop and the nutrient absorption curves. Depending on the time of year we are in or the phenological state of the crop, it will demand more or less amount of nutrients. This can be adjusted by irrigation systems optimized by fertigation.
- Another advantage is offer the possibility to quickly correct any nutritional efficiency of the crop. Before spoiling a crop due to lack of nutrients, fertigation can be stopped in time.
- Use of water of low agronomic quality. This is quite an important aspect to consider. And it is that with good management and the necessary knowledge, poor quality water can be used but with the same good results. All of this lowers production costs.
- By having a greater dependence on the crop before the irrigation system we will have greater control over them. We can increase or decrease the growth speed according to interest. Some techniques such as controlled deficit irrigation can be used.
- All the above advantages are those that grant a more rational use of water and fertilizers. The use of water and fertilizers directly affects the productive capacity of the crop. In addition, it increases respect for the environment and a minimum environmental impact.
Although fertigation is a revolutionary method to optimize the use of water and fertilizers in crops, there are two methods to carry it out. Let’s see what are the main characteristics of each of the methods:
- Quantitative fertilization: It is a type of model based on calculating the nutritional needs of the crop based on some parameters. These parameters are the following: number of cultivated plants, age, leaf area, distribution area, soil type, nutrient consumption, etc. Once all these parameters have been calculated, the values are entered into the irrigation system to be able to provide these nutrients.
- Proportional fertilization: It was the type of fertigation most used in crops without soil or hydroponic crops. This model is based on injecting a certain amount of fertilizers for a certain volume of water. We are going to put an example to understand it better. It establishes grams per liter of fertilizer to add to hydroponic crops. In this case, if we are working with hydroponic crops, two units of parts per million and liter are used.
Differences with other fertilizer systems
In a traditional way, it is always considered differences between fertigation and the traditional fertilization process. The main difference lies in the fractionation of the fertilizer. Balanced nutrient solutions are provided for crops in which there is no soil. In this way, everything that the culture requires is provided continuously and at very low concentrations. On the contrary, when working in the soil, higher concentrations of fertilizer should be applied, making a smaller fractionation and increasing water consumption.
Whether or not we want the soil to have an interaction with the fertilizer. We must pay attention to these interactions as they can affect the contribution of secondary elements such as minerals. The agriculture sector demands an increase in the implementation of more efficient irrigation systems and with fertigation it is being achieved. It also helps to improve the monitoring of all parameters for irrigation and fertilization with the use of sensors, measurements and advice.
I hope that with this information you can learn more about fertigation and how it works.