The concept of 'Precision Growing' stipulates that optimal growing conditions can be achieved during an entire growing season. In precision cultivation the plants are supplied with the exact amount of water and fertilizers they need. Excess water and fertilizers can be collected efficiently and be reused. And while less resources are needed, the crop yield per square meter increases.
Precision cultivation literally translates into more growth with less input. In this context, Grodan focuses on water management in the root environment of the mat. By using water and nutrients more efficiently and in a more targeted manner, crop yield and fruit quality improves. This can be achieved by carefully aligning the water content (WG) of the substrate and the electrical conductivity (EC) in accordance with the current climatic conditions and generative/vegetative plant balance.
Extra attention for root environment
"By matching the needs of the plant in a smart way with the characteristics of the substrate mat, a strong and productive plant can be planted without waste of water and nutrients," says Stefanie Wienhoven of Grodan.
In greenhouse horticulture, much more efficient use is made of water than with (uncovered) open field crops. However, large amounts of water and fertilizers are lost in freely draining substrate systems. Water use efficiency can be improved by collecting the drain water and bringing it back to the crop. In this way glasshouse horticulturists can further improve their efficiency of water use and become more sustainable producers.
Careful management of water and nutrients in combination with re-use of the drain water in the cultivation can have the following benefits according to Wienhoven:
- Reducing total fertilizer use
- Saving costs
- Optimizing crop growth
- Ensuring sufficient and clean irrigation water
- Keeping a sufficiently wide range of crop protection products available
- Protecting the environment
- Complying with the legislation
Sustainable cultivation methods
According to the stone wool manufacturer, precision cultivation is an interesting concept for helping with current and future challenges in the area of water management. They continue to think about even better and smarter ways to grow crops in a sustainable way. They want to cooperate with growers, retailers and scientists for this.
The drought of this summer and the consequences of climate change motivate the company even more to think again about the best methods for efficient cultivation and the saving of even more water. This should be possible with newer, innovative techniques in water management.
Source: Glastuinbouw Waterproof