How growers can implement fertigation systems

Traditional fertilization methods can be painstaking for growers, especially those in larger commercial operations. They can involve maneuvering heavy bags, using spreaders for distribution, and taking constant measurements by hand.

Standard techniques also make it difficult for growers to supply their crops with a precise amount of fertilizer and nutrients. This can lead to over or under-fertilization, which is an all too common issue that is detrimental to crop growth.

For these reasons, more and more growers today are opting to integrate fertigation systems into their operations. By employing fertigation, growers can streamline the application of water and nutrients to their crops. Overall, this practice allows growers to enhance the quality and quantity of their yields, increasing long-term profits and improving their bottom line.

What is fertigation?
Fertigation is the practice of applying fertilizer through an irrigation system with water-soluble nutrients. Its goal is to supply crops with the essential components of proper growth, water, and nutrients, via one efficient method.

The level of precision growers can achieve with fertigation helps them target their crops’ nutrient deficiencies, as well as prevent over-fertilization, which can lead to nutrient burn and eat into profits. It also allows them to adjust the pH balance of their irrigation supply, so they can maintain an ideal range and optimize their crops’ nutrient absorption.

Fertilizers are highly concentrated, so accurate nutrient measurement and proper system management are critical to achieving consistent, successful harvests. For the best results, growers should keep an average nutrient-to-water ratio of 1-to-100.

Important advantages
When growers put this practice into action, they can tackle a variety of issues. One of the most important tasks fertigation eliminates is having to measure each batch of nutrient solution and water by hand. Measuring by hand is time-consuming and carries a high risk of error.

Once automated, these systems help growers cut down significantly on negative aspects of manual fertilization. This includes factors like time, water and nutrient waste, soil erosion, foliar disease, and variations in soil nutrient concentration.

Automated fertigation systems also help growers set and maintain parameters for nutrient application and pH balance. They utilize electrical conductivity (EC) and pH sensors to evaluate irrigation water and make changes based on its nutrient and acid content.

This leads to improved plant growth and drastically reduces labor requirements. As growers focus on other tasks, the sensors ensure that crops are always receiving the optimal amount of nutrients.

Combined with superior climate control, fertigated crops can grow dramatically. They are also less prone to threats, like pests, disease, and leaf burn. Leaf burn refers to the browning or yellowing of leaf edges due to contact with fertilizers.

Traditional fertilizer spreaders tend to place fertilizer outside of the irrigation zone as well. If this occurs, the nutrients can’t be absorbed by crops’ roots. As a result, fertigated crops generally absorb more nutrients than ones that are not.

For more information:
GrowSpan Greenhouse Structures
1395 John Fitch Blvd
South Windsor, Connecticut 06074
Toll-free USA: (800) 476 9715
International: +1 860 528 9550

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