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Importance of Fertigation

Agribusiness managementAgriculture

Importance of Fertigation

Fertigation is the phenomenon in which to increase the fertility of the soil, fertilizer is liquefied with water and applied/distributed along with the drip system for watering the field or along with the spray or irrigation system. Copious research materials are indicating the superiority of fertigation over traditional modes of fertilization for increasing the fertility of the soil. Most fertigation systems for home use need to be mixed with liquid fertilizers because they are unable to dissolve water-soluble fertilizers at their higher concentrated form. Most industries that produce fertilizers for fertigation process, resolve to manufacture fertilizers in liquid form since that is the only form in which the fertilizer dispenser can deal with.

Advantages

  • Increased assimilation of nutrients by plants
  • Accurate nutrient placement, where the water travels, the nutrient goes as well
  • Micro-dose capability, feeding just enough nutrients to plants so that there is no unnecessary wastage of nutrients via washing down due to a heavy rainstorm
  • The decrease in usage of water, synthetic fertilizers, and the use of other chemicals that might compromise the integrity of the soil
  • Reduction in water consumption due to the ability of the plant root mass to trap and hold water
  • Rate of application of nutrients in terms of time and quantity can be controlled more efficiently
  • Risk of the roots contracting soil-borne diseases is minimised
  • Increased chances of avoiding soil erosion as the nutrients are passed via water dripping system

Disadvantages

  • Poor equipment selection may lead to poor nutrient placement
  • As the fertilizer dissolves, theres a chance that the concentration of the solution may decrease
  • Main irrigation line may suffer from loss of pressure
  • The whole process depends on the water supply. If the water supply is compromised, so will the fertigation process

Nitrogen Fertigation

  • Most commonly used nutrient via drip fertigation is nitrogen
  • Almost all of the existent forms of nitrogen fertilizer are used via drip fertigation. Ammonium sulphate is not used because it tends to undergo precipitation reaction which could impede the whole fertigation process
  • Urea is the most studied among the different nitrogen fertilizers because it readily dissolves and is inert towards other compounds present in water

Phosphorus Fertigation

  • Phosphorus causes clogging in the fertigation instrument, specifically in the drip irrigation part, so it was not recommended
  • Phosphorus causes precipitation if the water in the irrigation system has calcium and magnesium

Fertigation of trace elements

  • Elements such as Cu, Fe, B, Zn, Mg etc.are considered as trace elements. These cannot be applied via drip irrigation because trace elements are required in extremely minute quantities
  • Trace elements also have chances of forming precipitates with salts

System design

Fertigation aids the farmers in proper distribution of fertilizers. The easiest form consists of a tank with a pump, pipes for distribution, capillaries and finally a dripper pen. All of the working systems ought to be placed on a raised or fixed platform, thus avoiding direct contact with the soil. Every system must have a tray for handling chemical spills. All the fertigation systems must have a reverse-flow prevention device in the event of possible water pollution.

Preparation of fertilizer

Tank- 1: contains a combination of microelements, magnesium nitrate, potassium nitrate, calcium nitrate
Tank- 2: contains nitric acid, phosphoric acid, and ammonium sulphate. Phosphorus and calcium/magnesium are placed in different tanks to eliminate any chances of precipitation
Tank- 3: consists of an acid solution to control the pH of the fertilizer and to avoid clogging of the drippers.

Online course on Agribusiness at James Lind Institute

To learn more about the fertigation process and its role in agriculture, enroll yourself in an online training programme on agribusiness being launched at James Lind Institute. This module acquaints you with various aspects of agriculture and allied fields. The globally accredited and industry-specific training fine-tunes your skills to match the needs of the ever-growing market. James Lind Institute will soon be launching online training programs on agribusiness. For more details, please visit www.jliedu.com

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