Fertigation refers to an agricultural practice that essentially combines irrigation and fertilisation. Farmers often use water-soluble fertilisers in their irrigation systems to supplement the soil with essential nutrients.
Fertigation - Overview
Fertilisers are generally dissolved in water beforehand, stored in tanks, and supplied to the soil through irrigation systems in this method. It not only delivers the necessary combination of nutrients to the plants but also minimises soil erosion and water wastage.
Fertigation is quite similar to chemigation which stands for the injection of chemicals into the irrigation system. These two terms are often used interchangeably though chemigation is a highly regulated and controlled procedure owing to the type of chemicals it uses.
It involves supplying herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides many of which can be harmful to animals, man, and the environment. Fertigation involves injecting fertilisers and is a safer process that doesn't demand strict regulation.
Fertigation – What You Should Know?
Plants require specific nutrients for healthy growth which are often supplied through fertilisers. Farmers use methods like Fertigation for easy supply of these nutrients to the soil and plants. Some of the most common nutrients combined in the method include ammonium nitrate, diammonium phosphate, ammonia, urea, and mono ammonium.
With this method, fertilisers can be applied to areas where they are needed the most and the application is uniform and accurate. Nutrients become available to plants immediately and they can better absorb them through irrigation.
Fertigation not only saves a lot of time, effort, and energy but also helps save water as plants develop a healthy root system. It minimises the loss of nutrients and reduces the consumption of fertiliser with an efficiency ranging between 80-90 percent.
As the fertiliser and water are evenly distributed to crops, the possibility of getting a better yield increases. Nutrients are supplied through irrigation so there is a lower chance of soil erosion. Moreover, there is a reduced risk of roots getting contaminated and developing soil-borne diseases.
Fertigation Primary Approaches
There are two primary approaches to Fertigation – Proportional Fertigation is where a predefined amount of fertiliser is injected into the irrigation unit while Quantitative Fertigation involves deciding on the amount of fertiliser before proceeding with the irrigation.
The practice is extensively employed in commercial horticulture and agriculture. Fertigation is also used increasingly for landscaping with the ease and reliability of dispenser units. It can even be used to correct nutrient deficiencies found in plant tissue analysis, generally employed in high-value yields like fruits, turf, ornamentals, and vegetables.
FAQs on Fertigation
Q.1. What are the limitations of Fertigation?
The limitations of Fertigation are the concentration of the fertiliser solution can decrease upon dissolution; if the equipment selection is not appropriate, it can lead to a poor supply of nutrients. There is also a risk of chemical leakage resulting in water and soil pollution.
Q.2. What is a bypass fertiliser tank in Fertigation?
This is a simple Fertigation method where the nutrient concentration is kept higher in the beginning and continues to decrease as the irrigation progresses.
Q.3. Which approach for Fertigation is the most common?
The most commonly used Fertigation method is the proportional approach where a fixed quantity of fertiliser solution is injected into water units.
Q.4. Does Fertigation improve efficiency?
The method helps maintain up to 80-90% efficiency of supplying fertilisers thereby saving up to 25% of nutrients.