The importance of fertigation in agriculture cannot be understated, says Advanced Nutrients Founder and CEO Mike Straumietis. It provides a way for farmers and growers to provide their crops with the nutrients they need while minimizing the inefficiencies that may result from the traditional methods of fertilizer application. Conventional fertilization techniques, like the band or broadcast methods, can lead to fertilizer wastage, growing unwanted plants and pests, or leaching of excess nutrients into the ground and groundwater.
According to many studies, fertigation can increase crop yields. Nutrients are injected into the irrigation system, and they are delivered directly to the plant roots and more uniformly to the root zones. In addition, the nutrients are delivered promptly and more accurately. For these reasons, fertigation can boost productivity.
Farmers who use fertigation can also gain economic benefits. First, of course, bigger yields can provide them with more revenues. Mike Straumietis also notes that fertigation can lessen the need for fertilizers because nutrient supply is synchronized with crop requirement, and growers have better control over nutrient availability to the plants. Moreover, labor time can be lessened as fertigation relies more on automation; labor costs associated with traditional fertilizer methods are minimized.
The need for less water has also made it a valuable piece of technology for locations that experience water scarcity. Every drop of water being used is saturated with nutrients and the water release points are accurately placed, crop roots can quickly absorb the nutrition they require.
Moreover, there is a benefit to directing water to the roots in that the chances of the plants contracting diseases are diminished. Anytime water builds up on crop parts above the ground, such as fruits, leaves, and stems, they can become a breeding ground for various diseases. Minimizing water that comes into contact with these parts can make them a less favorable environment for bacteria or fungus growth.
How Fertigation Works
An irrigation system should be installed to use fertigation. After all, the practice blends fertilization and irrigation. Most farmers who use this system opt for drip irrigation because it offers the highest nutrient-use and water-use efficiency.
Mike Straumietis also notes that fertigation should be included in a farm or garden’s overall nutrient management plan. There is science behind it to ensure crops are not overfed or underfed. Various factors are considered in determining a nutrient schedule. These include the scale of the farming operation, the growing season, plant types, and the selected irrigation method.
Mike Straumietis emphasizes that it is essential to remember that fertigation only works with water-soluble fertilizers. In most cases, fertilizers in liquid form are utilized because the particles can be dissolved more easily.
A liquid form of fertilizer or a dissolved fertilizer solution is typically stored in a large tank connected to the irrigation system. A dripper or injector ensures that precise amounts of fertilizers are infused into the water.
In some fertigation systems, a filter is inserted between the injector and the laterals to prevent undissolved particles from flowing through the pipes, valves, emitters, or drip lines. Without a filter, clogging can occur, resulting in equipment breakdown.
Another must-have piece of equipment for fertigation systems, per Mike Straumietis, is a backflow prevention device. Without one, the water supply would be at risk of being contaminated with harsh chemicals. Some states also require such a device.
Advanced Nutrients: Helping Farmers Worldwide
Fertigation is certainly a welcome innovation in crop production and has helped many people and groups in agriculture for decades. Although it comes with a few disadvantages, like high upfront costs, the need for consistent upkeep, and risks of clogging and breakdowns, the benefits still outweigh the drawbacks.
Providing assistance to farmers and growers has also been the objective of Advanced Nutrients. Under the guidance of Mike Straumietis, Advanced Nutrients’ team of prominent scientists has developed the world’s first and only growing system that optimizes each phase of a plant’s vegetative and bloom cycles.