An EU-funded project promoted the exchange, screen and transfer of ground breaking fertigation technologies which combine fertilisation with irrigation. This strategy will enable farmers to use constrained drinking water means more sustainably when cutting down unsafe nutrient losses to the setting.


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© Floki #88779044, resource:inventory.adobe.com 2020

Fertigation describes the injection of fertilisers and other drinking water-soluble products into crop-irrigation programs. Rewards for farmers and other horticulturists include things like saving drinking water, revenue and labour, more exact fertiliser software, and lowered nutrient losses.

Nonetheless, in European countries, the cultivation of fertigated crops is still constrained by drinking water scarcity, when intense cultivation poses pitfalls to drinking water quality. Despite the fact that ground breaking technologies are obtainable to boost fertigation, there is a absence of awareness relating to these simple answers and they are still not broadly applied at farm level.

The EU-funded FERTINNOWA project established out to treatment the situations by producing a expertise base on ground breaking technologies and procedures for fertigation. ‘Through the project, we desired to map the challenges confronted and the responses obtainable, and then to exchange information and answers,’ states project coordinator Els Berckmoes of the Investigate Centre for Vegetable Manufacturing (PSKW) in Belgium.

Critical project final results integrated a benchmark survey of farmers and publication of the ‘Fertigation Bible’, when the FERTINNOWA thematic network has enabled the transfer of many ground breaking technologies and most effective procedures.

Groundwork

The project group interviewed about 370 farmers, in 9 EU Member States and South Africa, agent of various horticultural sectors in different climate zones. In addition to giving an overview of the challenges confronted and the answers remaining applied, it also gauged farmers’ expertise about ground breaking or alternative answers and the obstacles avoiding their implementation.

A single major concentrate was on producing a database of ground breaking technologies and procedures for fertigation in horticultural crops.
From this, the FERTINNOWA group made factsheets for strengthening fertigation within just, for instance, fruit, vegetable and decorative manufacturing programs. All the information gathered by the project was compiled into an bold report referred to as the Fertigation Bible.

‘The Fertigation Bible has develop into a compendium of one hundred thirty technologies that are described from a specialized, simple, legal and socio-financial position of see,’ points out Berckmoes. ‘Since the launch of this compendium in April 2018, it has been downloaded 1 900 occasions. For the duration of our function, we exchanged 28 technologies from 1 companion or region to another, eleven of which have been discovered as extremely ground breaking,’ she proceeds.

The technologies promoted by the project include things like distant sensing of crop variability for efficient soil and drinking water administration, a product for the prediction of irrigation combined with the use of dampness-content material detection probes, and a conclusion-guidance program for computerized irrigation administration.

All 28 technologies have been demonstrated below regular subject disorders to demonstrate farmers their opportunity. ‘We saw that even ‘non-innovative’ or considerably less-ground breaking answers could have a significant profit in some regions and we succeeded in increasing the curiosity of nearby farmers in these technologies,’ Berckmoes states.

Move of information

FERTINNOWA has also had useful social and financial impacts on farms and throughout regions, according to Berckmoes. The agricultural sector is 1 of the premier people of drinking water and 1 of the biggest polluters in conditions of nitrate emissions. The project tackled these difficulties by advertising technologies that guidance a more efficient and economical use of drinking water and decrease environmental impacts, thereby encouraging to realize the major aims of both of those the EU Drinking water Framework Directive and the Nitrates Directive.

A critical element in the project’s achievement was the close collaboration in between different partners. Using an integrated multi-actor strategy, the FERTINNOWA expertise-exchange system included scientists, growers, policymakers, sector, and environmental and buyer teams.

Furthermore, the group made an efficient product for transferring technologies to farmers, which can be replicated around the world. For instance, the Fertigation Bible is remaining translated into Mandarin to serve the Chinese agricultural sector.
‘For several partners included in the project, the FERTINNOWA initiative was a bridge to new alternatives and at times the very first ways in further European initiatives,’ concludes Berckmoes. The project outcomes are now broadly used to enable farmers and nearby and countrywide authorities to remedy their fertigation challenges, while authorities working with fertilisation coverage, drinking water scarcity, droughts and climate adaptation are also benefitting from the outcomes.