22 Jun 2009

Fertigation: Optimizing the Utilization of Water and Nutrients

The international symposium on fertigation, the first of its kind in China, was jointly organized by the International Potash Institute (IPI) and the Chinese National Agro-technical Extension and Service Centre (NATESC), and assisted by the Chinese Agriculture University (CAU) and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS).

The proceedings contains 15 papers covering issues of development, uses and benefits from fertigation systems under various agro-climatic and specific growing conditions, technological aspects related to fertigation and interactions between water quality and nutrients in fertigation systems.

Irrigation is a crucial component in the production of food crops. While various types of flood irrigation have been practiced for thousands of years, water scarcity in more recent years has stretched the innovative nature of man and since the early 60s, trickle and other micro-irrigation systems have been rapidly developed. Now at the onset of the 21st century, the growing demand on water resources by the agricultural, urban and industrial sectors is creating even more opportunities for the use of advanced irrigation technologies.

Fertigation - the incorporation of soluble fertilizers into irrigation lines - enabled, for the first time, harmonization and integration between the application of water and plant nutrients. This was a natural development to meet the requirement of limited root zone development with micro-irrigation systems. Fertigation also enables the productive use of saline and marginal soils, sand dunes and mountain slopes bringing them into agricultural production; it also enables efficient use of nutrients, the use of low quality water, saves labour, and reduces weed growth and herbicide use.

The tremendous potential of fertigation in saving water and fertilizers without compromising the yield and the quality of food and fibre crops, along with the reduction of nutrient losses to the environment makes it an attractive system. As such, governments should consider assisting farmers in their initial investment requirements. The flexibility of this technique enables its use in small scale farming as well as in large industrial field crops and plantation production systems.

The proceedings includes the following papers:

    • Global Aspects of Fertigation Usage
      Uzi Kafkafi
    • Ecological Intensification of Agriculture and Implications for Improved Water and Nutrient Management
      Kenneth G. Cassman
    • Role of Mineral Nutrients in Tolerance of Crop Plants to Environmental Stress Factors
      Ismail Cakmak
    • Potential Development of Fertigation and its Effect on Fertilizer Use
      Hillel Magen
    • Role of Fertigation in Horticultural Crops: Citrus
      Ashok K. Alva
    • Fertigation of Deciduous Fruit Trees: Apple and Sweet Cherry
      Denise Neilsen and Gerry Neilsen
    • Manipulating Grapevine Annual Shoot Growth, Yield and Composition of Grapes Using Fertigation
      Michael Treeby
    • Non-Nutritional Fertigation Effects as a Challenge for Improved Production and Quality in Horticulture
      Volker Römheld, S. Jiménez-Becker, Günter Neumann, Joseph Patrick Gweyi-Onyango, L. Puelschen, Wolfram Spreer, and Fritz Bangerth
    • Fertigation in Greenhouse Production
      Wim Voogt
    • Effects of Fertigation Regime on Blossom End Rot of Vegetable Fruits
      Asher Bar-Tal, and Benny Aloni
    • Fertigation in Micro-irrigated Horticultural Crops: Vegetables
      Salvadore J. Locascio
    • Yield and Fruit Quality of Tomato as Affected by Rates and Ratios of K and Ca in Water Culture System
      B. Nzanza, Diana Marais, and Andries S. Claassens
    • Do Algae Cause Growth-Promoting Effects on Vegetables Grown Hydroponically?
      Dietmar Schwarz, and Lothar Krienitz
    • Fertigation in Arid Regions and Saline Soils
      Jeffrey C. Silvertooth
    • Interactive Effects of Nutrients and Salinity and Drought on Wheat Growth
      Yuncai Hu, Dieter Geesing, and Urs Schmidhalter

To order a copy or download the papers log to IPI. Please see the IPI web site under publications at http://www.ipipotash.org/publications/detail.php?i=269