Cultivating innovative techniques f… – Information Centre – Research & Innovation

An EU-funded task promoted the trade, display screen and transfer of revolutionary fertigation technologies which blend fertilisation with irrigation. This strategy will aid farmers to use confined water methods additional sustainably when decreasing unsafe nutrient losses to the ecosystem.


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Fertigation describes the injection of fertilisers and other water-soluble products into crop-irrigation systems. Pros for farmers and other horticulturists include saving water, funds and labour, additional accurate fertiliser software, and diminished nutrient losses.

On the other hand, in European international locations, the cultivation of fertigated crops is nevertheless constrained by water shortage, when intensive cultivation poses risks to water top quality. Whilst revolutionary technologies are accessible to improve fertigation, there is a deficiency of awareness concerning these realistic alternatives and they are nevertheless not commonly applied at farm stage.

The EU-funded FERTINNOWA task set out to treatment the predicaments by producing a know-how foundation on revolutionary technologies and techniques for fertigation. ‘Through the task, we desired to map the difficulties faced and the responses accessible, and then to trade information and alternatives,’ says task coordinator Els Berckmoes of the Investigate Centre for Vegetable Manufacturing (PSKW) in Belgium.

Key task final results integrated a benchmark survey of farmers and publication of the ‘Fertigation Bible’, when the FERTINNOWA thematic network has enabled the transfer of various revolutionary technologies and best techniques.


The task workforce interviewed in excess of 370 farmers, in nine EU Member States and South Africa, representative of many horticultural sectors in various weather zones. Moreover offering an overview of the difficulties faced and the alternatives currently being applied, it also gauged farmers’ know-how about revolutionary or alternative alternatives and the obstacles blocking their implementation.

One main concentrate was on producing a databases of revolutionary technologies and techniques for fertigation in horticultural crops.
From this, the FERTINNOWA workforce developed factsheets for strengthening fertigation inside, for instance, fruit, vegetable and ornamental production systems. All the information collected by the task was compiled into an formidable report referred to as the Fertigation Bible.

‘The Fertigation Bible has become a compendium of one hundred thirty technologies that are explained from a specialized, realistic, lawful and socio-economic stage of watch,’ points out Berckmoes. ‘Since the release of this compendium in April 2018, it has been downloaded 1 900 situations. Through our do the job, we exchanged 28 technologies from a single associate or region to one more, eleven of which were being discovered as really revolutionary,’ she carries on.

The technologies promoted by the task include distant sensing of crop variability for effective soil and water management, a product for the prediction of irrigation combined with the use of dampness-content material detection probes, and a conclusion-guidance system for automated irrigation management.

All 28 technologies were being shown less than normal subject disorders to clearly show farmers their likely. ‘We noticed that even ‘non-innovative’ or considerably less-revolutionary alternatives could have a sizeable benefit in some areas and we succeeded in boosting the desire of area farmers in these technologies,’ Berckmoes says.

Circulation of information

FERTINNOWA has also experienced helpful social and economic impacts on farms and throughout areas, in accordance to Berckmoes. The agricultural sector is a single of the most significant customers of water and a single of the greatest polluters in conditions of nitrate emissions. The task addressed these worries by promoting technologies that guidance a additional successful and economical use of water and reduce environmental impacts, thus aiding to realize the main targets of the two the EU Drinking water Framework Directive and the Nitrates Directive.

A critical factor in the project’s results was the shut collaboration amongst various companions. Working with an integrated multi-actor strategy, the FERTINNOWA know-how-trade platform associated researchers, growers, policymakers, sector, and environmental and client teams.

Moreover, the workforce developed an effective product for transferring technologies to farmers, which can be replicated all over the world. For instance, the Fertigation Bible is currently being translated into Mandarin to serve the Chinese agricultural sector.
‘For several companions associated in the task, the FERTINNOWA initiative was a bridge to new opportunities and sometimes the initial measures in even more European tasks,’ concludes Berckmoes. The task outcomes are now commonly used to aid farmers and area and national authorities to solve their fertigation difficulties, although authorities working with fertilisation coverage, water shortage, droughts and weather adaptation are also benefitting from the outcomes.

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