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

An EU-funded venture promoted the trade, display screen and transfer of progressive fertigation technologies which combine fertilisation with irrigation. This tactic will help farmers to use constrained water methods more sustainably though lowering harmful nutrient losses to the setting.


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Fertigation describes the injection of fertilisers and other water-soluble products into crop-irrigation units. Strengths for farmers and other horticulturists contain preserving water, dollars and labour, more correct fertiliser software, and decreased nutrient losses.

However, in European international locations, the cultivation of fertigated crops is even now constrained by water shortage, though intensive cultivation poses risks to water top quality. Despite the fact that progressive technologies are obtainable to boost fertigation, there is a absence of awareness relating to these practical alternatives and they are even now not broadly applied at farm degree.

The EU-funded FERTINNOWA venture set out to treatment the conditions by developing a expertise base on progressive technologies and tactics for fertigation. ‘Through the venture, we needed to map the troubles confronted and the solutions obtainable, and then to trade information and alternatives,’ says venture coordinator Els Berckmoes of the Investigate Centre for Vegetable Manufacturing (PSKW) in Belgium.

Essential venture outcomes included a benchmark study of farmers and publication of the ‘Fertigation Bible’, though the FERTINNOWA thematic community has enabled the transfer of quite a few progressive technologies and best tactics.


The venture staff interviewed about 370 farmers, in nine EU Member States and South Africa, representative of a variety of horticultural sectors in distinct local weather zones. Besides supplying an overview of the troubles confronted and the alternatives currently being applied, it also gauged farmers’ expertise about progressive or substitute alternatives and the obstacles preventing their implementation.

Just one main target was on developing a database of progressive technologies and tactics for fertigation in horticultural crops.
From this, the FERTINNOWA staff designed factsheets for bettering fertigation inside, for example, fruit, vegetable and decorative output units. All the information collected by the venture was compiled into an bold report referred to as the Fertigation Bible.

‘The Fertigation Bible has turn out to be a compendium of a hundred thirty technologies that are explained from a complex, practical, lawful and socio-economic point of see,’ explains Berckmoes. ‘Since the release of this compendium in April 2018, it has been downloaded 1 900 moments. Through our function, we exchanged 28 technologies from a single associate or area to a further, eleven of which have been identified as very progressive,’ she continues.

The technologies promoted by the venture contain distant sensing of crop variability for powerful soil and water management, a design for the prediction of irrigation combined with the use of humidity-written content detection probes, and a choice-support process for computerized irrigation management.

All 28 technologies have been demonstrated underneath normal field ailments to exhibit farmers their prospective. ‘We noticed that even ‘non-innovative’ or significantly less-progressive alternatives could have a sizeable advantage in some locations and we succeeded in elevating the interest of nearby farmers in these technologies,’ Berckmoes says.

Circulation of information

FERTINNOWA has also had beneficial social and economic impacts on farms and throughout locations, according to Berckmoes. The agricultural sector is a single of the biggest customers of water and a single of the most important polluters in phrases of nitrate emissions. The venture dealt with these problems by endorsing technologies that support a more efficient and affordable use of water and minimize environmental impacts, thereby supporting to accomplish the main targets of both equally the EU H2o Framework Directive and the Nitrates Directive.

A critical aspect in the project’s success was the near collaboration involving distinct associates. Making use of an built-in multi-actor tactic, the FERTINNOWA expertise-trade platform associated researchers, growers, policymakers, field, and environmental and buyer groups.

Additionally, the staff designed an powerful design for transferring technologies to farmers, which can be replicated throughout the world. For example, the Fertigation Bible is currently being translated into Mandarin to serve the Chinese agricultural sector.
‘For many associates associated in the venture, the FERTINNOWA initiative was a bridge to new options and at times the very first measures in further more European jobs,’ concludes Berckmoes. The venture results are now broadly utilized to help farmers and nearby and national authorities to resolve their fertigation troubles, even though authorities working with fertilisation coverage, water shortage, droughts and local weather adaptation are also benefitting from the results.