An EU-funded challenge promoted the exchange, display and transfer of innovative fertigation systems which merge fertilisation with irrigation. This tactic will assistance farmers to use restricted water means a lot more sustainably although decreasing dangerous nutrient losses to the environment.


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Fertigation describes the injection of fertilisers and other water-soluble products into crop-irrigation techniques. Rewards for farmers and other horticulturists contain saving water, funds and labour, a lot more precise fertiliser software, and lessened nutrient losses.

On the other hand, in European countries, the cultivation of fertigated crops is nevertheless constrained by water shortage, although intense cultivation poses dangers to water quality. Though innovative systems are available to boost fertigation, there is a lack of consciousness concerning these sensible alternatives and they are nevertheless not greatly applied at farm level.

The EU-funded FERTINNOWA challenge set out to cure the circumstances by making a expertise base on innovative systems and tactics for fertigation. ‘Through the challenge, we needed to map the difficulties confronted and the responses available, and then to exchange information and alternatives,’ suggests challenge coordinator Els Berckmoes of the Research Centre for Vegetable Creation (PSKW) in Belgium.

Important challenge success integrated a benchmark study of farmers and publication of the ‘Fertigation Bible’, although the FERTINNOWA thematic community has enabled the transfer of a lot of innovative systems and best tactics.


The challenge team interviewed around 370 farmers, in 9 EU Member States and South Africa, consultant of numerous horticultural sectors in diverse local weather zones. Apart from giving an overview of the difficulties confronted and the alternatives getting applied, it also gauged farmers’ expertise about innovative or choice alternatives and the barriers protecting against their implementation.

A person main concentrate was on making a databases of innovative systems and tactics for fertigation in horticultural crops.
From this, the FERTINNOWA team developed factsheets for bettering fertigation within just, for instance, fruit, vegetable and decorative output techniques. All the information collected by the challenge was compiled into an bold report referred to as the Fertigation Bible.

‘The Fertigation Bible has become a compendium of a hundred thirty systems that are explained from a technological, sensible, lawful and socio-economic point of see,’ points out Berckmoes. ‘Since the launch of this compendium in April 2018, it has been downloaded 1 900 periods. Throughout our get the job done, we exchanged 28 systems from one associate or area to a different, 11 of which had been identified as quite innovative,’ she continues.

The systems promoted by the challenge contain distant sensing of crop variability for successful soil and water administration, a model for the prediction of irrigation put together with the use of dampness-written content detection probes, and a conclusion-assistance procedure for computerized irrigation administration.

All 28 systems had been demonstrated underneath regular subject ailments to clearly show farmers their likely. ‘We saw that even ‘non-innovative’ or fewer-innovative alternatives could have a substantial reward in some areas and we succeeded in boosting the curiosity of local farmers in these systems,’ Berckmoes suggests.

Stream of information

FERTINNOWA has also had beneficial social and economic impacts on farms and throughout areas, according to Berckmoes. The agricultural sector is one of the major consumers of water and one of the major polluters in conditions of nitrate emissions. The challenge dealt with these problems by promoting systems that assistance a a lot more effective and economical use of water and reduce environmental impacts, thereby assisting to attain the main objectives of equally the EU Water Framework Directive and the Nitrates Directive.

A vital component in the project’s achievement was the near collaboration between diverse associates. Using an integrated multi-actor tactic, the FERTINNOWA expertise-exchange system included researchers, growers, policymakers, field, and environmental and purchaser groups.

On top of that, the team developed an successful model for transferring systems to farmers, which can be replicated all over the world. For instance, the Fertigation Bible is getting translated into Mandarin to provide the Chinese agricultural sector.
‘For quite a few associates included in the challenge, the FERTINNOWA initiative was a bridge to new chances and occasionally the 1st methods in further European jobs,’ concludes Berckmoes. The challenge outcomes are now greatly used to assistance farmers and local and national authorities to fix their fertigation difficulties, whilst authorities working with fertilisation plan, water shortage, droughts and local weather adaptation are also benefitting from the outcomes.