Fertigation Overview


by Bruce Walters - H.E. Anderson Sales

Fertigation is a very efficient, timely, flexible and dependable way to get your nutrient “soup” to the absorption sites of the crop. You have already spent design time and money setting up your irrigation system to sustain the crop through harvest. What better way to supply the balanced nutrients at the appropriate growth stage? If an economic, “available” quality of product and reliable way is available to grow your crop, why wouldn't you be interested?

First and foremost, we all agree it takes good nutrition to grow a healthy aesthetically appealing plant. Regular and representative soil or media “available” nutrient testing is critical. Many of us believe in nutrient balance fertilization and testing is a must. Fertilizing to the plants needs is a goal for us all.

Broadcasting of a granular fertilizer, mixing in a controlled release fertilizer (CRF) at shift, fertigation or a combination are normally our options at the nursery or greenhouse. Broadcasting via buggy, V­hopper or belly grinding of a fertilizer are methods we all have used. Grain or grass crops in a field are examples. We have also applied broadcast fertilizers over the top of rows, beds and pots. Certainly these products and methods are better than not.

Mixing in a CRF at shift is a really good method to lay the nutrition into the root zone and know the crop is being fed during a period of time. For held over crops, broadcast CRF's isn't economical or practical. I have used CRF's mixed into shifted crops and mixed into propagation beds for a fertilizer base. They work very well for what they are purposed to do.

Injection of your fertilizer nutrients covers all bases, efficiently and effectively. It is relatively easy to install an injection system into your existing irrigation layout. You need to know flow rates and fertility rates to achieve desired goals. Un­like acid injection where the amount of acid injected is relative to a pH target. But very similar to CRF fertilizing, where average root volume has to be considered in calculating application rate. Once you know flow rate and desired application rate ( injection rate), fertilization is at your finger tips. Are you misting, spray stake, drip tape, flood or overhead irrigating? Doesn't matter. Determine your strategy and fertigate.

Liquid and water soluble fertilizer sources are pricey, as are CRF's. “ Pencil out” your application costs through injection and you will see obvious economic sense. Efficiency in placement, rate, labor and timing are givens. Have you ever needed to “push” a crop? Have you diagnosed a micro­ nutrient problem? Do you apply injection approved fungicides, systemic insecticides, bacteriacides, algaecides or sanitizers? What about humic acids? Bottom line, add flexibility to the list of efficiencies.

Finally, not all “ mouse traps “ are created equal! Injection equipment varies greatly in capability and performance. When looking for accurate, flexible, dependable, long lasting, efficient and cost effective injection systems, look no further than Anderson Injectors. These systems will run and run and run. Add 60 years of customer service to the mix and see our injection systems are above and beyond the rest. Call anytime, talk to any of our thousands of customers or stop by.