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

An EU-funded venture promoted the trade, screen and transfer of ground breaking fertigation systems which combine fertilisation with irrigation. This tactic will enable farmers to use limited water methods additional sustainably whilst cutting down hazardous nutrient losses to the atmosphere.


© Floki #88779044, 2020

Fertigation describes the injection of fertilisers and other water-soluble products into crop-irrigation systems. Benefits for farmers and other horticulturists incorporate preserving water, income and labour, additional correct fertiliser application, and diminished nutrient losses.

Nonetheless, in European countries, the cultivation of fertigated crops is however constrained by water scarcity, whilst intense cultivation poses risks to water high-quality. Even though ground breaking systems are available to make improvements to fertigation, there is a absence of recognition concerning these useful alternatives and they are however not commonly carried out at farm degree.

The EU-funded FERTINNOWA venture established out to treatment the circumstances by producing a know-how base on ground breaking systems and practices for fertigation. ‘Through the venture, we wished to map the complications faced and the answers available, and then to trade facts and alternatives,’ suggests venture coordinator Els Berckmoes of the Analysis Centre for Vegetable Production (PSKW) in Belgium.

Crucial venture effects involved a benchmark study of farmers and publication of the ‘Fertigation Bible’, whilst the FERTINNOWA thematic community has enabled the transfer of several ground breaking systems and very best practices.


The venture group interviewed more than 370 farmers, in nine EU Member States and South Africa, representative of many horticultural sectors in distinctive local climate zones. Apart from providing an overview of the complications faced and the alternatives getting carried out, it also gauged farmers’ know-how about ground breaking or substitute alternatives and the boundaries protecting against their implementation.

One most important concentrate was on producing a database of ground breaking systems and practices for fertigation in horticultural crops.
From this, the FERTINNOWA group designed factsheets for improving upon fertigation in, for illustration, fruit, vegetable and ornamental creation systems. All the facts collected by the venture was compiled into an ambitious report referred to as the Fertigation Bible.

‘The Fertigation Bible has come to be a compendium of a hundred thirty systems that are described from a technological, useful, authorized and socio-financial issue of see,’ clarifies Berckmoes. ‘Since the launch of this compendium in April 2018, it has been downloaded 1 900 times. During our operate, we exchanged 28 systems from just one partner or region to a different, 11 of which had been determined as quite ground breaking,’ she carries on.

The systems promoted by the venture incorporate remote sensing of crop variability for productive soil and water management, a model for the prediction of irrigation blended with the use of moisture-written content detection probes, and a decision-help technique for automatic irrigation management.

All 28 systems had been demonstrated beneath standard subject problems to clearly show farmers their likely. ‘We saw that even ‘non-innovative’ or a lot less-ground breaking alternatives could have a appreciable gain in some regions and we succeeded in increasing the curiosity of area farmers in these systems,’ Berckmoes suggests.

Stream of facts

FERTINNOWA has also had advantageous social and financial impacts on farms and across regions, in accordance to Berckmoes. The agricultural sector is just one of the premier customers of water and just one of the biggest polluters in terms of nitrate emissions. The venture resolved these problems by endorsing systems that help a additional economical and economical use of water and lower environmental impacts, thus helping to accomplish the most important aims of both equally the EU Drinking water Framework Directive and the Nitrates Directive.

A key element in the project’s success was the shut collaboration concerning distinctive partners. Applying an built-in multi-actor tactic, the FERTINNOWA know-how-trade system included researchers, growers, policymakers, industry, and environmental and consumer teams.

Moreover, the group designed an productive model for transferring systems to farmers, which can be replicated worldwide. For illustration, the Fertigation Bible is getting translated into Mandarin to provide the Chinese agricultural sector.
‘For several partners included in the venture, the FERTINNOWA initiative was a bridge to new opportunities and from time to time the initial actions in additional European initiatives,’ concludes Berckmoes. The venture outcomes are now commonly utilised to enable farmers and area and national authorities to fix their fertigation complications, although authorities dealing with fertilisation coverage, water scarcity, droughts and local climate adaptation are also benefitting from the outcomes.