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Fertigation

Application of fertilizer through the drip irrigation system is called fertigation. It is the most advance and efficient practice of fertilization. Fertigation combines the two main factors in plant growth and development, water and nutrients. Fertigation is the most efficient method of fertilizer application, at it ensures application of the fertilizers directly to the plant roots (Patel & Rajput, 2001a). In fertigation, fertilizer application is made in small and frequent doses that fit within scheduled irrigation intervals matching the plant water use to avoid leaching. Fertilizer use efficiency upto 95% can be achieved through drip fertigation (Table 5).

Table 5: Fertilizer use efficiency

Nutrient

Fertilizer use efficiency (%)

Soil application

Drip

Drip and fertigation

N

30-50

65

95

P #

20

30

45

K

50

60

80

Advantages of fertigation

Fertigation has the following advantages:

  • • Less labour, equipment and energy needed for receiving, storing and fertilizer application
  • • Reduced soil compaction
  • • Prevents damage to crop during delivery
  • • No restrictions or limitation on application timing
  • • Accurate and uniform distribution for superior efficiency
  • • Application restricted to most active root zone which reduces waste
  • • Adaptability of nutrients supply to the growth curve resulting in better crop response
  • • Split applications for better control of run-off and leaching into groundwater.
  • • Extremely efficient method of accurately delivering uniform, minute quantities of minor elements
  • • Complete adaptability to automation.
  • • Can be used for other purposes, i.e. pestigation, soil amendments, maintenance
  • • Can overcome negative effects of saline/waste water.
 
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