Efficient Use of Water and Fertilizers in Irrigated Agriculture: Drip Irrigation and Fertigation


Authors: Öner Çetin and Erhan Akalp

Volume/Issue: Volume 22: Issue 2

Published online: 01 Nov 2019

Pages: 97–102

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/ahr-2019-0019


Increasing food demand and decreasing water resources have composed a kind of pressure to find new technologies for efficient use of water and fertilizers in agriculture. Drip irrigation can be able to save irrigation water from 30% up to 50% in case it is properly designed, installed and operated compared to surface irrigation, and it can also enable increasing crop yields and crop quality. In order to get the highest benefits using drip irrigation, some soil data (infiltration rate, soil texture and soil structure), crop characteristics (row space, plant density, canopy cover, root system, crop species, crop variety) and water resources properties (water quality, surface or well water) must be considered in drip system design, management and operation. Fertigation is basically an agricultural technique and application together with water and fertilizer to soil and/or plants. It increases both yield and fertilizer use efficiency; therefore, leaching of nutrients is prevented. In order to utilize fertigation successfully, the four main factors must be considered: (i) the consumption rate of water and nutrients throughout the growth season that result in optimal yields, (ii) response in uptake of different crops to nutrient concentration in the soil and soil solutions, (iii) monitoring for total soil water potential, nutrients concentration in soil solution and % elements in plants as a function of time and (iv) root mass and distribution in the soil for given irrigation regimes and soil types.

Keywords: nutrient use efficiency, water use efficiency, water saving, sustainability



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