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Nutrient Management :: Fertigation

Fertigation

Fertigation is a method of fertilizer application in which fertilizer is incorporated within the irrigation water by the drip system. In this system fertilizer solution is distributed evenly in irrigation. The availability of nutrients is very high therefore the efficiency is more. In this method liquid fertilizer as well as water soluble fertilizers are used. By this method, fertilizer use efficiency is increased from 80 to 90 per cent.

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Fertigation Micro Irrigation and Fertigation

Fertilizer efficiencies of various application methods

Nutrient Fertilizer use efficiency (%)
Soil application Fertigation
Nitrogen 30-50 95
Phosphorous 20 45
Potassium 50 80

 Advantages of fertigation

  • Nutrients and water are supplied near the active root zone through fertigation which results in greater absorption by the crops.
  • As water and fertilizer are supplied evenly to all the crops through fertigation there is possibility for getting 25-50 per cent higher yield.
  • Fertilizer use efficiency through fertigation ranges between 80-90 per cent, which helps to save a minimum of 25 per cent of nutrients.
  • By this way, along with less amount of water and saving of fertilizer, time, labour and energy use is also reduced substantially.

Water saving, yield and profit under drip and drip fertigation systems

Crops Water Saving (%) Yield (t/ha) Profit (Rs/ha)
Conventional Drip Drip+
Fertgn
Conventional Drip Drip +
Fertgn
Banana 35 26 30 37 81000 98000 120000
Sugarcane 29 120 160 207 30000 47000 68000
Tomato 32 45 56 65 56000 77000 95000

Fertilizer used in fertigation

  • Urea, potash and highly water soluble fertilizers are available for applying through fertigation.
  • Application of super phosphorus through fertigation must be avoided as it makes precipitation of phosphate salts. Thus phosphoric acid is more suitable for fertigation as it is available in liquid form.
  • Special fertilisers like mono ammonium phosphate (Nitrogen and Phosphorus), poly feed (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium), Multi K (Nitrogen and Potassium), Potassium sulphate (Potassium and Sulphur) are highly suitable for fertigation0 as they are highly soluble in water.   Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu, B, Mo are also supplied along with special fertilisers.

Fertilizers commonly used in fertigation

Name N – P2O5 – K2O content Solubility
(g/l) at 20 C
Ammonium nitrate
Ammonium sulphate
Urea
Monoammonium phosphate
Diammonium phosphate
Potassium chloride
Potassium nitrate
Potassium sulphate
Monopotassium phosphate
Phosphoric acid
34-0-0
21-0-0
46-0-0
12-61-0
18-46-0
0-0-60
13-0-44
0-0-50
0-52-34
0-52-0
1830
760
1100
282
575
347
316
110
230
457

Specialty water soluble fertilizers

Name
N % P2O5 % K2O %
Polyfeed 19 19 19
Polyfeed 20 20 20
Polyfeed 11 42 11
Polyfeed 16 8 24