Fertigation in Soil Grown Crops

  • Cees Sonneveld
  • Wim Voogt


The word fertigation is derived by a composition from the words fertilization and irrigation and the action expressed by it is exactly what the word suggests: fertilization and irrigation in one activity. Since long years fertigation is a common practise in greenhouse industry. The development of this method of fertilizer supply originated from the fifties of the 20th century. In these years a beginning was made with drip irrigation and the small spots wetted by this type of irrigation did not offer any possibilities for top dressings by hand. Therefore with the introduction of drip irrigation also fertilizer diluters were introduced with which concentrated fertilizer solutions could be added to irrigation water streams. Different diluter systems have been developed, but the dilutions realised with these systems were not very precisely. This was not a strong handicap in the beginning, because the water irrigated was supplied by drip irrigation and did not touch the plant canopy. Thus, an accidental somewhat high concentration of fertilizers in the irrigation water did not affect the plant negatively. Afterwards, control and adjustments on the applied quantity of fertilizer always was possible and utmost, in that period the addition was still traditionally based on quantities of fertilizer per area. Later on, when overhead irrigation by sprinkler irrigation was developed, as a matter of course precise dilutions were required. This was essential for overhead sprinkling to prevent leaf damage by possibly high concentrations of fertilizers, as a result of an inaccurate function of the equipment. This precise addition of fertilizers was developed by on line measurement of the electrical conductivity (EC) of the irrigation water combined with injectors for the dosage of concentrated nutrient solution in the water stream. The increase of the EC in the irrigation water was used as a unit for the fertilizer concentration. The once attuned concentration is controlled by proportional adjustment of the injectors on basis of continuously measurements of the EC.


Irrigation Water Drip Irrigation Sprinkler Irrigation Greenhouse Soil Greenhouse Crop 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cees Sonneveld
    • 1
  • Wim Voogt
    • 2
  1. 1.NijkerkNetherlands
  2. 2.Wageningen UR Greenhouse HorticultureBleiswijkNetherlands

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