Our thechnical department has started a study to define an appropiate irrigation strategy for crops in soil with coir fiber. This trial has been initiated after detecting that most of the farmers do not take advantage of the benefits of coir fiber when it is incorporated into the soil. Therefore, our goal with this study is to increase farmers productivity by promoting and maximizing the plant’s root system’s colonization of coir fiber volume through irrigation strategies adapted to crop’s needs.
“The most common problem in farms that cultivate incorporating coir fiber into the soil is irrigation management, coinciding with high-endowment, low-frequency irrigation” explained Juan Manuel García , Projar’s Product Manager and coordinator of this study. “Our aim is to carry out multi-frequency irrigations and constant volumetric endowments to take advantage of the extraordinary physical and chemical properties that coir can give to the crop. This will help farmers boost their productivity of the plantations”, he concluded.
To know what the appropiate irrigation strategy for each crop is, researchers must first know the specific crop’s water needs. For this, the irrigation method must be calculated based on the crop’s level of transpiration, the level of incident radiation, and the vapor pressure deficit (which is given by the relative humidity and temperature in the greenhouse). “In addition to these parameters, we will take into account the crop’s characteristics and the physical properties of the substrate. Thus, we’ll be able to determine how much water must be irrigated (provision) and when the crops must be irrigated (frequency),” García stated.
To measure and control all these values, we have installed a climatic station and a set of continuous measurement sensors inside the greenhouse. This climatic station is made up of environmental probes that measure the global radiation, temperature, and relative humidity. Besides, probes are incorporated directly into the substrate and soil to determine the humidity, conductivity, and temperature in the plant’s root environment.
“Our goal is to maintain homogeneous humidity and conductivity conditions throughout the physical volumen of the substrate to achieve maximum root development in coir fiber by using efficiently water and nutrients” García concluded.
The firsts results and conclusions will come up next september.