Last June our technical team – leaded by Product Manager Juan Manuel García – started a study to define an irrigation strategy for crops in soil with coir fiber. This trial was initiated after detecting that most of the farmers did not take advantage of the benefits of coir fiber when it was incorporated into the soil.
Consequently, as a result of our study, we’ve developed Smart Hydroponic Grow System, an innovative solution that combine Soil Improvement Techniques with a fertigation strategy. Thus, farmers can increase their productivity by maximizing the colonization of the coir total volume by the plant’s roots 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 García. “Our aim was to carry out multi-frequency irrigations and constant volumetric endowments to take advantage of the physical and chemical properties that coir can give to the crop. This helps farmers boost their productivity”, he concluded.
To know what the appropiate irrigation strategy for each crop is, first is indispensable to 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 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.
The firsts results of our study confirmed a production increasing up to 40% in comparison with the previous harvest. Even though the initial investment in this technique was higher than a soil growing system, in the first year the productivity revenues were significant, even in the second year of production reaching a productivity increasing up to 30%.
The success of the study was possible thanks to the crop parameters monitoring that allowed to implement an irrigation strategy based on low volumetric dotations and multi-frequency irrigation adapted to the crop requirements as of the data collected.