Irrigation + Fertigation

The Future of Agriculture: Maximizing Crop Yields With Fertigation Technology

Fertigation technology uses precision farming to boost crop yields, cut costs, and reduce the environmental impact of fertilization to promote sustainable agriculture.

For centuries, growers have used intricate irrigation systems to deliver water to their crops. Drip and pivot systems have become standard methods to irrigate large fields of crops more efficiently. And in recent years, growers have incorporated technology into those systems to more effectively water crops, address growing concerns about water scarcity, and meet the increasing demand for food and fiber as the population across the world grows. 

However, it wasn’t until the 20th century that the concept of fertigation- applying fertilizers through those irrigation systems- began to gain popularity. Since then, fertigation has become an increasingly common practice for growers compared to traditional fertilizer application methods. 

Below we’ll discuss the four main benefits of incorporating technology into your fertigation process. 

1. Precision Farming

Fertigation technology such as automation and remote control and monitoring through a drip system can help growers apply fertilizers with precision. This ensures the right amount of nutrients are delivered to each plant.

By utilizing a drip system that is probably already in place, growers can apply fertilizer in a liquid form which allows the plant to absorb the nutrients immediately upon administration. 

“Applying nutrients with water has been shown to result in great crop growth and yield in both fruit and vegetable crops when compared to traditional soil application methods,” according to an article published by the University of Florida.

On average, crop yield has been shown to increase by 12 percent when using drip fertigation compared to traditional fertilization methods. The study claims this yield increase can be primarily attributed to meeting crop nutrients in a timely and efficient manner. 

Fertigation v. traditional graphFigure 1: Onion yield with drip fertigation (blue) and farmers practice (red)
Credit: M. Jayakumar, M. Rajavel & U. Surendran

Furthermore, many fertilizer types dissolve at varying temperatures, known as “solubility”. Some smart fertigation technologies can measure the temperature so growers can determine the best time to utilize particular fertilizer solutions. 

The ability to collect data with smart farming technology can also help growers monitor nutrient dispersion over time and how it might be affecting plant health, so growers can adjust dosages accordingly. Not only does this minimize waste, it reduces the risk of over-or-under fertilizing crops and can improve the overall health of the plant.

2. Efficiency

Smart fertigation systems can save time and labor compared to traditional methods of fertilization. These systems can be programmed to apply specific fertilizers at specific times and in specific amounts, without requiring the constant monitoring and adjustment by operators.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), agriculture is ranked among the most dangerous professions in the United States, and training good farm hands has become a growing concern for growers. Emerging agriculture technology can improve the safety of farming operations with its remote monitoring, control and automation capabilities. And it can also reduce the number of farm hands necessary for daily operation. These capabilities allow operators to manage multiple fields and farms at the same time, from anywhere in the world. Fertigation technology can also improve safety by:

  • Decreasing travel time and potential vehicle accidents
  • Reducing the amount of physical contact with fertilizer and other chemicals
  • Enabling remote oversight and control of farm assets during hazardous weather conditions

3. Cost Savings

The precision and efficiency created by fertigation technologies can in turn lead to cost savings. That ability to save trips to and from a field will not only save the grower in labor costs, but will also prevent potential wear and tear on the vehicle (and y’all have seen those gas prices!)

The USDA reports that farm labor costs have increased in the last decade, causing producers to adjust their production and management practices to compensate for the rising costs. Growers who are not able to increase their yields may find that labor costs will significantly impact their business and may even put it at risk.

By reducing waste and increasing efficiency, growers can save money on both fertilizer and labor costs.

4. Sustainability

Incorporating technology into the fertigation process can also help growers reduce their environmental impact. By using precise amounts of fertilizer, growers can prevent excess nutrients from leaching to the soil or nearby waterways, which can harm aquatic ecosystems. 

Fertigation uses less fertilizer than traditional fertilizer systems. Because smaller quantities are applied to the soil, little is available for leaching under heavy rainfall events. According to the University of Florida, less leaching potential reduces the risk of groundwater contamination. 

An All-In-One Platform for Your Irrigation and Fertigation Needs

The ability to remotely monitor and control (as well as automate) irrigation and fertigation patterns has given growers more confidence in taking care of their crops. Furthermore, the USDA has conservation programs to provide financial and technical assistance to encourage the adoption of emerging technologies to help operators become more efficient. 

SitePro is proud to help small farmers (independent owner/operator, etc.) and large growers (commercial scale, etc.) alike in their efforts to preserve natural resources while optimizing their time and crop yield. You’re feeding and clothing the world - let us worry about the technology to make it easier.

Our patented remote control technology and automation gives growers the ability to see what’s happening at their farms and respond accordingly based on real-time data. That precision through drip tape allows operators to administer water and fertilizer to their crops where they want and when they want.

Those remote capabilities also contribute to cost savings in regards to reducing waste. Our technology can measure temperature to determine the solubility of each nutrient and can alert users to any potential blockage in the drip tape. Furthermore, you can reduce labor costs by managing your irrigation and fertigation remotely. No more unnecessary trips to and from the farm- manage your fertigation and irrigation directly from the comfort of your own home or office. 

Need to know if you’re under or over fertilizing your crops? SitePro’s ability to collect both real-time and historical data allows you to compare crop health and adjust dosages accordingly. This in-depth data can also be used by agronomists to make prescriptive recommendations on individual crops or entire farms.

We want to put the power over your resources in your hands - literally. With automated fertigation schedules, integrated fertigation control, and robust remote capabilities, we’ve created better management for growers across the country. We would love to partner with your operations to help optimize your fertigation. Maximize crop yield, save time and money, and reduce environmental impact with SitePro.

Interested in learning more? See how our friends at McCoy Farm in West Texas save time and maximize operational efficiency with SitePro.


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