Impact of Open Hydroponics (OH) Irrigation in the Citrus Industry

Open Hydroponics is a high-frequency (drip) irrigation combined with balanced fertiliser application system that adopts principles of soil-less hydroponics to field based production system (Martinez and Fernandez, 2004). This system is generally known as advanced fertigation system (AFS).

The root zone volume of AFS citrus crop is generally 0.5 m3 compared to the 6-10 m3 for a conventionally drip irrigated citrus.

As with any emerging technology, there are several unresolved issues associated with AFS including risk of excessive deep drainage, build up of salt, nutrients and heavy metals in the rootzone, nutrient leaching, inadequate, oversupply or imbalance of nutrients, yield and fruit quality and offsite impacts. The main aim of this project is to gain a better understanding of the solute dynamics under AFS with the aim to assess the implications of this management system in the short and long term compared with conventional systems.

Investigation includes water and key solute [NO3 - and Cl-] fluxes within and beyond the wetted rootzone, water use efficiency and structural damage. It is planned that the economics of crop production under AFS will also be explored.

Aims

The main aim of this project is to gain a better understanding of the solute dynamics under AFS with the aim to assess the implications of this management system in the short and long term compared with conventional systems. Investigation includes water and key solute [NO3- and Cl-] fluxes within and beyond the wetted rootzone, water use efficiency and structural damage. It is planned that the economics of crop production under AFS will also be explored.

Background

Advanced fertigation, a new method of irrigation and fertilizer management, has not been critically evaluated for its sustainability in Australian landscape. Although several forms of AFS are currently used, they all share the principle of high-frequency fertigation by using low flow drip irrigation for the reduced root zone volume.

As with any emerging technology, there are several unresolved issues associated with AFS including risk of excessive deep drainage, build up of salt, nutrients and heavy metals in the rootzone, nutrient leaching, inadequate, oversupply or imbalance of nutrients, yield and fruit quality and offsite impacts.


Metadata

Program

National Program for Sustainable Irrigation

Project ID:

SRD9

Related Topics

id: 2632 / created: 09 September, 2008 / last updated: 09 March, 2010