One of the most important aspects in commercial cultivation is the need for farmers to get nutrients to their crops. A nutrient dosing or delivery system that injects fertilizers or other water-soluble solutions into large batch tanks or irrigation lines is known as fertigation. Some automated systems manage only the nutrient dosing process equipment, other systems integrate various fertilization recipes, air gauge and scheduling and other nutrient dosing activities.
High-quality fertigation systems do more than feed nutrients to plants, they can measure temperature levels, pH, and electrical conductivity (EC). Optimizing nutrient levels and water management is key to avoiding wasting valuable resources.
Nutrient Dosing Methods
There are basically two ways to dose fertilizing nutrients to an irrigation system:
- Dilute Tank Control, a batch method
- In-Line Injection
With the batch method of Dilute Tank Control, fertilizers are premixed and stored in a tank with the final feed concentration strength until needed. This is an easy and safe method to achieve final dilution strength. With a premixed batch separate from distribution, the nutrient solution can be removed at any flow rate without affecting fertilizer concentration.
In spite of the many advantages of the dilute tank control method, in-line injection systems are even more popular for larger operations due to a few distinct advantages. With in-line injection of nutrients, large holding tanks are not required as nutrients are continuously injected into the water stream from a concentrated stock solution as irrigation is required. In addition to immediate and controlled dosing of nutrients, in-line injection provides the opportunity to alter nutrient recipes when needed for different crops or feed recipes.
Some automated nutrient dosing systems employ a single element design allowing the formula to be changed between different sets of stock tanks. This allows an operator to dial in different nutrient recipes on the same irrigation system. In-line injection nutrient dosing provides multiplexing capacity on a single element with different options available for use one at a time.
In-line injection dosing of nutrients provides flexibility to farmers for fertigation systems and can range from simple mechanical injectors to fully automated, pressurized nutrient control systems. With an atmospheric injection system, water and the fertilizer are blended in a non-pressurized tank requiring a re-pressurizing pump for accurate dosing.
When to Consider Automated Control and Monitoring of Nutrient Dosing
Automated control and monitoring of nutrient dosing systems are beneficial when irrigation scheduling is required or when farmers must inject multiple stock solutions to make a single dilute feed. Automated control is also beneficial if regular adjustments to pH are required or when changes of the source water chemistry are needed for different crop requirements. For large operations that need continuous record-keeping with safety monitoring or alarms, automated dosing and monitoring is a must.
Automated controls include high quality dosing equipment such as a metering pump and monitoring equipment.
Illinois Process Equipment for Quality Dosing Pumps
IPE ensures that your process equipment provides the optimum flow rates and pressure for your application, along with reliable operation, safety, and simplified maintenance to reduce costs and maximize equipment uptime.
IPE is the Midwest leading supplier of process equipment and high-quality pumps to meet the needs of various industries and applications. We are set apart from other pump suppliers by our technical expertise, comprehensive services, and responsiveness to our customer needs. Contact us to learn more about measured nutrient dosing for fertigation and other pump process applications.