Precise watering is very important for the plant since it prevents water shortage and unintended plant stress and influences the root system’s health. With a healthier root system, the nutrient uptake will be better, resulting in a higher production. As part of the Fertinnowa project, CATÉ is currently showcasing the Priva Root Optimizer in a greenhouse. With the Root Optimizer, watering is automatically controlled to the conditions, the state of the crop and the type of substrate and as a result based on the plant’s needs.
Two greenhouses have been compared, both of which have irrigations based solely on the radiation sum measured with a solarimeter and minimum/maximum rest time between two cycles. One is also equipped with the Root Optimizer software. Both setups have slab scales, which give the grower information about the weight in real time and give him the opportunity to adjust the irrigation settings.
CATÉ’s current results show that the Root Optimizer software manages irrigation. During a sunny day, the greenhouse with solely a solarimeter provides sufficient information to trigger regular irrigations at the right time. On a mixed day, however, the Root Optimizer deals better with variations in water uptake than the solarimeter. The results show that the Root Optimizer software calculates water uptake and drainage, not the sum of solar radiation.
As an example of a mixed day, 7 August was a good day to see the difference between irrigation with and without the additional sensors and software. During the morning, the greenhouse equipped with the Root Optimizer initiated three irrigation cycles compared to two in the other greenhouse. In total, the greenhouse with the Root Optimizer received one extra irrigation opposed to the other greenhouse. Currently, CATÉ is still working with the Root Optimizer and implementing it in more complex settings.
At the end of November, CATÉ hosts a growers’ event to share the insights on irrigation management