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Soilless Technology

Traditional Farming

Modern Agriculture

Soilless Growing in artificial


substrate in a growing system

Advantages

Ability to monitor and control water and fertilizer quantities

Optimal moisture in the substrate

Optimal supply of nutrients

Ability to disinfect between growing periods

Advantages

Water recycling
A.

Cost-effective

B.

Environmentfriendly solution

Excellent solution when soil is not suitable for growing crops

(salinity, drainage problems, etc.)

Yield and quality opportunities

Limitations

Low root volume


Low nutrient storage
Trace elements-important to control
Low buffering capacity
Fast changes in pH
Salinity water quality

Root Volume

Cultivation

Root Zone vol. (l/m2)

Water content (%)

Available water (l/m2)

Soil

500

30

150

Peat

25

50

12

Rockwool

15

60

10

Nutrient Storage

Cultivation

Available water (l/m2)

N gr/m2

Soil

150

52

Peat

12

3.4

Rockwool

10

2.1

Ideal Substrate

High water capacity and mobility

Sufficient air/water ratio

Light weight

Stable

Not saline

Physical and Chemical


Properties

For efficient utilization of the substrate, it is


necessary to be familiar with its physical and
chemical properties, for the optimization of the
irrigation and fertilizer requirements.

Physical Properties

Air/water ratio
Water Retention Curve
Water content
Air capacity
Volume weight

Water status
Water/air ratio will be determined mainly by the
size of the particles.
Three main parameters should be considered:
Amount of available water (in a given
tension)
Water content
Air content

Air / Water ratio will be


determined mainly by size of particles
40
35

30

long fiber

25

short fiber

20
15
10
5
0
4

10

20

40

fiber sizes

60

150

<150

MESH

10

20

40

60

150

<150

MM

>4.75

4.75-1.7

1.7-0.85

0.85-0.3

0.36-0.2

0.25-0.1

<0.10

Water retention

Chemical properties

EC

pH

Mineral content

Exchangeable Cation Capacity

Types of Substrates
Substrates can be divided into two main groups:

Inorganic substrates

Organic substrates

Inorganic Substrates

Organic Substrates

Organic Substrates

Organic Substrates

Organic Substrates

Organic Substrates

Organic Substrates

Organic Substrates

Organic Substrates

Containers

In order to maintain an optimal air/water ratio for


the crop, the systems drainage capacity is very
important for all types of substrates.

The container height has to be optimized for each


container type and crop.

Containers

76

Containers

Containers

Containers

Containers

Containers

Containers

Containers

Containers

Container Sizes & Configuration


Water

Air

Air porosity

43

25

42

42

41

10

40

10

40

15

35

21

29

45

50

0
50

50
% of Volume

Water status will be also


determined by the container
configuration.

There are differences in water


status within the container.

Solid
Water
Air

Container Sizes & Configuration

MARI

Monitor

Analyze

Record

Implement

MARI

Online Monitoring

EC / pH

Automatically done by
Controller

NO3 / EC / pH

Manually every week

Cl
N-NO3
N-NH4

2-4 Weeks

K
P
Ca
Mg

Drainage
2-4 Weeks

Irrigation

Starting with 4-6 applications

Timing of intervals according to drainage percentage - 30-50%

Salinity Monitoring

Minerals accumulate easily, mainly Na, Cl, SO4

Easy leaching

Nutrition Principles in
Soilless Media

Determine the required nutrient according to the plants


development status.

Adjust the nutrition procedure according to the substrates


characteristics.

Adjust the concentration of fertilizers according to the


growing season (summer & winter).

Determine the optimal ratio between the various elements.

Adjust the pH level.

Avoid salinity problems

Absorption by Various Crops


Absorption concentrations for tomato and sweet pepper
expressed in mmol/l. The figures show year-round cropping
of 8 and 6 cases (experiments and nurseries) respectively.

Elements

Tomato

Sweet pepper

9.6

10.3

1.1

0.8

1.2

0.7

6.1

4.6

Ca

2.2

2.2

Mg

0.9

0.8

Guidelines for Soil-grown


Tomatoes during summer and winter

Winter

Summer

EC

2.1

1.4

3.3

2.2

Ca

3.8

2.5

Mg

2.6

1.7

7.5

3.8

2.5

0.15

0.15

Elements Ratio (mmol/l)

K:P
Ca:Mg
K:N
P
Na

Bicarbonate
SO4
Fe:Mn
Copper
Zn

1.5:1 or 2:1
4:1
6:1
1.4:1 1.8:1
NOT LINKED
Low as possible below 35 ppm input
and below target of 100 in slab
25-50 ppm producing pH of 5.5-5.8
60-100 ppm
1:1
2:1
0.2-0.03
not less then 0.2; over 1 ppm is toxicity

pH level

Reduce (or increase) pH to 5.5-6.5 in the irrigation solution.

Maintain the pH during the irrigation period.

Use acid to correct the pH by titrating the bicarbonate (HCO3-).

CO2
(HCO3-)

(HNO3)

H2O
NO3

C.N.L Advantage

C.N.L Advantage

A Better Environment
Friendly Approach

Higher yields per area unit

Accurate supply of water and fertilizers

Reuse of irrigation water

Recycling System
Recycling system
Drain
Reservoir

NMC 64

Water
Meter
Netafim By-Pass

Drain
Water
collection
tank

Sand
Filter

Drain Water
after UV
treatment
EC connector to
Dilution
Junction

NETALUX
high
pressure

Fertilizer
Fertilizer
Tank

Clean
Water

Dilution
Junction
Clean
water tank

Fertilizer
Tank

Hazards and Safety Guidelines


Root diseases

A disinfection system should be considered for most of the crops.

The system should be placed under the recycling systems.

Exceeding Nutrients Levels in Recycled Batch

An irrigation water monitoring solution is necessary for monitoring


of chemical properties.

Daily monitoring (Automatically), weekly monitoring (Manually),


and monthly monitoring (Lab).

Resetting the system accordingly

Reuse System
Greenhouse A
Soilless

Reuse System
Drain
Reservoir
Fertiliz
er Tank

EC connector to
Dilution Junction

Drain Water
collection
tank

M
Clean water
tank

Dilution
Junction

Fertiliz
er Tank

Greenhouse B
Soil

Environmental Friendly
Solutions Meet Economical Feasibility

Water Quantity (m3)

Irrigation Balance

Fertilizers Quantity (m3)

Fertilizer Balance

Economic Study

Recycling System
12,500 m3 Water /he x 20 cent = $2,500
11,750 Li. Fertilizers /he x 34 cent = $3,995
Total water and fertilizer expenses /he = $6,495

Control (Without Recycling)


35,000 m3 Water /he x 20 cent = $7,000
50,500 Li. Fertilizers /he x 34 cent = $17,170
Total water and fertilizer expenses /he = $24,170

Potential Saving; $ 24,170 - $ 6,495 = 17,675 /he

Summary

Soilless technology can offer new opportunities for


Growers

Soilless technology means efficient irrigation and


fertigation management, resulting in increased yield and
improved quality

A friendly environment approach is required to ensure


the profitability of the crops

Thank You for Your Attention !