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CHAPTER I

THE PROBLEM AND ITS BACKGROUND

1.1 Introduction

Agriculture plays a significant role in the Philippine economy. Involving

about 40 percent of Filipino workers, it contributes an average of 20 percent to

the Gross Domestic Product. This output comes mainly from agribusiness, which

in turn accounts for about 70 percent of the total agricultural output (CIDA-LGSP,

2003).Farming and fishing are major sources of livelihood in rural households in

the Philippines. Farming systems in the country are complex, multi-faceted, and

geared to promote efficient production and a steady source of income. According

to Nations Encyclopedia, the country's main agricultural crops are rice, corn,

coconut, sugarcane, bananas, pineapple, mangoes, tobacco and coffee.

Lobo, Batangas is very well known for their agricultural industry and the

continuous growth of tourism industry because of its wide agricultural land,

farming is mainly the sources of income of the people in the municipality. Lobo

aims to revive their coffee industry for which the province is really known for.

As the start for their advocacy, a coffee-based farm was introduced to the

students and farmers in Barangay Lagadlarin. The farm serves as an educational

platform for the agriculture students of BatStateU Lobo Campus. It was the

center of research and development, organic agriculture training and showcase

movement in agricultural community. Aside from coffee there are also other

crops planted like pili nuts and forage. According to Mr. Mars Panganiban, the

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person in-charge in the farm, coffee orchard has an area of approximately 575

square meters wherein this part of the farm is consisting of eight plots, currently

25 meters in length and 1 meter in wide. Considering the number of plots and

crops planted to it, the said place doesn’t have or use irrigation system.

Irrigation method is one of the most common types of cultivation. Effective

irrigation will influence the entire growth process from seedbed preparation,

germination, root growth, nutrient utilization, plant growth and regrowth, yield and

quality. But in the said farm, watered the plants by manual means of fetching the

water and because of the place of the farm, sometimes they depend on the rain.

Since manual method of irrigation requires extra time and effort, accompanied by

hot weather condition, sometimes the farmers doesn’t meet the require amount

of water and the crops suffered from different consequences like drying and

sagging of leaves. Farmers decided to apply organic fertilizer but still don’t

resolve these issues. Because there are different crops planted in the farm, a

unified or common irrigation system and fertilizer application is not applicable.

Different crop needs different amount of water and fertilizer to survive.

Different method of irrigation results to over irrigation or sometimes inadequate

amount of water needed by plants. The researchers proposed “Design and

Implementation of Distributed Fertigation System for the Orchard Section of

BatStateU Experimental Farm” that will help the students as well as the farmers

to irrigate their crops with the right amount of water and fertilizer needed by the

plants by means of fertigation method. This method is the process of applying

fertilizer to the crops along with irrigation. This also prevent the crops from being

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over fertilized that may cause root burn, browning of leaf margins and tips, black,

brown or rotting roots, slow to no growth, sudden death of seedlings, and leaf

drop.

1.2 Objective of the Study

This study aims to design and implement a Distributed Fertigation System

for the Orchard Section of BatStateU Experimental Farm.

1. To determine the considerations and requirements for the fertigation

system.

2. To design a fertigation system that will control water irrigation and fertilizer

application based on the requirements.

3. To install and commission the fertigation system.

4. To evaluate the effectiveness of the fertigation system.

1.3 Conceptual Framework

This section discusses the conceptual framework of the study that shows

the overall procedures of the research. The flow of the procedures and

processes shows how to come up with the proposed study.

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INPUT PROCESS OUTPUT
Knowledge Requirements Development Stage:
OOUTPUT Design and
 Instrumentation  Design and Layout Implementation of
and Control  Computations Distributed
 Process Control  Specification Fertigation System
 Ratio control  Installation and for the Orchard
 Irrigation assembly Section of
 Fertigation  Sensor calibration BatStateU
 Plant to Fertilizer  Performance Experimental
Calculations evaluation Farm
 Final testing

Fig 1.3 Conceptual Paradigm

The paradigm provides the details on how the research will proceed and

serves as an outline of the proposed study.

In order to determine the most appropriate irrigation method and fertilizer

distribution to the coffee based experimental farm, knowledge was obtained and

gathered. First with the input, this discussed the knowledge about irrigation,

fertigation, plant to fertilizer calculation, ratio controls and monitoring. The system

focused on the coffee crop while taking soil moisture and fertilizer requirement

into considerations.

After gathering the input, the process design and development will be

formulated. The design stage will include the layout of the system, specification

of parts and materials availability. Calculations on ratio control of fertilizers and

water required by the plant is to be studied. Moreover, calibration of sensors will

also be conducted. The system will be programmed for the coffee plant based on

data but can be used by other crop depending on the user’s input. The final stage

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will be the testing and troubleshooting of the system achieving the output which

is the Distributed Fertigation System.

1.4 Significance of the Study

Coffee industry is now being revived by the farmers of Lobo aiming to

produce high quality coffee bean which the place is already known of. The study

will introduce a semi-automated process of irrigation and fertilizer application in a

controlled manner that will help farmers to produce quality crops in a simple and

most efficient way. When combined with an efficient irrigation system both nutrients

and water can be manipulated and managed to obtain the maximum possible yield

of marketable production.

The researchers believe that the students will benefit on this study. Since the

design of the new system will take an essential part on distribution of fertilizer is

accurately applied. Moreover, the automation will help them monitor plant growth

and achieve their desired yield of crops.

Another importance of the study is for the farmers to be aware of the role

of technologies in helping them achieve better crop production and maintenance.

It will also help them monitor the crops without too much exposure from the sun,

effort of manually mixing the water and fertilizers and distributing them in the

traditional way.

This study will also help the industry of coffee in the country since nutrition

affects bean size and bean quality, both of which determine the value of the

coffee produced. It is worth remembering that for optimum growth and

productivity, the coffee plant requires adequate nutrients.

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1.5 Scope and Delimitation of the Study

The study was focused only to the design and implements a distributed

fertigation system which is installed in the orchard section of experimental farm.

The commonly used irrigation systems are manual irrigation and sprinkler

irrigation. The study includes the system where the fertilizer and water is

combined and distributed equally to the crops. The study about drip irrigation will

be used as reference. Manual way of irrigation and fertilizer application was also

observed for additional information.

The study delimits itself to only four plots. These plots where chosen

because currently they are the plots with complete coffee crops planted

according to Sir June, the caretaker of the farm, those are the plots that they

wanted to maintain. Mr. Mars Panganiban requested to alternate the emitter

connected to the pipe to maximize the distance of the coffee plants in the

orchard. The coffee plants not covered by emitter will remove by the farm and let

the remaining trees to grow at higher elevations. The researchers also include

the study on what specific amount of water and fertilizer is needed by the coffee

in its development stages. The soil is also included as a factor to be considered

for the proper selection of fertilizer appropriate for the coffee plant.

The project also delimits itself to the implementation of distributed

fertigation system for the coffee plants and not on producing good quality coffee

beans.

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1.6 Definition of Terms

Some terms used in the project were defined operationally and

conceptually defined for a deeper understanding of the study.

Chemigation is the injection of any chemicals such as nitrogen, phosporus often

involves insecticides, herbicides and fungicides.

Cultivation is the plowing done after crops come up in order to control the weed.

Drip (or micro) irrigation this system water is delivered at or near the root zone

of plants, drop by drop. This method can be the most water-efficient method of

irrigation, if managed properly, evaporation and runoff are minimized.

Emitters are the devices that connect to the drip line or hose. They are the small

pieces of equipment that disperse the water onto the plants.

Fertigation is the injection of fertilizers, soil amendments, and other water-

soluble products into an irrigation system.

Fertilizer is any material of natural or synthetic origin that is applied to soils or to

plant tissues to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth

of plants.

Gravimetric method involves weighing a moist sample, over drying it at 105

degrees Celsius for 24-48 h, reweighing and calculating the mass of water lost as

a percentage of the mass of the dried soil.

Irrigation is the application of controlled amounts of water to plants at needed

intervals. Irrigation helps grow agricultural crops, maintain landscapes,

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and revegetate disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of less than

average rainfall.

Inorganic Fertilizers also known as synthetic or commercial fertilizer. This

fertilizer is manufactured artificially or mined from mineral deposits.

Manual Irrigation type of irrigation which require no technical equipment and

generally cheaper than high tech systems of irrigation but need high labor inputs.

Sensor a device that converts the physical parameter into a signal which can be

measured electrically. The specific input could be light, heat, motion, moisture,

pressure, or any one of other environmental phenomena.

Soil Moisture also known as water content in soil. It is the quantity of water the

soil contains. This determines whether application of water is needed or not.

Sprinkler Irrigation method of applying water to plants through sprinkler which

then breaks into small water drops before it falls to the ground.