Fertigation delivers all-round benefits

Babyleaf vegetables are being harvested up to two weeks earlier and yielding almost double that of initial production levels on the south-east Queensland property of Shannon Moss from Australia


Shannon has been operating Coastal Hydroponics near Stanthorpe for the past five years and specializes in growing a wide range of baby leaf vegetables,
including lettuces, spinach, rocket, red beat and Asian varieties.
These are produced on 9 hectares of red netting ground on one block and 9.3ha of open paddock area at another block.
The installation of an automated 1000-litre Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC) fertigation unit using Haifa high quality fertilizers at each block has led to vast production efficiency and produced high quality gains.


1000-litre Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC)


“For example, spinach that previously took 4-5 weeks to grow is now being harvested at just 21 days,” Shannon said.
”And yields of some varieties have doubled since we replaced our simple pressure differential (PD) tanks with the more sophisticated IBC and fertigation system”.
With assistance from Haifa Australia Northern Regional Agronomist, fertilizer rates have been adjusted and targeted to optimize plant growth and maximize cost efficiencies.
Shannon reported that one bag of water soluble Haifa Cal™ and one bag of Poly-Feed™ GG (Greenhouse Grade) with 2 percent extra magnesium were used per 2ha every week.

“Plant yields have responded well to these rates, uniform nutrient distribution and the current watering regime, increasing by an average 1.5 kilograms per row meter since the fertigation system was introduced’’, Shannon added.

Since installing the fertigation units at his two blocks, Shannon said he had reduced total fertilizer use by about one-third because nutrients were targeted at plant requirements.
This had generated big cost savings.
“We only have to check the tanks about once a week and the Haifa products are very easy to load into the system.
We maintain a year-round fertilizer diary near the tanks and staff finds the system simple to operate”.


 Checking out some of the lettuce production on Shannon’s property