The ongoing trend of growing in substrates increases the necessity of efficient water and nutrient management for greenhouse production. An optimal irrigation strategy is essential to maximize the growth and the crop quality and it also significantly contributes to cost savings. DrainVision was developed to support growers throughout their decision making.
What is the DrainVision system?
"DrainVision allows for better insight into the drain performance and water availability for the plants. The system presents the water content in the substrate, EC in the drain, irrigation and drain quantity and timing", says Ziv Omer, DrainVision Product Manager & Agronomist with Paskal.
Accurate data are provided in five-minute intervals, and are available in a friendly user interface in real time. The system offers online alerts, based on thresholds that have been defined by the grower.
Monitoring drain and water tension
"Most of the growers measure the drain at the end of the day. However, measuring drain quantity, EC and water tension during the day are important factors for optimal growth and may prevent plant stress", Ziv explains.
"Excess of water could negatively affect the plant’s growth as a result of low oxygen levels in the root zone, reduced mineral uptake and pathogen development."
In most cases growers try to maintain a drain percentage of 20-30% of irrigation. By using the DrainVision system the grower can easily follow the drain performance throughout the day in addition to EC levels.
Significant cost saving
A case study in a four-hectare tomato greenhouse in Spain, shows significant cost savings by using DrainVision system. By using the DrainVision system, the grower successfully reduced the daily drain from 60% to 30% and improved the water content in the root zone without a negative effect on the growth (figure 1).
Optimization of irrigation management by DrainVision:
Click here for enlargement.
Irrigation of 2.1 liter/tray/day accompanied with 1.3 liter/tray/day of drain, which is 62% drain (A), create high saturation level in the substrate that reached almost 28,500 gr at the peaks (B). After adjustment of the irrigation cycles, an irrigation of 1.4 liter/tray/day and drain of 0.4 liter/tray/day (33% of irrigation) has been achieved (C). Smaller irrigation quantity decreases the water content in the substrate in the morning and the afternoon although a saturated level has been maintained during the noon (D).
The reduction in the daily drain percentage saved irrigation costs as well as improved the plant growth and yield. The total increase in gross income can reach more than €20,000 (hectare/season) in tomatoes.
DrainVision systems is now operating in 13 different countries and provides monitoring solutions and automatic irrigation to different types of crops.
Mr. Roee Shavit, a grower from ‘Tikun Olam’, one of the advanced cannabis nurseries in Israel, mentioned that “by following the DrainVision we are now having the capability of adjusting the drain performance and achieving the desired EC level at the end of the irrigation cycle. "DrainVision enables us to reduce the use of water and fertilizers while maintaining a stable EC level in the drain. The saving of water and fertilizers can reach 20% at the end of the year”.
New features in DrainVision
Ziv explains how there are new features in DrainVision. "It is now possible to connect the DrainVision system to the main irrigation controllers in the market and to operate the irrigation automatically", he says.
"Also online alerts are now available in the DrainVision application. It is easy to define and change the thresholds in mobile or PC. The thresholds can be operated for each of the measured parameters: water content, drain, irrigation and EC in the drain", he says, summarizing: "Stay in control of your irrigation, monitor it efficiently, and save on your costs."