Fertilizer use varies from field to field and orchard to orchard, but it annually ranks as one of the major costs confronting California growers.
Most fertilizers prices have come off their highs from a few years ago, but that doesn’t mean they’re cheap. Depending upon the number of acres being farmed and the crop being grown, the price tag each year can run into the high six figures or beyond.
Earlier this year, AgWeb reported on a study conducted by David Widmar, an economist at Purdue University. He found the cost of many common fertilizers has risen compared to 2015. They include:
- Urea: A price of $361 per ton is 19% higher than last fall. According to Widmar, urea also is 1.23 times the price of anhydrous ammonia on a per-unit of nitrogen basis.
- Anhydrous Ammonia: $522 per ton in March, about 8% higher than just two months earlier.
- DAP: About $400 per ton.
- Potash: More than $300 per ton, an increase of about 12% since last August.
At any price, fertilizer is an expensive investment for California farmers.
But what if you could save on fertilizer while also reducing water use in a safe, sustainable way – without reducing yields?
Though that scenario might seem like a fantasy to some growers, it represents the exact results achieved in more than 30 other countries by Aqua-4D Water Solutions, a Swiss company that has a proven track record internationally and now is expanding into the United States.
Many benefits of the Aqua-4D system
Aqua-4D’s innovative irrigation system is a game-changer for farmers. It uses an electromagnetic field to dissolve minerals in water before it is applied to the soil and absorbed by plants. The science is complex, but the results are immediate:
- Water emerges that has been permanently transformed. It looks the same, but its characteristics are ideal for plants and the soil.
- Measureable reductionsin soil salinity often can be seen in less than a month with continuous use of the system. Salt and other mineral crystals gradually are dissolved and transported by the treated water below the rhizosphere, allowing for sustainable cultivation.
- Positive plant reaction is swift. Application of the Aqua-4D water changes the way a plant behaves, allowing it to better absorb water and the elements within it in the proper amounts.
One of the many positive aspects of the Aqua-4D system is that plants need less water. Many farmers see consistent water savings of up to 30% or more. And because fertilizer often is introduced to plants via today’s sophisticated irrigation systems, similar reductions can be realized there.
Less water and less fertilizer mean more money in farmers’ pockets.
Tunisian grower reduces fertilizer use by 25%
A grower in Africa said he reduced fertilizer usage by 25% and eliminated pipe clogging with the Aqua-4D system – all while improving the quality of his tomatoes.
“Rather than investing in a reverse osmosis system (twice the cost), we decided to install this electromagnetic treatment system in August 2008,” said Abderrahim Oufaquir, who owns 20 greenhouses in Tunisia. “I would like to congratulate Aqua-4D for this technology, which is very efficient for such difficult land and water quality conditions. I would be delighted to recommend this system to my counterparts in the industry.”
Less fertilizer ends up in underground water supplies
In California, an important health consideration in applying less fertilizer to fields, vineyards and orchards is that less of it percolates through the soil into underground water supplies.
Many communities in heavily farmed regions of the state are dependent upon groundwater for human consumption. Too much fertilizer applied in nearby fields potentially can be harmful. Aqua-4D reduces that risk.
In addition, the Aqua-4D system:
- Treats surface water or groundwater supplies
- Adapts to virtually all drip or sprinkler irrigation systems
- Requires no maintenance, no lost water, and no brine or other leftovers to manage
- Has no magnets or filters to replace, and no dangerous chemicals to handle
- Uses only a small amount of electricity and can be solar-powered
- Provides a quick ROI as crop yields go up while labor and production costs often are reduced