Is Overwatering Costing You?
by Michael Kovalycsik, National Sales & Marketing Director, Delta T Solutions
It makes good business sense to reduce water use no matter where you are, but in California, it’s an absolute necessity. This year has been one of the driest on record, with the state seeing less than 60% of average precipitation for the water year, according to the California Department of Water Resources.
“The vast majority of growers overwater, which can actually be very expensive,” says Dr. Marc van Iersel, professor, plant nutrition and physiology in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Georgia. “But because underwatering results in symptoms that show up quickly, many growers feel that overwatering is the safe way to go.”
In addition to the cost of running pumps, overwatering can cost growers in the form of plant loss due to disease, additional fungicide use and fertilizer leaching. “Because many of the detrimental impacts of overwatering occur slowly (e.g. disease), many growers don’t see the direct link between overwatering and disease,” says van Iersel.
He recommends asking yourself the following questions to calculate how much overwatering may be costing you:
In addition, using soil moisture sensors can be extremely helpful in determining a crop’s water needs, because “they provide an objective measurement of the water status of the substrate,” says van Iersel. “Having those data at your fingertips helps to make better decisions about when to water and how much to water. And, in many cases, such sensors can be integrated into greenhouse control systems and be used to automatically irrigate when needed.”
Delta T Solutions has designed and manufactured customized heating solutions for greenhouse growers using hydronic (hot water radiant) heat for 30 years. To learn more about cost-effective in-ground bench and perimeter heating systems; high-efficiency boiler systems; and other systems that improve crop health, contact Delta T at 800-552-5058 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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