The interviews were carried out in a diversty of horticultural systems to cover a large part of practices applied in Europe. Here is the share of interview carried out in each countries. In total 371 interviews and 531 cropping systems. The share of teh number of interviews is similar to the share of horticultural cropping areas present in Europe in these countries. Cropping systems were diverse, and they are especially different in their management whether they are in soil or soilless, and outdoor or covered. The systems were different between regions. In teh NW Europe a high share of CS are soilless covered while in CE and MED,crops grown in soil were predominent, shared between covered and outdoor cropping systems. This is why we tried to get a representativity of the different kind of systems and management. Some are very high tech and other very simple ones.
Crops were mainly fruit vegetables ( tomato pepper cucumber) , soft fruits ( strawberry and berries), Orchards ( apple, citrus, peach ..;) leafy vegetables and potted ornamentals.
Now I will present you some outcomes of the interviews about water ressource management - > how to get to a sustainable use of the water ?
Our aim is to understand the issues faced by growers in the management of the water ressource. First, we found out that a lot of them relied on groundwater ( ~60% of our sample) . However there is an increasing interest in the use of rain water ( >30% of the sample) . IN teh Mediterranean region, irrigation communities are supplying water to the growers ( it can be surface water/ groundwater , depending on the place and period) . We observed also that a majority of the grower rely ony on 1 source , but nearly 40% rely on 2 or more water sources. ;;; % of the growers store water , but some systems are more likely to do that than others . Storage are much more used in SL systems , mainly due to their low buffer capacity ( water should be available at any time in case of problem) . MED growers store less water that NW and CE, also because they don’t use rainwater . The more used storage are lined storage; and then water silo for smaller quantities and ponds for lower budgets . So here are the practices, but let’s see what bottlenecks are linked to them?
The Lined storage are the most used ( esp in MED reion) . Water silo are more used in NW (nr 1, small areas?) . Also undergroung sto are used there and not in other regions. Unlined storage ( ponds) are the nr 1 in CE
Growers face 3 types of problems linked to the ressource management. 1 , the problems of quantity . Here you see the share of growers telling us that they met this kind of problem. This is mainly linked to summer shortage and especially in the MED region . But also growers in the NW claimed to face quantity probleme, mainly because they are lacking of storage capacity to collect enough rainwater to irrigate the whole cropping season . Often, they are forced to mix water sources. Another issue is the management of a collective water ressource , in MED region for example because growers are not choosing their irrigation time . Water quality issues were depending on the water type used. The recurring problem was iron management, and no solution seems to be effective . Second, the salinity was raised as an important issue ( sodium levels or Ec levels) , especially in Med or coastal region using groundwater. In countries using rainwater , not many issues were raised, except pH management Among sanitary problems, the presence of algae was far the most cited problem. This issue is also linked to the water storage as we will see later. The development of fungi and bacteria were also problematic but often specific to some CS
@ to do by region + + add percentages to Rather than showing a lot of very specific graphs , we will show the main outcomes -> in the format of a podium
However, for some issues like in the algae management, a lot of solution are available but their efficiency is not satisfying for growers Ony labour-intense and expensive solutions were satisfying ( but for how long ?) Moreover, the use of chemicals is anyway forbidden in a lot of countries. There is a real need for other affordable technologies to control the algae growth ( and seen the interest in the collection and storage of rainwater , this would be crucial). Growers are not willing to sped too much money and time for this becsaue it is a side issue but they are still quite concern by the issue and many of them were complaining about emitters clogging etc
We will show you some examples of the current available technologies and the growers feedback on it. Here is an overview of solutions set up by growers to avoid the 3 man quality-related issues. The color reflects their satisfaction about the solution For iron , growers set uo buffer reservoirs but a big area is then needed. Avoding strategies like changing or mixing water sources is also often choosen . Expensive devices like reverse osmosis show satisfaction for the users but small growers or growers that have a slight problem are not interested into it. And the other solutions are only fewly satisfying because they are not solving the problem at its basis ( just mitigating the consequences) . The situation is very similar for the high Na or EC level. This is mainly concerning the use of drainwater as a sources ( recirculation) so the strategies preferred by growers are to discharge this drainage or to use it for another purpose. Here again RO is seen as not affordable. For these 2 cases a lot of growers said they had no solutions For pH control easier tools are available but the hesitation is more in the automation of the process ( controling the pH and correcting automatically ) . The solution are more satisfying for growers
So again I wil show you some examples of the outcome of the benchmark study on monitoring tools to optimise the use of water and nutrients in fertigated cropping systems. We asked to the growers how they manage the water delievry to the crops
Here is an overview of all the kind of tools used to monitor irrigation . We can first see that there is a lot of tools available (and sometimes they are combined to make a decision) . But what is impressive it that the non-technological solutions are the most used, and far more than Here the differences between CS is obvious: On soilless systems, grower have in avarega between …. And … tools , whil the majority of growers growing in soil outdoor don’t have one. Ease of use tools with the minimum calibration needs are required Decision support systems are not so much used because of their lack of adaptabiliy to the heterogenous conditions. Growers are showing interest for wireless tools du to their adaptability. Also automated or semi-automated tools are developing but the cost is seen as a major constraint
For fertilisation monitoring, the availability of easy to use tools like EC and pH meter helps growers to keep an overview … of them are equipped with at least 1 tool to monitor the nutrient input. The use of analysis is developed , but sap analysis semm specific to Spain in soil grown systems while in other countries only the nutrient solution is controlled. In SL systems, the analysis of fdrain water is commonly used, but the growers complan about the required time to correct the nutrient solution if necessary . They would need easy-to-use live analysis tools toundersnatd better the crop consumption and adapt to it.
Also the fertigation recommendation guides are fewly available , because they are not adapted to the crop or the cropping conditions. A lot of growers are no really aware of them. This is something to highlight. 1/ of the growers not using them do not trust in the results of the schemes. Personal knowledge is again quite a lot used ( 20%)
52% of the growers are aware f solutions 81% of the growers mentioning other treatment options think they are viable, but only 48% of them would consider using them . The bottlenecks towards their adoption were mapped. I did not put the graphs here
Reducing production costs (water, energy, electricity)
Reducing production costs (water, energy, electricity) CE- Updated nutriment recommendation guides Learning from the experiences of other irrigators/ fertigators Visiting sites which demontsrate fertigation best practices MED- Visiting sites which demontsrate fertigation best practices Financial support/ subsidies to apply BMP or to implement technology Document about technologies-comparisons of systems NW-Learning from the experiences of other irrigators/ fertigators Visiting sites which demontsrate fertigation best practices Direct face-to-face access to fertigation specialists and leading researchers
For soilless cropping systems, the drainage discharge is the main source of nutrient pollution towards the environement, and also a source of ressource loss for the grower. Almost 20% of the growers declared that they did not recycle the drain water , but almost one third did not answer this question, suggesting that they probably don’t recirculate the drainage , or fewly. However , in 40% of the cropping systems, more than 80% of the drain water is recrculated , which is encuraging. Also the becoming of the discharged effluents raises issues. … % declare that they spread it on crops or bare filed, but doubts can be expressed on the facts they they get evaporated . The infiltration or direct discharge into the environment ( … %) is also an important issue. Growers need some solution to treat the drainage water . Generally, the implementation of practices to limit the effluent discharg is strongly correlated with the legislative context ansd the fact that the growers face controls to verify their emissions Strongly linked with legislation
% of grower in soilless recirculation + bottlenecks for recirculation
Spread on field/ crops 37% Evaporated 22% Flows in surface water/ditches 18%
% of growers in soil leaching to avoid EC + bottelnecks
The following technical issues were cited as disadvantages of the systems/ Homogeneity (or means to check it) Clogging of emitters No adpated sensors (to substrates, soil type, crop) Complex use (calibration , knowledge, maintenance) Complex installation (wires) Low flexibility
First results of the benchmark study
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research
and innovation programme under grant agreement No 689687
Some outcomes of the benchmark study
Issues on water source management
North-West Mediterranean Central-East
Percentage of growers mentioning an issue regarding their water source
Quality problems (mineral
Chemical pollution problems
Lack of storage
capacity Water share
EC/ Na pH
Chemical : very rare
Strongly linked to water storage
Issues on water source management
Sanitary : solutions applied against algae growth in water storage
A lot of techniques available but only few are efficient
Strong technical bottleneck
But short-term view
Issues on water source management
Quality: solutions applied to improve water quality
Need for solutions to these issues!
Growers are trying to mitigate the issue but not to
treat the causing reason permanently
Same issue for high Iron content in supply water
But not sustainable
Few efficient practices
Socio-economic bottlenecks linked to a sustainable
use of water
-Collect and use rainwater
-Implement drainage recycling
-Would use another source if available
-Increase storage capacity, improve storage conditions
-No reason to change – No problem
- Already the most sustainable
- No financial capacity
What would be convincing ?
If water problems occur
(poor water quality / water
(affordability, proven cost
efficiency ,subsidies) Nothing
+ Legal constraints
Are you considering using more sustainable water sources?
Water and Nutrient Management
How to optimise water and nutrient use?
soil grown systems
Non-tech solution are
still mostly used!
sensors are the
Irrigation management techniques/practices
A lot of technologies are available but few are used
Fertigation management practices
No trust in
Not used to
Do you use nutrient recommendation schemes?
Reasons for not implement them?
Growers awareness about technical solutions to improve their water management
Is it cost-efficient?
It is not adapted to
my system ( too low/
too high capacity)
Already equipped with satisfyin
Is it really
Bottlenecks towards implementation
Low priority topic
It is not
Which factors are the most important for adopting more efficient
fertigation & water management practices?
and soil damages
What would help you to implement best practices for fertigation?
Learning from the
experiences of other
access to fertigation
specialists / researchers
Learning from the
Financial support to
apply BMP or to
How to minimise the impact of fertigated cropping
systems on the environment?
Do you plan to implement new practices for limiting effluent discharge in the next 3 years?
Effluent management practices
Do you face controls regarding your emissions?
How much of the drainage are you recirculating?
Water treatment practices- disinfection
+ Substrate type
Use of the main
Specific needs and interests expressed by the growers:
Means to avoid
(or means to check it)
More adapted sensors (to
substrates, soil type, crop)
User friendly tools
(minimal calibration ,
Mobile and wireless devices
pressure / back-up
recording (e.g Ca/ K/
of the soil
water treatment…. )
NW- CE- MED