Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Fertigation system is vital for chili plant in order to feed and maintain the healthy grow to produce a good quality chili. The system need a daily check and proper service to give more efficient flow of nutrient and water. If at any point, the system clog then it will effect the plant. It is very critical especially for chili planted in poly bag as it can sustain only little substance and in short time for plant consumption. So for a complete and fully integrated fertigation system, normally a timer is required to control the plant feeding at the interval of 1 or 2 hours for few minutes. It will be able to schedule for 4 to 5 times a day which depend on the plant size. In our case, we have applied this system to 2000 plants which staggered in 2 location. As such we use few stop valves so that we are able to control the flow evenly on every row of our plants. We do not use the timer to control the flow because 1hp pump has low pressure if we set on one time for all. On the other 1000 plants, we still manage manually. It is not practical to follow our technique as it is time consuming and labour intensive. But to cater for a small qty, it would be less problem. We do in stages as to save money and see how it work best. For those of you who are interested in fertigation system, we advise you to prepare for a complete setting or close loop fertigation system for whole plant area. The cost will be double as you need a lot of accessories such 2 water tanks to cater for a constant supply, pump with higher capacity, few sizes of piping system, a lot of micro pipe and quality drippers. There are many choices available in hardware shops or fertigation suppliers nowadays that offer different type of materials with low and high quality depending on individual budget. You will learn more on it should you do the installation by you own but be prepare to have all the tools required such as the cutter, drill, hand saw, hand glove etc. It is advisable for those new farmer to plan and study properly before do any investment. It will cost a lot and the return of investment will take few cycles. The farmer also need to look at every angle such as the benefit of the system to their plant, multi purpose and applicable for different plants then final decision is based only on long term and future expansion. It is not wise if the farmer just do for one cycle or season and give up the project. The return will not enough to cover the total cost as it is a fixed asset and the money spent will go down the drain if it is not use on next cycle. We as a farmer need a lot of courage, able to control mental stress and hard work to determine our success. We must make sure we have enough labour support or assistance as it is not a stand alone project. Besides that we also need to have extra cash or saving to cater the unwarranted event or hidden cost. There are also a repetitive cost for fertilizer, pesticide and preparation for a continuation of next plant cycle. We should not wait at the end of first cycle to start a new as it will take another 6 months to harvest. Experience friends and networking also play a vital role. Go and visit those farmer that already have the system to seek the advise and see their layout. Search for a knowledge and pattern which is related to our work scope then do a trial run for a small plot to save the budget. Maybe 100 poly bags which fully utilised system then go for 2k or 5K poly bags. You will find it easier to handle it at later stage. Selamat berjaya.