was collected in 4 minutes, 31 seconds. To convert Calculating fertilizer injection ml to gal, divide by 3,785 ml/gal. Then 92 ml = 92/ 3,785 = 0.0243 gal. To convert seconds to hours, rates divide by 3,600 sec/hr. Then 4 min, 31 sec = 271 For all methods of injection, the required fertilsec, and 271/3,600 = 0.0753 hr. Finally, 0.0243 gal/ izer injection rate must be known. The required 0.0753 hr = 0.32 gal/hr. injection rate can be calculated from the following equations for solid set (including sprinkler and miFor many injection methods, the injection pump cro systems), center pivot and traveling gun irrigacalibration will change depending upon the prestion systems. sure in the irrigation system. The actual injection rate will be less when injecting against pressure. Solid set irrigation systems Therefore, the above procedure can be used only as Solid set systems include sprinkler and micro a first approximation of the final calibration set(drip and microsprinkler) irrigation systems. For ting, and the calibration will need to be finalized in solid set irrigation systems, the fertilizer injection the field during fertilizer injection into the irrigarate in gallons per hour (gph) is calculated from: tion system. Finalizing calibrations in the field Rate= [ 100 A F ] / [ P H W ] (1) where Rate = fertilizer injection rate (gph), To finalize the calibration of an injector, measure the rate of fertilizer depletion from the storage A = area to be ga (ac) tank. Install a small graduated supply tank if the F = fertilizer amount to be applied per acre (lb/ac), bulk storage tank is not graduated for accurate P = fertilizer fraction, percent of fertilizer per galmeasurement of volumes injected. lon of fluid injected (%), H = fertilizer application time (hr), and It is a good idea to inject fertilizers from a small fertilir oi graduated supply tank rather than to pump di-= of fertzer soluton rectly from a large bulk storage tank. The small tank should be sized to contain the fertilizer soluAs an example of the use of Equation (1), assume tion needed for one application, and only the that 20 lb of nitrogen (N) must be applied per acre required amount of fertilizer solution should be on a 5-acre citrus nursery using sprinkler irrigaplaced in the small tank before the irrigation durtion. The fertilizer to be used is a liquid solution of ing which it will be injected. This procedure can Ammonium Nitrate (21% N; 10.73 lb/gal)1.The improve the effectiveness of fertilizer injection benormal irrigation cycle is 2 hr, and fertilizer injeccause (1) only the amount of fertilizer in the small tion begins immediately after the system has supply tank can be injected during irrigation, thus reached normal operating pressure. Fertilizer will preventing excess applications from accidentally be injected for 1.5 hr, leaving almost 0.5 hr to flush being made, (2) the amount of fertilizer injected can the fertilizer from the irrigation system and off of easily and accurately be read if the supply tank is the plants. Using equation (1): relatively small and has graduations permanently marked on it, and (3) only the fertilizer in the small Rate = [100 * 5 ac * 20 lb/ac] tank will be diluted ifbackflow from the irrigation [21% * 1.5 hr * 10.73 lb/gall system occurs because of failure of the injection Rate = 29.6 gph pump and backflow prevention system. For injection methods which use a suction tubing Thus, the required 20 lb of N can be applied per between the injection pump and the supply tank, acre by injecting 29.6 gal of Ammonium Nitrate per the injection rate can be measured with a chemical hour for the 1.5 hr injection time. The total volume flow meter or by connecting the tubing to a graduto be injected would be 29.6 gal/hr times 1.5 hr = ated cylinder. Measurements should be made 44.4 gal. while the injector is operating under normal conditions, including normal injection rates and normal Si m i Because liquid fertilizer solutions are often custom mixed, the irrigation system operating pressures. Then adnutrient concentrations and weight of the fertilizer solution justments in the injection rate can be made as the must be obtained from the fertilizer supplier. Common values injection system operates. are used in this publication. 2
If the above 20 lb of N per acre must be applied of young citrus trees. There are 200 trees per acre to a 5-acre citrus grove that is irrigated with a (tree/ac). The drip irrigation system is operated for microsprinkler system, Equation (1) can still be 3 hr per irrigation. After startup of the irrigation used. Assume that the micro system is operated for system, fertilizer is injected for 2 hr, followed by 6 hr at each irrigation and that fertilizer is injected almost 1 hour of irrigation to flush the fertilizer for 4 hr. Fertilizer injection begins immediately from the system. Then, for Ammonium Nitrate: after the system has reached normal operating pressure, leaving almost 2 hr to flush the fertilizer Rate = [100 * 12 ac * 0.1 lb/tree * 200 tree/ac] from the irrigation system. Then: [21% * 2hr * 10.73 lb/gal] Rate = [100 * 5 ac -20 lb/ac] Rate = 53.3 gph [21% * 4 hr * 10.73 Ib/gal] [21% 4 hr 10.73 lb/galhus, the required 0.1 lb of N per tree can be apRate = 11.1 gph plied to 12 acres by injecting 53.3 gph for the 2 hr of fertilizer injection time. The total volume to be Thus, the required 20 lb of N can be applied per injected would be 53.3 gal/hr times 2 hr = 106.6 gal. acre by injecting 11.1 gal of Ammonium Nitrate per hour for the 4 hr injection time. The total volume Center pivot irrigation systems to be injected is 11.1 gal/hr times 4 hr = 44.4 gal, For center pivot irrigation systems, the required which is the same volume as calculated in the prefertilizer injection rate is calculated from: vious example. Note that because the fertilizer injection time increased, the injection rate required to Rate = [ 100 * A F ] / [ P * H * W ] (3) apply the same 20 lb of N per acre decreased. where H = fertilizer application time, normally the time required to make 1 complete revolution of the It is important to note that because citrus time required to make complete revolution of the irrigation system, and all other terms are as previmicrosprinkler irrigation systems do not irrigate irrigation system, and all other terms are as previthe entire soil surface, the fertilizers applied using ously defined. these systems will be placed only on the irrigated portion of the soil surface. For example, if only 50 Assume for example, that 30 lb of N will be appercent of the soil surface is irrigated with the plied per acre through a standard 160-acre (138 spray system in the above example, then the N apacres actually irrigated) center pivot irrigation sysplication rate in the irrigated zone will be 40 lb/ tem. The fertilizer used is Urea-Ammonium Niacre, and that in the non-irrigated zone will be 0 lb/ trate (28% N; 10.65 lb/gal). The irrigation time reacre, to obtain the average rate of 20 lb/acre. Likequired to make 1 complete revolution is 48 hr. The wise, if only 20 percent of the soil surface is irrirate of injection can then be calculated as: gated, the application rate in the irrigated area would be 5 times the average on a gross acre basis. Rate = [ 100 * 138 ac * 30 lb/ac ] [ 28% * 48 hr * 10.65 lb/gal ] Because water and fertilizers are not applied to Rate = 28.9 gph the entire soil surface when microirrigation systems are used, fertilizer applications to micro-irriT 2 g gated crops are often made on the basis of indiThus, 28.9 gal of Urea-Ammonium Nitrate with vidual plants rather than on a gross acre basis. In 28 percent N must be injected per hour to apply 30 this case, Equation (2) applies: lbs of N per acre to the 138 acre area irrigated. A total of 28.9 gal/hr times 48 hr = 1,388 gal must be Rate = [ 100 A * Fp * NP ] /[ P -H * W ] (2) applied. where Fp = amount of fertilizer to be applied per Traveling gun irrigation systems plant (Ib/plant), p t , For traveling gun irrigation systems, the injecNP = number of plants per acre, and the other tion rate is calculated from: terms are as previously defined. Rate = [ 100 * S -L * F ] / [ 43,560 Â• P -W] (4) For example, assume that 0.1 lb of N is to be apwhere S = rate (speed) of traveler movement (ft/hr), plied to each tree in a 12-acre drip-irrigated grove L = distance between travel lanes (ft), and all other terms are as previously defined. 3
"c. _ --_ January 1992 Circular 1033 S......N S T T U T E OF FOOD A N D A G R IC U L T U A LS.C EN ES Calibration of Fertilizer Injectors for Agricultural Irrigation Systems A. G. Smajstrla, D. Z. Haman and F. S. Zazueta* Florida Cooperative Extension Service / Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences / University of Florida / John T. Woeste, Dean Fertilizer application through an irrigation sysCalibration of fertilizer injection ter is called "fertigation". Fertigation is practiced s em for several reasons -the primary reasons are sys lower application costs and greater production reEach method of fertilizer injection must be calisponses. It is normally less expensive to apply ferbrated by the user. Calibration procedures vary tilizers with irrigation water than by other methdepending upon the injection method used and ods, especially if several applications are required the specific design of the injection equipment. during the growing season. Also, for many Florida In all cases, however, the user must verify that the crops, growth and yields have been increased when manufacturer's calibration or the method being fertigation was used to maintain optimum nutrient used is correct by using a chemical flow meter levels at critical crop growth stages. which is accurate in the flow range of gallons per hour (or other rate being injected), or by measuring Other reasons for the popularity of fertigation the injection rate volumetrically. include: (1) the ability to make prescription applications of fertilizers; that is, to apply them precisely Chemical flow meters when needed and only in the amounts needed, thus Flow meters are available which can be used to maximizing their effectiveness, (2) a reduction in directly measure the chemical flow rate while the environmental pollution because fertilizers can be injection system is operating under field conditions. applied only in the amounts needed and thus large Meters can often be mounted on the low pressure quantities are not subject to leaching loss if heavy (suction) side of injection pumps. rainfalls follow conventional applications, and (3) a possible reduction in the total volume of fertilizers Caution: If a chemical flow meter is used on the applied because leaching losses are minimized, high pressure side of an injector, be certain that the flow meter is rated for the pressure being used beGrowers should only inject water soluble fertilizfore installing it in that position. Failure to use a ers or fertilizer suspensions that are compatible properly installed, adequately pressure-rated meter with their irrigation system and crop production may cause it to be damaged, and it may be hazardsystem. Because they are potentially corrosive, ous to individuals working in the area. fertilizers should be flushed from the irrigation system after each application. Fertilizer solutions Volumetric flow rate measurement should always be injected before (upstream of) the To measure flow rates volumetrically, a confilters in microirrigation systems. The compatibilof ow volume a a a clintainer of known volume (such as a graduated cylinity of fertilizer solutions with the irrigation water (sh as a at and with any other chemicals being injected should der) and an accurate timer (such as a stopwatch or a watch with second hand) are needed. Measure be tested to avoid the formation of chemical precipithe tied to the ner. e au ..the time required to fill the container. Then calcutates in the irrigation system. IFAS production s in te i o .WS p n late the flow rate as the volume per time, typically guides should be consulted for the specific crop belat t fls he oue r time, typic in units of gallons per hour (gal/hr or gph). ing produced to obtain recommendations for chemical formulations, fertigation rates and schedules. F e , For example, assume that a 100 ml graduated *Professor, and associate professors, Agricultural Engineering cylinder and stopwatch were used to measure injecDepartment, University of Florida, FL 32611. tion rates. Assume that 92 ml of fertilizer solution
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