Flushing irrigation lines with a low pH PK fertiliser can increase outputs by up to 6%, while significantly cutting irrigation time and therefore associated costs, according to recent trials.

This news comes at a time when growers are under pressure to maximise production while farming sustainably and is particularly pertinent for those operating in areas with a high water pH.

Independent trials were managed by FAST (Fruit Advisory Services Team) during the 2017 growing season.

Richard Collins, ICL technical sales manager said: “These showed that use of the PK fertiliser, PeKacid, part of the ICL Nova fertiliser range, can not only increase yield outputs as part of a nutrition programme, it also assists in keeping drip lines clear from calcium build up in areas of hard water.”

It was proven that there is an increase in dripper output of around 1.5l per dripper during the irrigation season.

“While this doesn’t sound a lot, depending on dripper numbers this could add up to crops receiving a considerably greater volume of water. For example, with 21,600 drippers on one hectare, the crop would receive over 32,000l of extra irrigation water, in one season, due to clear drippers.”

Abi Dalton, trials manager at FAST, oversaw the trials and says the results suggest regular monthly flushes with PeKacid are preferable to just water, for keeping irrigation systems closer to optimum output throughout the season.

“This is better than relying on a single ‘end of season’ treatment, particularly as the drippers can be left in situ during the flush without the risk of crop damage,” she says.