Water insecurity, regulations, and increased demand, combined with an increasing population, makes it more critical than ever for growers to feed the world with less water and energy.
To address these concerns, Precision Laboratories introduces the product Tolero, an irrigation injection surfactant proven to increase crop yields while reducing irrigation water and the energy needed to move it.
“Agricultural irrigation is the top consumer of water in the United States,” said Don Spier, vice president at Precision Laboratories. “With mounting competition for fresh water, growers are under immense pressure to increase crop yields while reducing water and energy.”
Irrigation covers nearly 52 million acres of harvested cropland in the U.S., using more than 79 billion gallons of water per day, according to the 2013 USDA Farm and Ranch Irrigation Survey. This vast amount of water has great opportunities for more effective management with less waste.
Many growers experience issues with water reaching the crop due to run-off and the lack of distribution in the soil.
According to Precision Laboratories, Tolero improves the infiltration of irrigation and rainfall by spreading it into and throughout the plant’s root zone, keeping it readily available as needed.
The increased water content in the soil enhances the growing environment by reducing plant stress and improving water and nutrient distribution.
Spier says, “The lack of available water at critical stages of plant development negatively affects the establishment, fruit set, plant health, and the yield of most high-value crops.
Agronomists in the western U.S. report thousands of acres of land are being removed from production due to insufficient water to grow crops. Spier says Tolero as part of an overall water management program is proven to save water by either reducing irrigation time or increasing the intervals between watering.
The efficacy of Tolero was proven in third-party trials conducted on yellow squash, tomatoes, strawberries, and romaine lettuce. Results suggest a significant crop yield increase while decreasing water use by up to 40 percent.
Additionally, some trials resulted in reduced soil compaction which enhances the growing environment for roots and overall plant health.
Yellow squash trials in Brooks County, Ga. suggest a 48 percent increase in fruit weight per acre, despite reducing water by 40 percent.
Moisture stress can damage a plant’s roots, flowers, and fruit. In tomatoes, the most critical stages for consistent soil moisture are at transplanting, flowering and fruit development.
Studies indicate that irrigated tomatoes treated with Tolero experienced an increase in fruit yield of 78.4 cwt. per acre, displayed improved plant health and reduced root zone compaction.
The grower reduced water use by 40 percent, which also conserved energy needed to run the irrigation system.
Future data trials will focus on crops including citrus, celery, grapes, and nut trees.