Positive trial of wetting agent at cherry grower points to lower water use

H2Flo, a wetting agent made up of a blend of surfactants to enhance the lateral and vertical movement of water within soil, has increased the efficiency of irrigation at a large cherry grower.

Emily Livesey
Emily Livesey

The product, supplied by ICL Specialty Fertilizers, was applied weekly though the irrigation system with the fertiliser application on three hectares of cherries and compared against an untreated control, at Lower Hope Fruit Farm in Herefordshire.

Fruit manager at the farm Emily Livesey said the trial demonstrated increased water permeability and uptake at a key time of the plant growth cycle.

"When looking at the data from the moisture probes, we could see that the product spread the water evenly throughout the soil profile, enabling better uptake from the root systems," she explained.

"H2Flo allowed the water to penetrate the soil further, which means there’s potential for less usage, helping us to conserve water, and although we have our own reservoir on site, we’re always looking for more sustainable ways to work."

ICL senior specialty fertiliser agronomist Scott Garnett explained: "Surfactants enlarge the spread of water by increasing the speed at which the molecules penetrate the soil, allowing water to travel below the first five centimetres of the surface faster than normal."

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