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Coverage of leading technology and industry trends, including the significant fertigation sector.

Nanobubbles improve soil to combat drought conditions

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In recent years, Chilean cherries have seen a significant boost in demand, particularly from Asia. More than 200,000 tons of cherries are shipped from Chile across the Pacific each year, and the market shows no signs of slowing down.

Noble Fruit is one company that’s been active in this market: 80 percent of the company’s volume is exported throughout the Asian region. But one of Noble Fruit’s cherry growers was experiencing problems in his orchard related to drought.

According to Juan Pino, production manager, the orchard was sick, devastated by diseases, which were even worse with the drought conditions they were facing. “We had 30 percent of our plants die,” he noted. “We asked many crop advisors, and they concluded the soil rhizosphere was lacking.”

Like most crops, cherry trees develop best when the soil they grow in is healthy. Organic matter in the soil, such as mycorrhizal fungi, and low soil compaction, all contribute to the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients.

Nanobubbles improve soil health and structure

It has been demonstrated in multiple farms that nanobubble enriched irrigation water contributes positively to soil health and structure. University research published in the Journal of Cleaner Production showed that oxygen nanobubble enriched irrigation water improved the soil bacterial communities. Thanks to a highly efficient increase in dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations in the soil from nanobubble technology, the rhizosphere develops into a healthy ecosystem, and crops enjoy optimal growing conditions.

Nanobubbles also increase soil flocculation, pulling together individual clay particles into larger aggregates, which reduces soil compaction and improves soil structure. Better soil structure increases root development and contributes to healthier trees and crops.

This is also something that Pino noticed. The cherry grower installed a Moleaer Neo 250 O2 with a 200 m3 reservoir. “We strongly believe that nanobubbles, in combination with soil amendments and microbes, such as mycorrhiza, have improved the soil structure, which can be seen in improved and new root development, better water infiltration and water retention,” said Pino.

In their first season using nanobubbles, the grower’s caliber distribution improved exponentially, with only 10 percent in the XL caliber (medium-small size) and without decreasing production. “We expect to continue our orchard improvement through irrigation efficiency in order to face these drought conditions,” Pino concluded.

PHOTO:  ©Noble Fruit

Nanobubble technology is rapidly emerging as a next-generation tool for precision agriculture. Read more about this technology in New AG International, here.

 And for more on the agriculture sector in Chile, read New AG International’s special report, here.

 Read the NOV/DEC 2022 issue of New AG International, free to view here.

 Read the SEP/OCT 2022 issue of New AG International, free to view here.

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