Agromediterránea is testing nitrification inhibitors in its broccoli crops

5 July, 2021
  • It has also installed moisture probes to optimise both water and nutrient resources and prevent leaching losses
  • The company is applying these techniques to grow its crops more sustainably after two years of trials as part of the NUVES research project, coordinated by Proexport and the Technical University of Cartagena (UPCT)
  • The details of this project were announced during a visit to the company’s facilities by the Murcia regional governments Minister for Water and Agriculture, Antonio Luengo

Dolores de Pacheco (Murcia), 5 July 2021 – Agromediterránea has begun applying new techniques to improve the efficiency of fertigation in its crops. These include trialling nitrification inhibitors and installing moisture probes to optimise both water and nutrient resources and prevent leaching losses.

These improvements are the result of two years of research carried out on an experimental site. Now the company is bringing this technology on to its farms for the first time. Specifically, it has chosen a broccoli crop in the Region of Murcia to test the technique’s viability in real production before extending it to its other farms.

The trials have been carried out as part of the operational group of the Sustainable Plant Nutrition (NUVES) project coordinated by Proexport, with the participation of the Technical University of Cartagena (UPCT).

The incorporation of nitrification inhibitors reduces nitrogen losses through deep percolation and surface entrainment, as well as emissions to the atmosphere. Meanwhile, the implantation of sensors in the subsoil is a further step towards knowing what each plant needs at each moment and in each phase of growth. In this way, the quantities of water and nutrients can be adjusted.

The two measures are complementary: on the one hand, determining the exact amount of resources needed allows both water and nutrients to be absorbed quickly; on the other, inhibitors help to ensure that the small part not absorbed is not transformed into nitrates.

“We are 21st-century farmers. We innovate right from the seed to the vegetables reaching the consumer, and sustainability is a priority. We take care of the land, we protect the environment, we use only the essential resources and we grow fresh vegetables that are appreciated throughout Europe,” said Jesús Gómez, Managing Director of Agromediterránea.

The results of this project were announced during a visit by the Murcia regional government’s Minister for Water and Agriculture, Antonio Luengo, to the company’s facilities in Dolores de Pacheco (Murcia). Esther Verdú, the director of ESPACE, the agricultural and operations unit, also attended.

During the visit, Luengo also learned about the technological innovations applied at Agromediterránea’s production plant to make it one of the most modern in Europe. Most important of these is the fully automated, smart warehouse, which, together with the other cold stores, provides storage capacity of 50,000 m3.There are also vacuum cooling systems that increase the shelf life of products so that they reach the consumer in optimum condition.

NUVES Project

The NUVES project began in 2019, coordinated by Proexport. It involves companies from the industry in the region of Murcia, including Agromediterránea with the expert backing of the Plant Protection Section at the Technical University of Cartagena.

The aim is to find new techniques to improve the efficiency of fertigation using different nitrification inhibitors (DCD and DMPP) and nutrient supply rates. This project is financed by Murcia’s Rural Development Programme, with the participation of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and the Environment.

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