|WATH IS IT?
The NGS® System is a culture modality that is characterized mainly by the substrate absence and to work in closed circuit.
This system consists of that the plants develop the root system to inside a multi-layer, by that is made circulate a nutritious solution.
The multi-layer forms from several polythene bands with different measures, each one of as certain distances have some perforations in their surface to some and with different designs.
The disposition of the layers and its perforations, settle down so that when the nutritious solution circulates around each of them, after crossing a more or less long section of these, according to the different models and the perforations, arrive until the drainage pipes that will be in charge to lead it until the deposit of storage from where it started off, establishing of this form a closed circuit.
The design of the system, as much in which to the multi-layer it talks about like at the disposal of this on the land, is able to generate a flow movement in cascade that allows the roots a growth without restrictions while it facilitates a greater ventilation of the root system as well as the oxygenation of the nutritious solution.
Its growth is therefore a system, that when working in closed circuit and taking advantage of the drainages optimizes the water and fertilizers contributed to the culture, improving of this form and therefore the production.
The NGS band can be installed in many ways. After extensive experience for many years, NGS can recomend which is the most suitable way depending on the crop, its needs and the customers demands and possibilities.
Depending on our clients needs the NGS system can work either with a manual or an automated system. In both systems there are common elements: 1, pump with controlling devices; 2, distribution pipe system and 3, drainage pipes that return the water back to its tank.
The pumping station integrates the following elements:
- A central receiving tank that is underground. It will receive the water coming from the drainage pipes, and is also the starting point for the watering pipes. It is most convenient when placed on the lowest point of the field so the drainage water can run into it without any energy inputs. This tank stores the nutritive solution and it needs to be maintained with an adequate level of nutrients. In order to avoid algae proliferation and other foreign bodies it needs to be adequately covered.
- The pump: It is a centrifugal electric pump with an aspiration valve and a level meter that prevents it from working without water. NGS® recommends having a dual system so they can work alternatively.
- A filtering system that can be made of sand, rings, or mesh depending on the crop's needs.
- Two or more feed tanks with a blower that helps dissolving the feed and having an homogeneous mix in the main tank.
- An emergency electric generator in case the electric supply fails.
- A control unit.
Every farm is different to any other so there is not a recipe book to cover all the different scenarios. But there are many common points that allow the installation to be made on a simple and efficient way:
- Installation ideally commences placing the watering and drainage pipes.
- Drainage pipes must have a certain slope towards the main tank so the water runs freely into it.
- multiband is supplied in rolls that make the installation really easy. It is key that it does not slide over edges that might damage it. It is also important that it does not suffer extreme heat conditions like sunlight during the summer.
THE NUTRIENT SOLUTION
The recirculating nutritive solution must contain all the mineral elements the plants need for its growth and development. To develop the right formula the following is needed:
- Water analysis.
- The crop's needs. These will vary depending on the time of the year and the stage the crop is on.
- Fertilizers available and its composition.
A leaf analysis can help to determine the plants' nutritional state but it is not strictly necessary.
NUTRIENT SOLUTION ELABORATION
The plants can be individually watered by drippers or microtubes can be introduced that will water the whole line. The system to use will depend on the crop. For a given feeding pattern all elements needed are introduced into the feed tank. Each feed tank contains the "original solution" that will be injected into a mixing tank following on the CE and pH parameters given to the watering automat.
The parameters will vary depending on the crop's requirements. As the nutrient solution runs through the lines the plants absorb water and feed. The solution needs to be readjusted. Water and feed are added to the tank when the sensors placed in the tank order the automat to do so.
NUTRIENT SOLUTION ANALYSIS
Even if the watering and feeding system is automated there is a need to periodically control the solution I order to see:
- the feed the plants are being supplied is still balanced and according to its needs.
- There is not an accumulation of unwanted elements such as sodium.
- When is the best moment to renew the solution as the amount of unwanted elements builds up.
NGS® SYSTEM AND SALINITY
The NGS system tolerates relatively high levels of salinity. The roots do not compete with the soil's demand for water; hence the water salt levels can be higher than if the crop was grown on the soil. NGS can give good results even when poor quality water is used. In these cases the ionic build up has to be closely monitored, not allowing it to interfere with the plants' growth and development.