Safer drip irrigation technique developed to protect crops

The project will combine leading soil research, digital prediction tools and state-of-the art drip technology.

A WOMAN shops for vegetables at the Carmel market in Tel Aviv. (photo credit: REUTERS)
A WOMAN shops for vegetables at the Carmel market in Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
As health and environmental concerns grow due to the use of chemicals to protect and preserve crops from pests, a state-of-the-art drip technology has been developed as a safer solution.
Bayer, Netafim and BGN Technologies, the technology transfer company of Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), announced last week the culmination of a three-year research collaboration, which will combine leading soil research, digital prediction tools and state-of-the art drip technology developed by Netafim to establish the best practices for using drip irrigation as a delivery system for Bayer Velum Prime in Israel.
Velum Prime combats roundworm and damaging diseases that affect potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, citrus, and brassicas.
In recent years, the use of chemical crop protection is being limited and this is resulting in the loss of certain crops, and farmers are now seeking sustainable agricultural solutions to preserve crop yields.
Addressing this challenge, Bayer, which specializes in the life science fields of health care and agriculture, together with Netafim a global leader in precision irrigation for a sustainable future, have developed a new innovative solution named DripByDrip. The concept uses Netafim’s drip irrigation systems to deliver Bayer's chemical and biological crop protection products.
DripByDrip applies the active substances precisely to the plant, resulting in higher efficacy, lower amounts of crop protection compound and lesser environmental impact.
Holger Weckwert, the portfolio management segment manager for insecticides solutions at the Bayer Crop Science Division, said that "applying crop protection compounds using drip irrigation accurately targets the relevant plants, and is an environmentally friendly, efficient and cost-effective contribution to sustainable agriculture."
According to Netta Cohen, chief executive of BGN Technologies, "this collaboration agreement with industry leaders such as Bayer and Netafim is a testament to BGU’s leading position in the field of agriculture.
“The research at the University's Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research on the Sde Boker campus [in the Negev] focuses on water, energy, agricultural, and ecological solutions for extreme desert and drylands conditions, which are increasingly becoming more relevant with environmental changes such as global warming," she explained.
Assisted by BGU scientists from the Blaustein Institutes, the group will work to calibrate digital prediction models for optimized application of crop protection compounds via drip irrigation.
This will include laboratory and field studies evaluating the behavior of Bayer Velum Prime in soils and plants under typical agricultural conditions in arid regions.
Research will be conducted at the Blaustein Institutes and Netafim facilities in Israel. It will be led by BGU Prof. Shimon Rachmilevitch, Dr. Marc Rist of the Bayer Crop Science Division, and Dubi Raz, corporate agronomy director at Netafim.
"Drip irrigation delivers water, fertilizers and crop protection, including biologicals, directly to the roots of the crops,” highlighted Raz. “This approach enables farmers to apply crop protection products in a more targeted way using Netafim’s drip irrigation technology.
“Following our successful long-term partnership with Bayer, we are pleased to now welcome BGU's scientists in assisting us in optimizing the application of crop protection compounds via drip irrigation," Raz added.