The philosophy at Advanced Fertigation Systems is that a healthy, actively growing plant tells us what it needs. Our Smart Farming System adopts not only a whole-of-crop management approach to growing but applies a complete balanced nutritional solution. AFS manipulates and controls plant growth through all phenological (growth) stages of their production by establishing an efficient root system, using timed irrigation and providing a balanced nutritional solution which takes into account the accompanying soil and water quality. The science behind this philosophy comes from very detailed available knowledge on plant physiology such as the Nernst Equation and Liebig’s Law of the Minimum.

AFS’s balanced nutritional solution is formulated to introduce all the required water and nutrients to the target crops making the only limiting factors genetics, sunlight and oxygen levels in the soil, the effects of which we control through agronomic practices. To achieve this we monitor crop production using dedicated feed-back loops which allow the crop to identify and dictate its own requirements. We apply precise management techniques to the application of water and nutrients which in turn allows for accurate nutrient monitoring and auditing. This is advantageous in eliminating any wastage and where strict environmental conditions exist. Our management techniques produce significantly more product from the same volume of water – for example, under a traditional system 200 litres of water would have produced one kilogram of citrus; using AFS techniques produces two kilograms of citrus fruit.

AFS technology is over 15 years old and has been extensively and successfully used in Spain, Morocco, South Africa, Chile, Argentina and California. We have rigorously tested and adapted AFS to suit Australian conditions. AFS Smart Farming Systems can be applied to most crops and pastures and has been adapted to stone fruit, almonds, table grapes, wine grapes, olives, avocados, pastures and some vegetable crops.

AFS Smart Farming Systems have demonstrated benefits under a range of climatic conditions, crops and pastures. It has proven its potential for water saving, the ability to recycle poor quality water and to increase production. There exists a massive opportunity to apply this ground-breaking technology across all irrigated crops and pastures in Australia. The use of AFS Smart Farming Systems has proven it delivers better returns through improved yields, increased premium quality and it also reduces associated environmental costs. If adopted it means Australian growers can continue to compete in an increasingly demanding global market.

Nernst equation

E = – ( R T / (z F)) . ln (C / c)

Plants absorb nutrients through chemical potential difference or electro-chemical gradient.
R: Gas constant
T: Absolute temperature
C: Concentration in moles of element within the plant
c: Concentration in moles of element in external solution

z: Number of charges on the ion
F: Faraday constant
E: Electro-potential charge difference across membrane

Law of the Minimum – Liebig’s Law

Justus von Liebig formulated the law of the minimum: if one crop nutrient is missing or deficient, plant growth will be poor, even if the other elements are abundant. Liebig likens the potential of a crop to a barrel with staves of unequal length. The capacity of this barrel is limited by the length of the shortest stave (in this case, phosphorus) and can only be increased by lengthening that stave. When that stave is lengthened, another one becomes the limiting factor.