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Agriculture Case Studies

1] The Hard Water Problem

In a nursery the region and state were at the beginning of one of the worst droughts seen in recent times. Irrigation water for the nursery was kept in large dams on the property but without rain to naturally fill the dams water would need to be pumped up from the bore (well).

The irrigation water quality problem with the nursery’s bore (well) water is that it has a high salt and iron content. The combined salt levels are 3600 ppm and the iron levels are around 6mg, which is extreme.

  • One affect of using the bore water with such high iron levels to irrigate the large cross section of plants was to turn them bright orange within 3 hours of contact. This made the plants far less saleable.
  • The other affect is that the growth of the plants is stunted and very slow.

The NGIQ (Nursery & Garden Industry) representative warned owner not to use the bore water for irrigation as it would badly damage his plant stock.

 

The Common Solution

Droughts are times of high expense when nurserymen commonly outlay thousands of dollars to truck in water. As owner looked around for water quality solutions to his dilemma he never imagined there would be any return on his investment.

  • One common way to control iron in water is to pump the water into a holding tank or dam (pond) and aerate it. This allows the iron to precipitate out and quickly sink to the bottom. The water is then drawn out using a floating suction.
  • In the case of unusable bore water (as the NGIQ told owner his water) for irrigation is regularly trucked in and stored in tanks.
Cattle now drinking the bore water filled dam after being conditioned

The Best Hard Water Solution

The bore water was pumped through a small Conditioner unit that suited the flow rate of the bore, it was pointed skyward for aeration and a small dam was filled.

The dam settled over a couple of days and soon became so absolutely crystal clear that horses and cows were falling into the water because they could not comprehend that the water got deeper as they moved in!

With the main irrigation dam almost empty the dam with the treated bore water was used to irrigate plant stock. A second Conditioner was installed on the water tank so then the bore water ran through a unit into a holding dam, pumped from the holding dam through a unit into a storage tank which then irrigated the plants around the Nursery.

 


2] The Rose Farm

Knowing how to make cut flowers last longer is a dilemma faced not only by florists but by growers on a daily basis. A family owns and operate the Rose Farm. They export 40 million roses to Europe annually so making sure those blooms stay fresh for as long as possible is an absolute necessity for their business.

The Aqua Conditioner Solution

Hard water from a bore (well) typically has very high surface tension. This inhibits the ability of the water to be taken up into the plant stem and absorbed into the cell structure. It is water that supports the stems and keeps them firm and straight and if it is not well absorbed then the plant quickly becomes dehydrated and wilts.

On the other hand any hard water that is treated with a non-chemical, non-electrical Aqua Conditioner becomes ‘softer’. This means that the surface tension of the water is lowered significantly. This then allows the water and minerals to be easily drawn up by the plant. The water provides support and the minerals provide nourishment so that the plant survives for a longer period of time.

Below is a photo diary of a test carried out using water from the farm’s bore. One vase of roses was placed in water that had been drawn from a bore (well) with a Aqua Conditioner attached and the other vase was straight, untreated bore water.

The fancy water vases are prepared for the experiment. The left container has Aqua Conditioners treated water and the right container has untreated bore water. You can notice the colour difference immediately.

Freshly cut roses are taken straight from the greenhouse and placed directly into the containers.

Left - Untreated

Right - Aqua Conditioners treated water

After 3 days

The roses have opened and it is already evident that the blooms on the left (untreated water) are wilting. Notice the darker, dropping leaves as well as the stems being more limp.

After 7 days

The roses in the untreated water on the left are already wilting and shrivelling up whereas the roses in the Aqua Conditioners treated water are just as fresh and beautiful as on day 2!

The Results

Using irrigation water that is treated by an Aqua Conditioner unit

  • enables all plant stock to experience full growth for maximum quality
  • means the irrigation system will operate at full capacity without the inhibition of scale
  • this means the grower can lower his maintenance costs and increase his stock prices.

    When treated water is used in the hydration formula in preparation for a long journey it will

  • lower post harvest care
  • inhibit ‘bent neck’ in flower stems,
  • and so lower stock losses.