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  • Writer's picturemike@loxyde

SAVING WATER DURING A DROUGHT

INTRODUCTION: In June 2023 I was in the Netherlands where they were experiencing a drought period something which is becoming a yearly occurrence!

I visited numerous farms and all had different issues.


ARABLE CROPS IRRIGATION

Due to drought conditions in the Netherlands, irrigation systems were out in force and I rapidly lost count of the number of water-cannons I saw.

Some of those water cannons however were using Loxsoil to oxygenate the irrigation water.


LOXSOIL SAVES ON IRRIGATION WATER AND DIESEL:

The farmers using Loxsoil are seeing all kinds of benefits so they are trying out different applications at their own initiative.

Some farmers noticed that irrigating field crops with their water-cannons dosed with Loxsoil at 50 ml per 1000 L water meant that they could save ±60% on the amount of water used for irrigation whilst obtaining a better result. Normally they would irrigate 30 ml and now only 12 ml. The added cost of Loxsoil was largely compensated by the amount of diesel saved plus all the benefits of soil oxygenation.


In the Netherland farmers are allowed to used ground water for irrigation until the water board tells them to stop, after which an irrigation ban is applied – this can happen at any time based on ground water reserves and farmers have no idea when it could be implemented. Most other countries use a quota, - which is a fairer system - and each farmer is given an amount of water he can use over an x period of time. Once that is used up you don’t have water for irrigation. Seeing as droughts are becoming more frequent and longer, the use of Loxsoil to increase the effect of the irrigation water on crops and reduce the amount of water required is rapidly becoming a very interesting proposition especially when coupled with the other benefits Loxsoil provides.


Nematode problems in onions

Last year (2022) a farmer growing onions applied Loxsoil at the rate of 1 L per Ha from the moment plants emerged and did 4 applications with a 2 weeks interval. In a drought year his treated onions yielded 55 tons/Ha compared to 35 tons/Ha untreated. Furthermore the quality of the treated onions was fabulous and he sold at a premium.

This year he is using Loxsoil on all his crops again: onions, potatoes, sugar beets, field beans. He has treated all crops with Loxsoil however he did leave an untreated strip in all crops to act as comparison. Also important to note is that he has to date not needed to use any spraying against disease whereas he previously would spray weekly or bi-weekly.


In a specific part of an onion field he has a nematode problem, so we went and had a look by digging up some onions and checking the soil. I did not expect to see damage in the Loxsoil treated section as Nematodes simply do not like highly oxygenated soils.

That proved to be more interesting than expected as shown hereunder!

sealed top layer – maize (CORN) seedlings can’t get through

Farmer planted 20 Ha of maize. Due to an issue with drag hoses the top layer of the soil was smeared and an impossibly hard crust of 2.5 cm thickness was formed. They tried using a rotary hoe to break up the crust but it made no impact whatsoever. The only options left were to plough-up the field and start again or irrigate the field to hopefully soften the crust and probably drown the seedlings….

Fortunately someone mentioned Loxsoil and that it might be worth trialing a small plot of 10 x 10 meters. Dosage was the equivalent 1.5L/Ha in 500 L water (we would have preferred 1000 L of water but that was apparently not feasible or practical) and applied using a back-spray. Next morning the farmer tested the hardness of the top layer and his finger went right through the layer. They immediately treated the 20 Hectares and photo shows what it looked like 10 days later.


Maize plants were some 15 cm tall on my visit. Although it’s not be the prettiest field of Maize, the only reason this crop is standing is because of the oxygen in Loxsoil.


Loxsoil definitely saved this this crop, saved the farmer having to re-seed 20 Ha and saved him tens of thousands of euros.


MORE FARMERS ARE TRYING OUT WATER AND SOIL OXYGENATION


OXYGENATED WATER TO RINSE PATATOES

A potato farmer used oxygenated water (Loxsoil dosed at 50 ml/m3 water) to rinse his potatoes. He is a keen user of Loxsoil– has seen the benefits in his crops and understands the benefits of using oxygen in agriculture. He wanted to see if oxygenated water would be beneficial when storing potatoes over a long period of time.

His conclusion was that: Loxsoil treated potatoes stored 3 months longer and also lost 10% less moisture than untreated potatoes. His next crop will be fully rinsed with oxygenated water.


In 2022 some farmers treated sugar beets with oxygenated water (1 L/Ha). On average these produced a 20% higher yield compared to untreated plants. The sugar content was 0.02% lower than the untreated sugar beet. However as the yield was 20% higher this easily compensated for the lower sugar % so that in fact much more sugar was yielded.

Following this, in 2023 official trials have been set up by the sugar producing industry to test the effect of soil oxygenation on sugar beet and verify the increased production. To date the trial is ongoing and results are not expected until harvesting in October/November 2023. We are very confident.

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