Irrigation water quality

FLOWER INDUSTRY NEWS

17th August 2018

In the flower farming industry, high sodium levels in water has been a menace to most growers. Common irrigation water management systems such as Reverse Osmosis (RO) have come in handy to most flower growers. Most farms have invested in RO but Roseto Flowers in Rongai, Nakuru County has gone a notch higher and invested in an Ion Exchange Machine for purifying their borehole water. The farm is a sister farm to Sierra flora in Elburgon and Florenza in Solai all under the Roseto Group.

According to Aravind Harirao, the General Manager of the farm, the first step to good agricultural practices begins with water quality. If water used in a farm is of poor quality, it affects flower production as well as consistency of quality thus affecting the price and in the in the long run damages the name of a company in the market.

irrigation water management

Ion exchange system for purifying irrigation borehole water. According to Aravind Harirao, General Manager Roseto Flowers, the Ion Exchange System is reduces water wastage from 30% down to 10% compared to the Reverse Osmosis (RO) system.

The Ion Exchange Machine does not waste lots of water when purifying as compared to RO. In RO, water wastage goes up to 30 percent as compared to Ion Exchange Machine which is 10 percent. The machine works in a way that it lowers the sodium levels from 100ppm to 30ppm.

Afterwards they mix the water from the Ion Exchange Machine with fresh water from their clam which stores harvested water from greenhouses and runway water. This in essence neutralizes the little sodium that usually remains in the Ion Exchange Machine purified water.

“Managing water is one of our key initiatives. By using the Ion Exchange Machine, we are assured of using high quality water throughout our farm so we are able to meet quality and quantities of roses needed by our customers. We are also keen on varieties we grow; we choose the varieties that do well in this altitude; 1900m. We specialize in cultivating standard and spray roses,” Aravind stated.

Floriculture Best Practises

Producing high quality roses also demands good growing practices such as good and timely cultural practices, hygiene, monitoring day to day fertigation requirements, timely control of pest and disease and finally harvesting right stage cut and delivering produce without damages as per the customer requirements.

To ensure their harvested roses are without damages, they have invested in a cable transport system which they have installed along their greenhouses. The cable which is more than 3 kilometers long ensures smooth transportation, with less damage to flower heads, and also flowers reach pack house in the shortest time possible.

The farm strictly adheres to procedures related to production as well as to post-harvest. They have a centralized post-harvest system. All their roses are harvested with proper care and are sized according to length at greenhouses, wrapped with harvesting nets and transported in clean baskets in clean post-harvest solution. The procedure helps them in delivering high quality roses to the market.

“We have a centralized spray system and a fully automated fertigation system. This makes certain that only the required amount of nutrients are mixed and pumped to the greenhouses at the required ratios,’ Aravind elaborated.

Propagation

Roseto has ventured into high quality rose propagation. They are multiplying breeds for self-planting and supplying to their sister farms within the Roseto Group. They have established a quite big propagating unit which sits on five acres piece of land. In order to achieve high quality and quantity in their propagation unit, they have adopted modern technologies. They have installed climate control system which monitors the environment and also they use modern propagating trays. The whole process of propagation takes 45 days in which they propagate more than 150,000 rose plants.

This article first appeared in the July – August 2018 Edition of the Hortfresh Journal