EC – important parameter for irrigation strategy

EC – important parameter for irrigation strategy

The electrical conductivity (EC) unit is commonly employed for analyzing fertilizer component concentrations in hydroponic growth’s nutrient solution or root zone. This involves measuring the electrical conductivity of a solution to determine the cumulative ions necessary for plants (e.g., NO3-, Fe3+) and ballast components (e.g., Na+). The EC value is usually expressed in either millisimens (mS/cm) or microsimens (µS/cm).

Water quality

Demineralised water has a value of 5 µS/cm, while well water, for example, has a value of 0.5 mS/cm, which implies that the amount of dissolved salts in it is 100 times greater. Water for making nutrient solutions and watering plants in the greenhouse is classified based on EC and ballast content.

Substrate salinity

Monitoring substrate salinity levels and how they fluctuate during a day is a fundamental task for any grower. If the EC fluctuates between 0.3-0.8 mS/cm2 over 24 hours, the salinity is stable and no intervention is required. If the fluctuation is below 0.3 mS/cm2, this may indicate that the cultivation is being watered too much, among other things. Conversely, if the EC fluctuation reaches 1 mS/cm2 or more, it may mean that the amount of nutrient solution supplied to the plants is insufficient to meet their nutrient requirements.

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