Since 1973 the technique of crop production in recirculating nutrient solution has been developed to the point that successful crops can now be produced on a commercial scale. ADAS recommendations for home-produced fertiliser stock solutions are given for both hard and soft water areas; the modifying effect of background nutrient levels in the water is discussed. Means of nutrient monitoring and replenishment are presented.
Results of experimental work on individual nutrients in NFT are reviewed. Research has shown that crops will tolerate a wide range of nutrient levels. However, because of the low buffering capacity of the system nutrient levels can change rapidly and both deficiency and toxicity problems, particularly those associated with minor nutrients, have been encountered. The ADAS recommended range of solution nutrient levels within which nutritional disorders are unlikely to occur is quoted.
Findings from the first two years’ work at the ADAS NFT Development Farm are given including crop yield and results of solution nutrient monitoring. Fertiliser use for a long season tomato crop in NFT is presented for the four years 1977 to 1980 along with fertiliser cost for 1980.