The Research work of Soil Science Section over time concerned irrigation and fertilization of crops, soil fertility, the application of new technologies in greenhouses, the use of treated waste water for irrigation and the use of renewable energy in agriculture. Experimentation involved all major crops of the area, such as tree crops, grapes, vegetables grown in greenhouses and outdoors, forage crops and aromatic plants. An important part of its research work has been carried out within the framework of cooperation programs of various funding agencies, such as the European Union, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Research Promotion Foundation of Cyprus.
Within these basic thematic lines, the Soil Science Section since the establishment of the Institute dealt with the conventional irrigation and fertilization methods to proceed later in the study of more modern methods that today constitute the usual practice, with almost universal application by farmers.
A key feature of recent Section’s activities is the expansion of studies to new topics related to climate change, the sustainable use of soil and water, precision agriculture and environmental issues in order to assist efforts for sustainable and viable agriculture.
The section's work includes the following areas:
A. Soil fertility and fertilizers / Fertigation
B. Irrigation, water requirements of plants and use of low quality and brackish water
C. Use of treated wastewater for irrigation
D. Agricultural technology
E. Research programs EU, IAEA, RPF
- New technology applications in greenhouses / hydroponics
- Control of greenhouse environment / renewable energy
Dissemination of results
Methods and techniques that have already promoted to farmers in the field of irrigation/fertilization are the most widely applied. Improved irrigation systems have been expanded and applied today in more than 90% of the irrigated area, and fertigation has been accepted as the most appropriate method of fertilization and irrigation. Irrigation/fertilization schedules for each crop have been recommended and are widely used by producers. Also the results of limited irrigation are especially useful in periods of drought when irrigation must be restricted. Treated wastewater, based on the results of long-term research of ARI has become accepted as an additional stable source of water for irrigation purposes and formed the basis for the legislative framework. The applications of new technology in greenhouses formed the basis for subsidies to the rural development program of the Ministry. Section officers also, have always participated in several advisory committees of the Ministry.
Dissemination of results is being carried out through the publication of scientific papers in international journals, through the Ministry's Publicity Section in the form of printed material and relevant radio and television broadcasts. Presentation of the results is done within the framework of ARI’s seminars or during the training courses of farmers organized by the Department of Agriculture and many times directly to producers. The ARI website also displays the results of water and nutrient requirements of major crops in Cyprus.
Training of external and local scientists, students and farmers related to the scientific activities of the Section is being always carried out through programs of varying duration. Recently also operates a hydroponics training center, which is of value in knowledge and technology transfer process.
Damianos Neocleous, Panagiotis Dalias, Anastasis Christou, Loukia Vassiliou, Eleftherios Hadjisterkotis