Insights

Aqualatus FAQ

The following questions are regularly asked during meetings and so the answers provided should allow you to be fully conversant with the technology.


1. What is the Aqualatus technology?

Aqualatus is a blend of four sophisticated liquid polymers, working in combination to increase the speed of water penetration, dramatically reduce surface evaporation, eradicate runoff and significantly increase water retention and movement within the rootzone to slow the natural gravitational flow of water, this multi-faceted effect saves water loss. This has been proven in over 250 trials to be consistently up to 50% or normal, irrigation levels.


2. How does it work?

Aqualatus works by introducing billions of inert microscopic structures to the soil called micelles. There are three types of micelles which are attracted to soil particles and to each other. Each micelle has a head which absorbs water, like a sponge, and a tail which repels it. Once soil particles are coated with the micelles, water is held around the soil particles and a small pocket of air is formed inside. After about 10-14 days the micelles begin to form chains to create a lattice web of structures. It is the retention of water by the micelle heads and the polymer chains which slow gravitational flow.


3. What is the fourth polymer?

Aqualatus also contains an organic surfactant which breaks down the surface tension of water to allow it to pass into the soil surface more quickly and to deliver the micelles to the soil particles.


4. What benefits does Aqualatus provide?

There are many:

  • Aqualatus is proven to consistently reduce water loss from any soil by 50% even in the most arid conditions.
  • Also to reduce the fertiliser requirement to feed the crop and the energy to pump the water by 50%.
  • Proven to maintain/increase yields and quality of crops even with the water reduction of 50%.
  • Aqualatus will aid the penetration and lateral movement and efficacy of root applied nutrients and chemistries.
  • Proven to eradicate surface run off of water which reduces loss and significantly reduces the potential for nutrient contamination of water courses.
  • Can be used in any soil with particle size of less than 3mm.
  • Aqualatus is proven to increase root mass and the increased lateral formation of tertiary feeding roots.
  • Will reaggregate soils with regular use to aid crop growth. Silts and clay open up removing compaction issues and open sands become more colloidal and water retentive.
  • Regular use creates a unique balance of air and water to optimise root activity and will prevent waterlogging.

5. How do I apply Aqualatus?

Aqualatus can be applied via any irrigation system by injection into the water alongside fertilisers. It is best added to a current nutrient regime within feed stock tanks but can also be applied on its own. On larger field areas where fertiliser is applied by granular application Aqualatus can be applied via a boom spray and irrigated in or applied before rainfall.


6. Is it safe to apply Aqualatus over crops?

Yes, the chemistry of Aqualatus is essentially inert so can be applied through any irrigation systems and is 100% safe to apply over any crop.


7. What rate should I apply?

The rate of application of Aqualatus depends on two main factors, average day temperature and soil type. The table below illustrates the rates of use.

ParameterInitial applicationSubsequent applications
Day temperature average above 28oC2.0 litres
per hectare
2.0 litres
per hectare
Day temperatures average 18-28oC with sand soils.2.0 litres
per hectare
2.0 litres
per hectare
Day temperatures average 18-28oC with moisture retentive soils2.0 litres
per hectare
1.0 litres
per hectare
Day temperatures average 15-18oC1.2 litres
per hectare
0.6 litres
per hectare

8. How often should I apply Aqualatus?

Applications should be once per month.


9. How do I know Aqualatus is working?

Aqualatus has a visible response in the soil and over time you can see the effects it has on soil moisture, be it the moisture movement on the surface in some cases, the increases soil moisture levels (use soil moisture probes), by increased root mass and reduced capping or compaction of soil.


10. How do I measure the moisture levels?

The best way to measure the moisture content of the soil is to use fixed or handheld moisture probes. Many growers use these already to inform them as to when irrigation is required and how much is required. Some even have the irrigation linked to probes so they trigger the irrigation when moisture levels are less than optimal. If fixed probes are not used by growers, handheld probes are ideal. The grower can walk the field testing the soil to the root depth of the crop to measure moisture levels.


11. What moisture level is optimum?

The optimal moisture level for all soils is 60-65% as this provides a good balance of water and air for the roots. When using Aqualatus this level should be used for reducing irrigation.


12. Is Aqualatus soil specific?

No, only the application rates change depending on the soil type. The application rate of Aqualatus can be reduced if soils are higher in organic matter and are naturally more retentive, let’s say, by a higher level of clay particles. When it comes to rates, it is only important to adhere to the higher rate of application on full sand soils as they are generally in more arid regions and so have greater pressure on both evaporation and leaching.


13. Is Aqualatus crop specific?

No as it only interacts with water and soil.


14. How do I know when to reduce water?

With applications of Aqualatus we always suggest the following water reduction strategy because environmental conditions are different for region to region and season to season.

Week 17 days after the initial application, reduce the water rate by 10-15%.
(It is important to monitor rootzone moisture levels before every crop in irrigation reduction.)
Week 2If by the end of the second week, the soil moisture is at an average of 60-70% or above, reduce the irrigation by a further 10%.
Week 3Check the moisture levels. If the soil moisture level is at an average of 60-70% or above, reduce the irrigation by a further 5%. If lower hold at current rate.
Week 4The second application of Aqualatus is applied and irrigation application should be at -25-30%. If moisture levels are 60-70% or above reduce the irrigation by a further 5%.
Week 5A week after the second application if moisture levels are 60-65%% or above reduce the irrigation by a further 5%.
Week 6Check the moisture levels. If the soil moisture level is at an average of 60-65% or above, reduce the irrigation by a further 5-10%. If lower hold at current rate.
Week 7Irrigation should now be at -45 to -50%, check the moisture levels. If the soil moisture level is at an average of 65-70% or above, reduce the irrigation by a further 5% to reach -50%. Once here hold until end of the trial continuing with monthly applications the required rate.


15. What will the product do for plants in the soil?

Aqualatus coats all the soil particles with micelles to make them little sponges which hold greater levels of water against evaporation and gravity. This allows more water and nutrients to be retained around plant roots which allows more availability for uptake and for transpiration. Drying and wetting cycles in soils become far more even and plants in arid regions find it easier to access water to manage stress. All of this means growth parameters are higher and in turn plant growth and plant health is better.


16. Does Aqualatus react with other products added to the soil?

No never. Aqualatus is completely inert and doesn’t react in any way. It doesn’t interact with other chemistries; it only manages the movement of water.


17. Is Aqualatus like hydrogels?

No not at all. Water saving hydrogels added as crystals to the soil swell in the presence of water to hold it in their physical structure which even though water is present in the soil and held against gravity, plant roots have to work very hard to access it and in some cases plants will wilt as the holding capacity of the gel is too strong. Aqualatus is always a liquid and does not hold the water in its structure. The micelle heads are like sponges and even though they can hold water against evaporation and gravity, water can easily pass in an out for plant roots to use.


18. Does Aqualatus affect the soil?

Yes, it does, physically. Regular use of Aqualatus reduces the extremes of drying and wetting cycles of watering and over a period of time this has an effect on the soil structure as particles remain moist preventing the usual hard baking into solid lumps. This makes root activity easier and makes the soil structure uniform in structure. Many growers state harvesting and replanting is far easier once Aqualatus is being used.


19. Does it affect the soils microbial population?

Slightly. The organic surfactant is made from gluco-ethers, which provides a small amount of plant sugars. As the organic surfactant breaks down, the sugar becomes a food source for soil rhizobacteria allowing them to proliferate for a short period. This is seen as a benefit as it aids root nutrient uptake.


20. What competitor products are there in the market?

There is currently no technology like Aqualatus in the market. There are penetrant surfactants which reduce the surface tension of water to allow it to move into the soil more quickly reducing surface evaporation and runoff, however nearly all are repurposed agrochemical technologies which are not ideal for use in soil due to their heavy chemistry and their continued use reduces soil oxygen levels and speeds vertical movement of water down through the soil profile. Their long term use is not advisable.


21. How long do the micelles/Aqualatus stay in the soil after final application?

This depends on the soil type and microbial activity in the soil however after 8-12 weeks the product will have 100% biodegraded. The effects it has on the soil however will last longer as the reaggregation of particles will last for up to 6 months..


22. How do the micelles decompose?

The micelles decompose by microbial activity. Soil microbes begin to feed on the micelles and this releases CO2, which is good for the soil and plant roots. After this the micelles slowly decompose into compounds which feed soil microflora.


For further information and to explore how we can work together to save water usage in your area, please contact Mark Horner on +44 (0)7502 300477, mark.horner@engagecropsolutions.com engagecropsolutions.com

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