The tiger nut in Spain-Cultivation controlled with probes

The tiger nut is a herbaceous plant that produces an edible tuber. Its cultivation extends through part of the Mediterranean area. Its intensive plantations rely on probe-controlled irrigation.

The chuga

It is a plant that can resist more than two years, although it can be planted annually. It is herbaceous and reaches a height of about 50 centimeters. The roots are what produce the edible tubers we know as tiger nuts. In areas that are not cultivated to take advantage of the fruit, it is considered a weed that harms other crops.

La Comunidad Valenciana es su principal productora, También en donde más se consume cómo fruto seco y como bebida, la horchata.

Tubers develop in spring. and summer.

When the aerial part of the plant dries is when we can carry out the harvest. They are extracted by shaking the plant.

Tigernut cultivation

The tiger nut seeds are hydrated and sown in furrows.

Intensive tiger nut plantations need:

  • Irrigation control with abundant water and no flooding.
  • A warm temperature. and frost free.
  • About five months of development.
  • The soil must be light.
  • It is very sensitive to salinity, which increases as irrigation is not controlled.
  • To collect it, farmers resort to burning the branches. It is common to see fields burning before they are harvested.

Probe controlled irrigation

As can be seen in the diagram, the sensors or probes are placed at the estimated depth of the wet bulb that forms the drip irrigation.

The sensor that measures the conductive trend and the temperature of the floor is also placed.

Riego de la chufa
Irrigation controlled by sensors in tiger nuts. 1- Humidity and conductivity probes. 2-Wet bulb. 3-Accumulation of salts. 4-Irrigation. 5-tuber. 6-Roots. 7-Aerial part.

With these measurements we have controlled in real time the degree of humidity, temperature and salinity accumulated around the root system. The control allows to have the ideal humidity for the development of the tubers.

As plantations become more intensive, the need for moisture increases and so does the risk of salinity. The increase in salts causes a crust to form on the surface, damaging the soil atmosphere and the absorption of the root system.

The plant deteriorates and tuber production decreases.

All this controlled in real time from the tablet or mobile.

La horchata
Process to obtain the horchata



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