An automate & interactive advanced web-based system
The goal is to create an advanced automate and interactive web-based tool, as well as easy to use, which joining mathematical models and data collected from the field through feelers, can independently manage the irrigation phases and can provide quickly nutritional recommendations on open field tree crops.
The research team involved in partnership in the E.A.Sy. project starts from the awareness that the management of irrigation and nutrition in agriculture is not easy, because it cannot be done without the analysis of the variations of the physiological dynamics of the plant combined with the dynamics of the soil and climatic conditions. The software development phase, to stat the process, requires a phase of collection and digitization of all the experiences gained in numerous years of scientific research carried out on different areas of the Mediterranean and on the main crops. The factors that will be immediately taken into consideration are related to the soil and climatic conditions and to the most efficient agronomic management of the olive and vine plants.
the aim is to create a smart tool that can automate irrigation systems. Meteorological data, soil and climatic data, crop data and soil moisture will be processed and used in balances to quantify the water volumes to be delivered in order to meet the needs of the plant.
The integration of data with ICT technology will allow the processing of the water balance of defined crops, adapted to the soil and climatic contexts of reference to quantify the volumes to be irrigated. This value will be calibrated and verified by relating it to the data collected by soil moisture probes.
The volumes to be dispensed will also be differentiated, over the season, in relation to the phenological phases of the plant. The tool, equipped with this double control system (water balance and feeler response), can automate the irrigation system by communicating with the solenoid valves of the systems.
The nutritional needs of the various species existing in agriculture and cultivated to meet the primary and secondary nutritional needs of the human and animal species develop according to the growth flow of the various organs. Within the scientific contexts of study, the idea that the factors that determine the nutritional and water characteristics of a crop differ from territory, cultivar, climatic variations etc. is known and shared.
On this basis, the E.A.Sy project intends to deepen technical solutions for the resolution of the critical points of the nutrition of native crops. In particular, optimized and innovative fertilization protocols will be defined considering the concentration of the elements available in the circulating solution and the actual needs of the crop in relation to the growth flow. After the research and development operations, it will be possible to develop and foresee the application of the fertilization protocols developed for an improvement in quality and yields in order to have positive implications for the intensive cultivation environment such as those under study.
The system will be equipped with a module for the evaluation of the Water Footprint considering all the inputs measured in the field (water consumption, precipitation, fertilizations, etc.). End users will be able to constantly check how certain field management choices can influence in terms of water footprint. The definition of the Water Footprint, as an index of an approach to the sustainable management of resources, can be used for the final enhancement of the products and therefore included in processes / environmental certification processes of product / service.
The innovation introduced by the EASy project will overcome the sensitivities of the systems currently in use by integrating the information of the mathematical models with the information found by the feeler in the field, through the design and development of an integrated computer tool with hardware components (feeler) able to sample the data coming from the soil for the water and nutritional aspect.
Going into detail, as regards irrigation, we will deal with developing automatic methods of guiding irrigation, through the use of adaptive algorithms, useful to limit the deficit between irrigation demand and the availability of water resources, guaranteeing, in any case, equal levels of profitable production for the farm. The feeler will capture data such as volumetric content of water in the soil, temperature and conductivity to allow the EASy system to automatically distribute the volumes to be irrigated by operating the solenoid valves of the irrigation systems.
For the management of nutrition, a predictive model for the management of nutrient supply to the soil will be formalized, declined for the crops subject to experimentation (viticulture and olive growing). In this case the EASy system will continuously receive input from the feeler about the presence of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and sulphates, and will output dynamic scheduling of the cultivation nutrition activities, divided into lots of agricultural area on which it is applied.