Italy: New irrigation system for crops without soil
The system developed by two Sicilian entrepreneurs is based on the correct administration of nutrients to plants without soil. In addition, it makes it possible to save water and reduce the use of fertilizers and pesticides.
Felice Di Giovanni and Tommaso La Malfa, electronic technician and agronomist, respectively, explain that: "Cultivation is becoming increasingly innovative and intensive cultivation techniques require sophisticated technologies. Not being at the forefront means losing important opportunities ".
The device, called Lisygrow, carries out each irrigation operation with maximum accuracy and precision, producing the desired percentage of drainage to avoid water and nutritional stress. The device adapts to the needs of crops, the plants themselves become sensors that self-regulate according to their needs.
With this system, operators no longer have to worry about adapting irrigation, they just have to monitor the processes.
To use the device with a distribution system and any type of substrate, it is necessary to establish three fundamental parameters: the level of dryness between irrigations, the capacity of the system and the drainage required according to the season and the type of plant. The device shows in real time the number of waterings made during the day, the millimeters that the plants need to absorb before the next irrigation, the percentage of drainage and its level until that moment, the temperature and the state of the pump.
From the point of view of consumption, the device guarantees a precise management of water and each drop is used for nutrition or drainage of the plant to avoid wasting water and nutrients.
The Ministry of Agriculture of Chile, through the Vicuña Experimental Center, of the INIA Intihuasi Agricultural Research Institute inaugurated, last October, a new telemetry system that will remotely control the application of irrigation in crops grown in the center.
The system, implemented through the project called "Automation of the irrigation system of the Vicuña Experimental Center", aims to contribute to a better use of irrigation water and the labor that is used to operate it.
The National Subdirector of INIA argued that the relevance of having this system is that, in the Coquimbo Region, irrigation water is a limiting factor in agricultural productivity.
Claudio Balbontín, irrigation specialist researcher, in charge of the project, stated that: “The main characteristic of the implemented technologies is the capacity that they give us for the supervision and control of irrigation. Likewise, it allows remote orders to be generated and to register if said actions occur through a computer or a mobile device. The idea is to increase the efficiency of irrigation, either due to the timing of the events, or the ability to respond to problems that may arise.".
Regarding the transfer of this type of technology to farmers, Nicolás Fernández Tagle, agricultural deputy manager of the Capel cooperative, said that it seems an extremely interesting project. "We are working with INIA in different aspects of the agronomic management of pisco vines and we have participated in some of the stages of the incorporation of these technologies in the management and technification of irrigation. We have seen how these technologies increase the efficiency of irrigation, just as today we can remotely interconnect many agricultural activities that result in savings in labor "He said.
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