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Italy: Forecasting and improving fruit grades
Irrigating only when and in just the quantities needed is a well-established concept, but now research is working on something new: irrigating according to the grade based on forecasting models. So far, tests have been carried out on apples and pears and have just started for kiwis.
This was discussed on 18th July 2017 by Stefano Anconelli, segment chief of the Emilia-Romagna channel, in a meeting between the Forlì-Cesena and Ravenna provinces with the cooperation of Crpv and the University of Bologna and the support of Psr Emilia Romagna.
Tests include the electronic grading of 240 fruits per hectare. A second grading is carried out after 15-20 days. By measuring the growing percentage, it is possible to calculate an estimate of the final grade. If the value does not meet the producer/market needs, then it must be improved.
Weather station and unit collecting sensor data
A unit and soil sensors to collect all parameters were installed in a Rosy Glow orchard at azienda Marconi Davide, in the Ravenna province. Data is cross-referenced with that from the weather station and processed using the Irrinet programme, a system developed by Consorzio Cer and available to all agricultural businesses in Emilia Romagna.
Literal drip irrigation
The final grade is calculated using a software developed by HK Consulting. Precision fruit cultivation, a specialised evolution of precision agriculture, is a real time monitoring method based on forecasting models. It enables the optimisation of resources through the monitoring of fruit grades.
By cross-referencing all the data collected, producers know what type of production to expect months in advance. They have all the time they need to modify something to increase the grade and final weight of each single fruit, if needed. With the second measuring, they can verify whether the strategy adopted is working.
Canale Emiliano Romagnolo
Via Ernesto Masi, 8
Tel.: (+39) 051 4298811
Fax: (+39) 051 390422
Publication date: 7/21/2017
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