The company Masseria Fruttirossi keeps investing in its pomegranate plantations. With its 280 hectares, the Apulian company, recognized as the leading Italian producer of pomegranates, has installed sophisticated kits with advanced sensors and solar powered batteries, to measure environmental, plant and meteorological parameters.
The initiative is the result of a collaboration started long ago by the Masseria Fruttirossi company, which has always been attentive to innovation in production processes. This collaboration involved the University of Bari and the Agridatalog platform for the sensors and IT-related activities.
"Forecasts for the future indicate increasingly evident weather anomalies, which will surely have repercussions on the cultivation of herbaceous and arboreal fruit species. The most deleterious aspect for plants are the extreme conditions that lead to long dry periods and sudden rain events, even of very high intensity, with considerable damage both to plants and to fruits. The use of sensors, together with appropriate soil management, make it possible to reduce the problems deriving from these extreme events, but above all they also help in saving a significant amount of water and nutritional resources, providing greater corporate sustainability", affirms Giuseppe Ferrara, a professor of the University of Bari's Department of Soil, Plant and Food Sciences.
Giuseppe Ferrara, professor of the Department of Soil, Plant and Food Sciences at the University of Bari ("Uniba").
The kits consist of a system of "water intelligence" which measures the water needs of crops in real time. Furthermore, they are characterized by a monitoring panel which independently verifies the water status of the plants and can be accessed via web or mobile app.
Dario De Lisi, production manager of Masseria Fruttirossi, adds: "We started this collaboration with the University of Bari, as the proximal sensors, contrary to what one might think, are little or not at all invasive. They also allow to obtain, in a very short time and at relatively low costs, a large quantity of geolocated data, with enormous advantages for crops in terms of nutritional values, resource savings and environmental sustainability, as well as for the company's performance and competitiveness".
Masseria Fruttirossi has always had a keen eye for innovation, and this can be seen in its plantations and in its processing and packaging plant, where the "Lome Super Fruit" brand products are produced and sold to the national and foreign markets.
The plant, located right between the fields, gives rise to a very small kilometer zero chain, in which the superfruits are processed a few hours after the harvest, thus maintaining all their extraordinary nutritional and healthy qualities.
In Italy, precision farming has enormous growth potential. Across the peninsula, only 2% of the agricultural area uses robots and precision farming sensors. This number is expected to rise (hopefully) to 10% by 2021.