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The Optifrutal operating group develops a predictive model of pests in citrus fruits in Andalusia

The Optifrutal operating group, presented by the Association of Fruit and Vegetable Producing and Exporting Companies of Andalusia and Extremadura (Asociafruit) in 2016, has completed its work, which has focused on the development of a predictive model of pests in citrus fruits, and the development of an agronomic analysis to evaluate the influence of temperatures and rainfall on production, on the quality of the fruit, and the optimal moment of harvesting of two varieties of the Navel group.

Optifrutal has worked with predictive pest models using artificial intelligence based on Big Data and pest monitoring information collected over years from the sector and from the experimentation centers of IFAPA (Andalusian Agricultural and Fisheries Research and Training Institute) to make forecasts in Andalusia's citrus crops that can help producers make decisions related to their crops and integrated pest management that increase the sector's sustainability.

The second goal has been the development of an agronomic analysis to evaluate the influence that temperatures and precipitation have on the production, fruit quality, and optimal time of collection of an early variety and a mid-season variety of Navels. The analysis was conducted in the Guadalquivir Valley during three consecutive seasons from 2017 to 2020.

The results of mathematical modeling based on historical pest monitoring data have been reasonably positive In addition, it has allowed establishing the technical bases to scale this application with a greater amount of historical monitoring data. The mathematical modeling can also be applied to achieve optimal productivity, based on data related to this parameter.

Among the most interesting results, the model shows a 60% reliability in the first predictive horizon for the red mite and 77% for the fruit fly. These percentages should significantly increase once the model uses data from a greater number of sources and when there is an improved protocol based on the experiences obtained thanks to this project.

Moreover, the study of the productive behavior of the varieties under analysis has been very interesting and has yielded highly valuable conclusions for the sector. These conclusions include the importance of temperature and precipitation in agronomic behavior, and how they influence the color index of some varieties, delaying their external coloring and, therefore, the harvest. They also saw how the climatic aspects conditioned the organoleptic quality of the juice.



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