In the current situation characterized by a water crisis and considering the extreme changeability of weather conditions, with increasingly intense and frequent extreme phenomena, an efficient management of irrigation water can become essential to save crops and businesses. The torrid dry summer of 2021 caused difficulties for many agricultural entrepreneurs all over Italy, leading to product losses that reached 50%.
Digital irrigation systems in a pomegranate orchard
The prolonged drought in summer pushed various growers to look at digital systems with an increased interest. Michele Cortina, CEO at terraSmart, a company in Basilicata specializing in the design and manufacture of Agriculture 4.0 solutions, knows this only too well as, together with his team, he has had to manage a sudden increase in demand starting from mid-July.
"Over the past few months, as the drought persisted, many entrepreneurs contacted us to install soil humidity monitoring systems on various cultivars, from pomegranates and vegetables to vineyards. Growers asked us how they could understand if they were irrigating the right amount, too much or too little. We can provide this information thanks to our Agi/Next system and '3-in-1' soil sensors which measure temperature, humidity and electrical conductivity."
"Constantly measuring the percentage of water in the soil enables the application of a more effective and precise irrigation model that keeps into consideration field capacity (FC), permanent wilting percentage (PWP), available water capacity (AWC) and maximum allowable depletion (MAD) depending on the type of soil and crop: plants are provided with only the water they actually need, leading to multiple advantages such as the reduction of costs and improvement of plant conditions."
"During the water emergency, which seems to be ongoing in some areas in Italy, terraSmart solutions have been of great help. Our technicians worked alongside companies to apply the right model depending on the type of soil and crop, defining specific irrigation objectives monitored by sensors. The road to spread irrigation 4.0 is still long and institutional channels (i.e. trade associations and/or public bodies) still provide too little information about the products or financing options available. Throughout 2021, it is possible to use tax credit 4.0 up to 50%. In addition, the PNRR (National Recovery and Resilience Plan) envisages specific interventions for digitalization in agriculture. The future of agriculture will be increasingly digital, we believe it."