The water crisis is affecting almost all Italian regions and crops are in need of water. "While it is true that agriculture should be helped during this emergency, it is also true that irrigation systems need to be changed with equipment capable of rationalizing use thanks to continuous management and monitoring. Environmental and soil sensors and their remote management are the solution to this great problem, which might get worse in the weeks to come," reports Bernardo Grieco, CEO at Pan Agri, a company that has been operating in the irrigation automation sector for over 30 years and which has developed the Irrifarm innovative system.
"Over the past two years, we have installed over 400 machines all over Italy, mainly for citrus fruit, kiwifruit, persimmons, table grapes and strawberries. Irrifarm enables producers to monitor and plan irrigation (choosing times and volumes) remotely via mobile and desktop applications. The lack of labor and increasing energy prices have pushed sales. Now requests are increasing further due to the drought, also from rice fields which notoriously need large quantities of water."
Left to right: valves, Irrifarm Smartbox and multi-level soil sensor
"Environmental field and soil sensors are of primary importance during these weeks characterized by heat and drought. For example, the soil humidity device is placed at different depths (10, 30, 50 and 80 cm) and can indicate the degree of humidity of the various soul layers making it possible to assess whether to increase or diminish irrigation. In addition, the radio peripheral devices installed in various areas make it possible to assess air humidity, solar radiation and the temperature in the greenhouses or open fields."
"The sale price, which is already low, has remained unvaried despite the increase in the price of raw materials. In order to help companies, we have chosen to absorb increases by reducing our profit. We have managed to adopt this strategy mostly because Irrifarm is built and assembled in our Scanzano Jonico facility (Matera)."
The Irrifarm system is distributed exclusively in Italy by Netafim under the Netafarm brand.