A crop like industrial tomatoes can gain a great advantage from OPI by Evja, a state-of-the-art decision-supporting system that combines modern Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data Analysis and Artificial Intelligence technologies into a single Cloud platform.
Tomatoes represent a crucial segment in Italy, which boasted a production of 6 million tons in 2021, around 13% more than in 2020. Optimizing production and improving product quality is a challenge Evja has been pursuing for years, applying its technologies and investing in their implementation.
Evja has been focusing on tomato cultivation for years, collecting data on climate and physiology, following real phenological evolution to provide elements that can be applied to decisional processes.
Technology becomes an indispensable resource
Crop operations such as transplanting to fertigation, and the safeguard of plant health require agronomic knowledge that must go hand in hand with useful technologies to improve operation precision. Evja CEO Davide Parisi explains that "implementing precision agricultural systems within a company means creating a condition so the various technologies can 'play as a team', i.e. setting up a technological system to make the various climatic, agricultural and environmental information to dialogue. Evja's OPI system is a Decision Support System that integrates modern Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data Analysis and Artificial Intelligence technologies in a single platform."
"Sensor Nodes are optimized for the management and transmission of the agro-climatic data acquired by sensors installed in the immediate proximity of the crop, which monitor critical factors such as humidity and air temperature, solar radiation, leaf wetness and the water content of the soil at different depths in real time. All the parameters acquired are geo-referenced thanks to the integrated GPS technology, and are therefore related to a specific geographic position. We maintain the system constantly implemented, working in close contact with the growers who monitor and validate the data collected and predictive models supplied. When you use the right tools, it is almost as if the produce can talk to you."
"The data can report whether the produce is warm, cold, needs water or is stressed. The OPI platform has worked closely with growers to develop the right tools. Thanks to the ongoing geo-referenced detection of real micro-climate conditions, the advanced agro-climatic algorithms analyze the state of the monitored crop in real time, and predictive models provide up-to-date predictions optimized for the specific position of the field."
From data to action
"Our focus on innovation is strongly based on collaboration with the different players active in the tomato supply chain; the constant feedback loop allows us to efficiently focus on researching applicable and measurable solutions. One of the main problems when it comes to tomatoes is definitely the water and disease management, which potentially threaten efficient yields and product quality."
Evja is cooperating for the development of an integrated approach based on DSS, which considers the main limits (saline water, high temperatures and excessive use of chemicals) and potentials (low demand for heat and light) of the crop, developing technological solutions to limit the use of water and soil, manage precise fertigation and an effective control of parasites and pathogens through environmental monitoring.
"In 2021, we created the LYBRA intelligent weighing system that can measure the weight of plants and substrates." By integrating LYBRA with the OPI system, it is possible to know all the essential data on the physiological processes of plants and their effective evolution in real time, thus facilitating irrigation strategies and fertilization," reports Evja CTO Antonio Affinito.
It has proven a tool of great decisional support for "soilless" crops. We consider the measuring of results essential to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of our applications, if only to consider whether Evja investments are well oriented. When it comes to tomatoes, we have achieved 30% less water, the use of pesticides has been reduced by 20% and diseases have been reduced by up to 25%.
Human integration with AI essential
The attention of the agricultural and food system in general is focused on precision technology and the digitalization of processes, but let's not forget it should be based on operational excellency. New tools or decision supports are an opportunity to revise internal operational processes, streamline consolidated activities that may be obsolete and, most of all, stimulate the enthusiasm towards new forms of learning and professional growth in a sector that has been considered static.
"At EVJA, we share the importance of transferring digital knowledge to people working with OPIs, as we are convinced that our growth is directly proportional to the growth of the know-how of producers with whom we share tools and experiences. At the same time, we believe the industry must be involved as well, as the complex objectives of the scenario the food system has defined require shared integrated choices," concludes Parisi.