Based on satellite information and meteorological data, an extensive modernisation project has allowed farmers to achieve more productivity, reduce water consumption and handle changes in the climate.
In the Sannio Alifano area, which is situated around Naples, Italy, the local rural areas have had an upgrade to meet the future needs and challenges of the farming business.
The main goals of the project were to upgrade the existing network of open channels to a complete piped pressurized network, to be able to achieve more productivity, to reduce the total water consumption, and to be able to manage the continuous changes in the climate.
Using data and calculations
Knowledge is power. This also goes for crop farming, where the more helpful information available, the higher water efficiency and the more yield as end-product. The irrigation networks have been equipped with remote control systems and automated delivery groups for regulating water distribution to the users by means of an electronic card. To manage water resources more
efficiently, an irrigation advisory system (IRRISAT) offers farmers the opportunity to receive “irrigation advice” on the optimum moment to irrigate, and the appropriate amount of water to apply.
It integrates remote sensing and agrometeorology, and produces maps of crop water requirements: IRRISAT puts data in the farmers’ hands within 36 hours from the satellite pass, following this sequence:
- monitoring the crop growth through the analysis of satellite data in the visible and near infrared wave lengths,
- acquisition of meteorological data,
- processing of images for the estimation of crop water requirements by using F.A.O. models, and
- integrating the data into a geographic information system (GIS).
The remote control architecture consists of four levels; a field transmitter, a gate way, a server for network management and data acquisition, and the HYDROPASS software. Data is made available to the end user by e-mail, SMS and via a dedicated web-page.
AC.MO S.r.l. delivered about 2,000 electronic hydrants to the project. The complete management software is connected to satellite control and the existing billing system. The project results show water savings of about 25-30% without loss of production, energy savings and community costs, increased farmer competition within the market and detection of unauthorized irrigation and over-consumption.
And in a larger perspective, efficiency in farming encourages biodiversity in production and can help revert the depopulation which is a big issue in the area. Also, it will assist in securing the landscape and the necessary food supply.
The project is also an example of a perfect cooperation between the AC.MO technician, the water company and the end users i.e. farmers.
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