Precision Agriculture is the application of new technologies to agriculture (ICT) . The objective of this trend is to optimize resources to obtain quality and quantity production while maintaining respect for the environment . And all this, evaluating the type of terrain, the climate and the type of crop in which you work.
The challenge is to apply an efficient, precise and sustainable precision agriculture or smart agriculture.
How are technologies applied in precision agriculture?
We can distinguish two phases in precision agriculture, one external and one internal or subsoil.
External precision agriculture involves:
- Machinery adapted to regulations and the environment.
- Control of plantations with drones and satellite images.
- Platforms for data control.
In-house or subsurface precision agriculture:
- Use of subsurface sensors for humidity, temperature and conductivity.
- Irrigation control with flow measurements and optimization of crop needs.
- Terrain maps.
- Laboratory analysis of textures, electrical conductivity of soil and water, organic matter or quantity of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium in the soil (NPK) among the multiple parameters that we can obtain from specific analyzes.
Plantae committed to subsurface precision agriculture
Our company began its journey with humidity sensors at different depths, based on the motto « the Precision agriculture to optimize irrigation and save water ».
Plantae® is a wireless technology focused on precision agriculture and professional gardening.
Plantae sensors / probe
Since 2017 we have expanded the technology and are able to offer sensors for
- Subsoil humidity at different depths adapted to each crop to assess the need for irrigation and optimize the amount of water. All this with the most appropriate reading frequency for the farmer and crop and always applying complex agronomic algorithms in the customization of the sensor for each crop, soil and client.
- The conductive trend to control salinity in the application of subscribers and the use of waters with a high saline component.
- The ambient temperature that indicates the risk of frost or high temperatures and thus be able to adapt the irrigation, avoid stomatal closures and therefore favoring photosynthesis.
- The temperature of the subsoil , important to control root activity.
- A flow meter that indicates the amount of water we are using in each irrigation sector and at the same time detects possible errors, water losses at some point due to breakage, irrigation deficiencies and total control of the flow of used water.
- Online platform that collects all the information and transmits it in real time to the farmer or agronomist by means of a mobile phone, tablet or personal computer.
- Satellite images that control the plantation status, indicating where it is convenient to place the sensors and analyze the crop.
If we complement all this with the appropriate machinery, drones that monitor the crops or fumigate and the fertilizers and phytosanitary products according to each crop and soil and in line with the environment, we will make our production much more profitable in quantity and quality, optimizing resources to the maximum.
Change needs to apply precision agriculture
Spain is below the European average when it comes to the digital divide. Technological advances and connectivity must not only advance in cities. It is important from the Administration and educational bodies to promote:
- Mainly education and training.
- Second, to spread the use of new technologies.
- Also enable areas with connection and communications.
Precision agriculture is here to stay, as happened with other transformations in irrigation, machinery, agrochemicals or seeds. And only with the transmission of knowledge can it be established in the market and cause savings and optimization of resources.
Aid to rural areas
The new technologies suppose an important investment in means and to educate the farmer and technician of the use of the same. Providing new aid and compensation for the use of these tools is still a pending issue from the Administration.
Encourage the use of data in agriculture
Have access to administration data and digital platforms of the agri-food chain to help in decision-making in subsequent harvests.
Public platforms such as:
- AEMET: State Meteorological Agency.
- SIAR: Comprehensive Irrigation Advisory Service.
- API ( application programming interface), application programming interface.
In them we find data available to any citizen.
Coordinating this information and providing more resources to companies will allow them to generate better services and products for the end customer.
However, the path is already started in Plantae, all the challenges are being achieved thanks to new studies and calibrations in multiple types of soils, crops and clients. Work, study and customer service should be the lines to be followed by Plantae and the rest of the companies that have joined the change.
Plantae will continue to improve its technology as we expand our market, reduce environmental impact and we contribute to better and more sustainable agriculture . The challenge will continue to be to improve the agri-food sector and optimize important resources such as water and salinity control, reducing the water footprint and the carbon footprint.