The objective of this challenge is to support the operation of irrigation systems powered by photovoltaic energy, to improve the management and organisation of agricultural activities in developing countries.
Starting from indicators and analytics that provide information on the water stress level of the vegetation, we want to create an application that provides the irrigation system with the correct inputs to effectively supply water and/or fertiliser to agricultural areas. Moreover, it must be able to transform information into actions on the field, easy for farmers to understand and implement.
BACKGROUND AND NEED
In recent years, agriculture has undergone a progressive improvement and technological modernisation of the plants, increasingly automating irrigation and fertilisation activities, promoting efficiency and productivity in the field.
However, all the possibilities offered by technology, as well as the know-how necessary to an efficient farm management, are beyond the reach of users in many areas of developing countries. In fact, in many African countries, for example, areas suitable for agricultural activities are difficult to reach due to infrastructure deficiencies in the regions in which they are located. The challenge is to bring irrigation and fertilisation systems powered by photovoltaic panels to these areas, which take into account the quality of the soil, the water stress of the crop (is the soil suitable for that crop? Is the crop sufficiently irrigated/fertilized? Is the crop suffering from excess irrigation?), weather conditions, plant growth patterns, and so on. Agriculture professionals need precise and detailed information to identify the best irrigation and harvesting times and minimise the risk of loss of production to increase profitability, especially in countries with little experience in the field.
For these reasons, estimates and forecasts both on the biophysical parameters of the fields and on the growth trends of plants are essential and this valuable information today can be provided by new satellite technologies.
This service must provide:
Connection between mathematical models of plant development and different data sources: weather, IoT, satellite;
Tools for identifying homogeneous areas or, conversely, areas for seed diversification;
Continuous monitoring of the production site and environmental conditions: vegetative vigor, temperature, soil hydration;
Reduction of costs and efforts of on-site monitoring activities;
Forecast of risks related to weather conditions;
Optimisation of activities;
Greater efficiency in cultivation operations and reduction of management costs;
Prevention of possible environmental stress and production losses.
Rheticus® is a cloud platform that provides geoinformation services for monitoring the evolution of the earth's surface. Geospatial information is now an essential tool for professionals and organizations from different sectors.
In particular, Rheticus® services use satellite data to offer operators in the agricultural sector dynamic maps of vegetative vigor, georeferenced indicators and statistics (analytics), useful for the management of irrigation, fertilisation, soil quality, with a consequent saving of water and energy for the management of irrigation and a consequent increase in productivity.
Rheticus Geo-Analytics provide useful elements to promptly identify critical issues that may increase the risk of loss of production such as suffering from land or plantations or adverse weather conditions.
The service can be available through a dynamic web dashboard, or through APIs that can become the input of the irrigation system, automatically updating the information needed to optimise the irrigation and fertilisation system.