Pascolone SRL Società Agricola

Incentives for the use of a Decision Support System

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Pascolone SRL Società Agricola

Case Study Contents

About Farm

Farm Name

Pascolone SRL Società Agricola

Year of foundation

1985

Location

Bologna, Emilia-Romagna

Farm area/size of the organisation:

234 ha

Number of workers:

4 full time and 6 seasonal

Farm main activity:

General field crops, Fruit trees, Livestock

Climate and soil characteristics

Clay soil in the 90% of the farm, sandy soil in the remaining 10%.

Flat land.

Temperate humid climate (Cfa) with hot summer and average rainfall of 650 mm.

Measure Information

Description of the measure

The incentives are linked to the use of an irrigation advisory service (Irrinet), together with other measures to improve agriculture sustainability. To get the incentive, the farmer needs to follow the indications of Irrinet.

Based on a water balance model, Irrinet indicates to the farmer (through a mobile APP or website) the optimal timing and amount of irrigation for each crop (herbaceous or tree crops). The farmer uses it mainly for pear trees.

Objective of the measure

To optimize the water applied for irrigation, both to save water and to increase production, and to increase the economic sustainability of the farm through the incentives.

Justification of the choice

The utilization of an irrigation advisory service makes it easier the irrigation management and, also, increase production and optimize water application.

Where did You get information of the measure from?

From the Rural Development Plan of the Emilia-Romagna region.

Description of the situation before the measure implementation

Old pear trees, irrigated with “movable” pipes, with an irrigation schedule based on farmers’ judgement experience and farm management constraints, were substituted by new pear trees, irrigated with automatic micro-sprinklers, based on Irrinet irrigation advice. A canal is used for the water supply.

Stakeholders

Stakeholders involved

  • Canale Emiliano-Romagnolo (CER)
  • Emilia-Romagna region (measure 10.1)

Description of stakeholders’ role

  • CER developed Irrinet/Irriframe and is responsible for its maintenance and updates.
  • Emilia-Romagna is the promoter of the Rural Development Plan, supporting farmers with incentives.

Implementation phase

Utilization of subsidies

FEASR funding (PSR in Italy)

Recommended knowledge / skills / training / courses / education desired before starting the measure implementation:

Basic skills in the use of mobile phones or computers are needed.

Impacts

The production is increased because of the optimized irrigation water application.

The income is also increased income because of the direct incentives.

Following the measure 10.1 of the Rural Development Plan of Emilia-Romagna, a lot of different measures to improve the sustainability of agriculture have positive impacts on the environment.
Less water used is a positive impact for the whole society.

Innovation

Innovation elements

Irrigation advisory service.

Constraints

Technological constraints

From the point of view of the farms, none.

The access to the service is very easy.

However, for older farmers it might be complicated to access to this service, even if it only needs very basic computer skills.

Gallery

Lesson learned

Farmers’ experiences

Every year in the web interface of Irrinet, in September/October, the farmer needs to set the farm’s plots. Different parameters related to crops are updated during the season. Starting from the fruit development, irrigation start to be suggested via SMS, mobile APP, or web interface. The farmer then “tells” Irrinet when the irrigation was performed so that it continuously and accurately calculates the water balance.

Measure sustainability

Environmental sustainability

In addition to the optimized use of water, the whole set of measures linked to the incentives aims to improve the environmental sustainability of the farm.

Examples are:

  • reduced use of pesticides.
  • application of pesticides only if authorized by the region and only in specific periods of the year.
  • reduced use of fertilizers such as urea.
  • integrated pest management with traps.

Economical sustainability

The incentives increase the economic sustainability of the farm.

The optimized irrigation schedule increased the production.

Transfer of the measure

Replicability conditions required

The support of institutions (in this case the Emilia-Romagna region) to sustainable agricultural practices is fundamental.

An irrigation advisory service needs:

  • A validated water balance model.
  • Constant and accurate meteorological, soil, groundwater, and crop data to run the model.
  • A simple but informative website and web interface.

Additional Required Conditions for spreading the measure

Starting from Irrinet, applied only in the Emilia-Romagna region, a national irrigation advisory service (Irriframe) was developed, which is now being used in many Italian regions.

A proper institutional and technological framework is needed.

Conclusion remarks

This measure is a good example of the well-established policy to support environmental-friendly practices with economic incentives that benefit the farm. With the use of Irrinet, the farmer optimized water use for irrigation and fruit production, as well as simplifying the irrigation management.

AGRIWATER project has been funded with the support from the European Commission, with the reference number 2020-1-CZ01-KA204-078212. The content of this website reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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