Soc. Agr. GMM di Illuminati

Diviner and meteo station use

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Soc. Agr. GMM di Illuminati

Case Study Contents

About Farm

Farm Name

Soc. Agr. GMM di Illuminati

Year of foundation

1988

Location

Arezzo, Toscana

Farm area/size of the organisation:

180 ha

Number of workers:

60 workers

Farm main activity:

Vineyards, Fruit trees.

Climate and soil characteristics

Mediterranean climate.

Clay-loamy to sandy-loamy soil.

Measure Information

Description of the measure

The utilization of tools installed in the field to reduce the use of water. In particular, one meteo station and 5 “Diviner” are used. “Diviner” is a tool which permit, through a computer linked to the sensors in the soil, to measure the soil moisture. The decision to irrigate is based on data obtained from these tools.

Objective of the measure

To irrigate only when it is necessary, to avoid overuse of water.

Justification of the choice

The efficient use of the water resource is mandatory since many times there is scarcity of water. Indeed, artificial reservoirs are used for water supply, which are filled only by runoff.

Where did You get information of the measure from?

From a collaboration with the university, mainly.

Description of the situation before the measure implementation

The irrigation was performed without such tools in a less efficient way.

Stakeholders

Stakeholders involved

University, farmers’ organizations

Description of stakeholders’ role

The university provided technical support

Implementation phase

Description of the survey done for the implementation

An analysis of the soil is necessary before installing the tools, so that it is possible to have coherent information.

Materials used

  • Tensiometers,
  • meteo station (precipitation, temperature, air humidity, wind speed, radiation),
  • data logger,
  • transmission without cables.

Costs for the implementation

Tensiometer: 100 euro

Diviner (sensor and computer): 4000 euro

Single borehole: 120 euro

Implementation / building

Digging and put in place of the sensors

Required maintenance operations

Tensiometers sometimes need to be rescaled.

It is necessary to monitor the system to ensure the correct functioning.

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

Basic knowledge of soil hydrology, plant physiology, irrigation management based on the real crop water requirements.

Impacts

Reduction of the water consumption up to 50% compared to neighbour farms and the 30% compared to the previous farm management.
  • Reduction of pollution due to reduced leaching.
  • Improvement of water resource management.

Innovation

Innovation elements

Irrigation management based on field data.

Constraints

Physical constraints

The measurements are point-based, and from these it is necessary to extract information about how to irrigate the whole farm.

Technological constraints

Sometimes there might be a malfunctioning of the system.

Acceptance constraints

  • Difficulties in changing the irrigation methods of the past.
  • Scepticism because the irrigation is decided on the technology and not on the farmer experience.

Proposed solutions to above constraints

  • Assistance from the supplier in case of malfunctioning.
  • Training and involvement to overcome the scepticism.

Lesson learned

Farmers’ experiences

It is possible to reduce the use of water, very important when irrigating in water scarcity conditions.

Measure sustainability

Environmental sustainability

Water savings from these technologies guarantee the environmental sustainability.

Economical sustainability

The installation and acquisition costs are balanced by water savings.

Transfer of the measure

Replicability conditions required

  • The technology is better applied by large farms that can invest a significant amount of money.
  • This kind of management is particularly important in water scarcity conditions.
  • Basic knowledge of soil hydrology.

Conclusion remarks

The utilization of this kind of technologies (meteo stations, tensiometers, “Diviner”, but also “fertirrigation” and drip irrigation), allow to optimize the farm management and the utilization of the water resource.

Open problems

In general, in irrigated farming, water savings are mainly pursued to allow an increase in irrigated area.

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