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Intelligent low-cost, scalable, adaptive ecosystem for intelligent irrigation and fertilization ensuring high performance and quality crops

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BRIOAGRO (Intelligent low-cost, scalable, adaptive ecosystem for intelligent irrigation and fertilization ensuring high performance and quality crops)

Periodo di rendicontazione: 2017-08-01 al 2018-01-31

• What is the problem/issue being addressed?
Climate change is causing waves of heat, cold, rain, droughts in months when it did not usually do so, this causes changes in people and plants, so we have to adjust to that reality. In spite of these anomalies, the temperature does not stop rising, and water resources decrease, so taking advantage of every drop of water is fundamental for the future of agriculture in a world where more and more healthy food resources are needed for the population.
80% of farmers irrigate their crops based on what they see, without knowledge of what is happening on the ground, this causes water waste, affects the quality and quantity of the crops, and reduces profitability. They irrigate equally different field plots, having different soil, and therefore different water requirements generating lack of homogeneity in the final harvest.
According to the UN agriculture consumes 70% of water in the world a scarce natural resource whereby irrigation should be done according to proper planning with technical equipment allowing for efficient use of irrigation water, as Global Gap community requires. Due to the lack of monitoring and predicting capacity, the surfeit of fertilizers causes serious environmental damages. Several contaminants from fertilizers end in the land groundwater, and those, are transferred to the crops. This is solved by leaching the plant nutrients/salts with additional water that are spread over the underground aquifers producing more and more contamination. Lastly, this excess of pollution, especially from the nitrates that during the process becomes to carcinogenic nitrites, originates serious health risk over the population.
• Why is it important for society?
Is important for society for several reasons:
- People increasingly need more food, because the population grows, and above all healthy natural foods, which prevent the appearance of diseases and obesity.
- Water is a scarce resource that we must take care of and use in the most effective way, because the waste in agriculture, can provoke in times of drought the restriction of water for humans.
- We have to promote technologies that reduce their CO2 footprint and minimize the use of harmful pesticides for other species.
- Lastly, technologies brought to rural areas bring young people closer to increasingly depopulated areas.
• What are the overall objectives?
BrioAgro is an Intelligent Irrigation platform, which uses low-cost technology based on information obtained by sensors in the field and sensors via satellite. He has developed a soil calibration algorithm to provide water at the time that each crop needs.
We know when to water, and we apply it when the plant demands it.
The overall objectives are to obtain for the irrigating water savings that hover between 30% and 50%, depending on the type of crop and soil. These savings in turn contribute to savings in energy (electricity or gas oil), fertilizers and labour.
Knowing the interest and gathering commitment from the stakeholders has been the continuous and fundamental task during the work period.
With more than 250 impacts and more than 100 people and companies contacted, we have transmitted data and we have shown them multiple demos of functionalities, as well as cases of success and according to these were achieved and that have been determining the current value proposal to the market.
That has consumed many hours, resources, trips and preparations.
Regardless, the company has continued its trajectory of advancing developments and testing prototypes with real clients.
During these months we started with a double advantage, on the one hand having advanced with Florette Agrícola a real test on a farm of 6 ha to prove the functioning of our prototype of Irrigation with the included fertigation, which allowed us to work during the months from July to October with a lot of data and above all with the certainty that the savings we anticipated have been achieved, crediting savings of more than 50% in horticultural crops.
And secondly, because we received the support of the CDTi (Center for Industrial Technological Development of Spain), which has allowed us to initiate advances in R & D of the points detected in the market to polish and improve our solution to the needs of farmers. Thanks to this support we are improving the calibration algorithm so that, thanks to artificial intelligence, we can learn and perform automatic recalibrations, without human intervention. And on the other hand certified with essays, how to fertilize when it is provided with half the irrigation water that was contributed before.

The soil moisture calibration algorithm is the most important and differential innovative element of BrioAgro, for this, real-time soil moisture information is required on sensors placed in the bulb of the plant. By connecting this data with the irrigation system, we can provide irrigation when the crop needs it, automatically and intelligently. With this BrioAgro irrigation robot savings are obtained ranging from 30% to 50%, depending on the type of crop.
This is going to revolutionize the agricultural sector, because more will be produced with less water. In places without a water problem, it will be produced with more quality, and in places with water shortages, the maximum yield will be obtained for each drop of water.
Our system will increase the benefits of the agro-alimentary industry, reducing the consumption of water and fertilizers and the labour used for irrigation will be used in other agricultural tasks, where their skill is needed.
Programmers, controllers, actuators and sensor gateways. All brioagro hardware in four photos