It’s easy to slip into the habit of thinking of the Internet of Things as a highly technical, industrial tool at home in factories, or fleets of high powered vehicles, but who’d have thought it can also help plants grow?
It can be near impossible to predict what any one growing season will bring. So much is at the mercy of the weather, availability or certification of crop protection products and numerous other factors which have to be given a ‘best guess’ in order to plan for them. The best way to predict the most likely outcome in any season is, of course, experience.
A joint initiative between public departments and private enterprises has collated eleven years’ worth of data on pest pressure, plant vigour, soil nutrition, and rainfall. This data is now brought together to create a comprehensive, geo-referenced map detailing the agronomic and phytosanitary history of vineyards in the Friuli region of Italy. This area has the highest rainfall in the country which only adds to pest and disease pressure so greater visibility of patterns, high pressure seasons and so on can be a vital tool for gaining the best yield from the crop.
The incorporation of radar data from weather stations allows us to predict rainfall, humidity, and moisture patterns, which can then be analysed to establish the likelihood of pressure from specific pests and diseases. This then allows for preemptive plant protection such as preparation of necessary products or control methods to reduce the risk of crop failure.
The IoT has enabled this data to be brought together from a variety of different sensors and consolidated in Eurotech’s Everyware Cloud, allowing consultants, researchers and agronomists to access it from integrated, wearable devices, whenever they need. Not only that, but with a working model already in place it couldn’t be easier to extend this system to the benefit of cereal crops, olives and even fruit.
This sharing of information in one system allows collaboration between engineers, agronomists and workers to develop integrated pest management strategies incorporating both chemical and cultural solutions and embedding the knowledge in experience for future seasons.