A new generation of wireless sensors for accurate and comprehensive agriculture (606575) – UE FP7
European Union’s 7th Framework Programme
Total Project Budget: €1,323,000
Matarromera Winery Budget: €257,000 (20%)
Project duration: 2 years
Also involved: From Portugal: Grandesign, the Pedro Nunes Institute and ISA ENERGY; From the Czech Republic: ADVAMAT; From Sweden: KTH.
Precision farming is, after mechanization, one of the sector’s biggest breakthroughs, which boosts both profit and production and reduces the risk of environmental damage.
Up until now, wireless sensors have been used to set up parameters, such as irrigation for instance, by facilitating its control and the release of strictly regulated quantities of water in areas where it is required. Farming uses up almost 70% of the fresh water available in the world, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
To develop and produce a wireless sensor that allows for improved control of crops, in order to maximize profit and production, alongside being able to correct or minimize potential risks or deficiencies found in certain soils. To develop and produce an integrated modular probe (AgriProbe) for use in installing wireless sensors to detect irrigation and fertilization levels of soil in a given area. AgriProbe takes the form of a device specifically modulated for sensors, through the supply and efficient use of energy, and a module for receiving and transferring data.
This project goes the extra mile and goes beyond setting parameters simply for irrigation, but also for temperature, pH and nitrogen levels, ensuring the proper fertilization of soil through use of precision farming. The project also covers the energy settings of these wireless sensors, by making them capable of running in an autonomous fashion through use of thermal energy generated by converting the temperature difference between the earth and the atmosphere into thermoelectric energy.
To detect, through use of wireless sensors, the parameters that provide accurate, remotely sourced data that allow for making constructive decisions, by supplying information regarding the correct quantities of fertilizers that a crop requires at a given moment, as well as the optimal volume and time to release water for irrigation.
An understanding of the spatial and temporal requirements of soil and crops on vineyards was acquired, which translates into financial savings and a reduced environmental impact.