Farmers get wise to smart irrigation

Wise Irrisystem
Spain (El Ejido)

This smart irrigation system helps farmers reduce their water footprint, control soil conditions and grow better crops with data and phone alerts.

 

A wise farmer knows that the parts of the crops you can’t see are as important as the bits you can. Inefficient irrigation can negatively impact plant health, so it’s important to be water-wise.

Today, agriculture irrigation accounts for 70% of our freshwater water use worldwide. As the global population increases, so does the demand for food. But water resources are limited. However, there is a way to save energy, increase production quality, reduce environmental impact – and not stress out plants.

Founded in Spain in 2010, Wise Irrisystem provides farmers with a holistic way to irrigate efficiently while avoiding an excessive and unnecessary consumption of water, fertilisers and phytosanitary products. Thanks also to a mobile app and Wikit, farmers can control soil conditions via their smartphone.

phytosanitary (adjective)

measures for the control of plant diseases especially in agricultural crops

This is how it works: first, Wise team members visit farms, collecting soil samples to calculate its moisture retention curve back in the laboratory. Then they customise solutions and install high-precision sensors that collect data from the water available in the soil – its salt content, nitrogen and potassium levels and environmental conditions.

The data is sent in a real time to the Wise Irrisystem app so that the farmer can see what is happening in the soil wherever and wherever, and from any device.

The recorded data is always available, to show the evolution of the soil throughout the entire season. If the soil parameters reach unsuitable values for the development of the plant, the farmer receives a mobile phone alert.

In addition, an agronomic team trains each farmer to correctly interpret the information provided by the sensors and understand their individual farm, allowing them to make more sound decisions. The result is an adequate water balance in the roots of the plants, which improves the quality of the production and significantly reduces water. As a consequence, there is a longer useful life of the crop and a lower cost of fertilisers and water. The nitrate index in the soil and the environmental impact of agricultural activity also decrease.

The Wise Irrisystem integrated analysis capacity allows financial savings and a greater sustainability in the management of the farm, as well as benefiting producers, technicians and companies that carry out any activity throughout the harvest – also ensuring the quality of the fruits and the maximum durability of the plant.

“I started using Wise with a tomato crop from January to July and saved up to 40% water,” says farmer Mario Juárez. An agricultural technical engineer, Laurent López, affirms: “We have managed to optimise cultivation. We can obtain quality fruits using this method, as we can achieve a stronger and more powerful root.”

Producers can also certify the implementation of tools and methodologies for the efficient use of water, obtaining a water sustainability and efficient irrigation certificate of their ‘water footprint’ – the H3+ certificate. It guarantees that the producer is excellently managing of the irrigation needs of their crops.

A farmer from Almería is the first in the world to obtain this certificate. With it, José Romera brings an added value to his crops and products, guaranteeing a sustainable use of water long before it becomes a requirement demanded in the agricultural policy of the European Union.

“Sooner or later, food marketing networks will require that producers comply with water efficiency rules in their sustainability protocols,” explains Gabriel Camhi, the CEO of Wise Irrisystem. “Wise farmers will more than meet these future demands.”

Gabriel adds that it has been “an achievement staying afloat in the adverse conditions of the pandemic and being able to carry out the first projects that implement the water footprint, such as its audit and certification. Our next step is to keep innovating to provide new solutions.”

AtlasAction: Consume products which have been produced by farmers who meet the requirements for efficient irrigation. If you are a farmer, you can find out about Wise Irrisystem services here.

Written by

Oscar Marin, Atlas of the Future (18 January 2021)

    Project leader

    Gabriel Camhi, CEO

    Partners

    This project has been selected as part of MedFutures, a new content channel that maps the most innovative and inspiring solutions to the water and climate crisis in the Mediterranean and the people behind them. Atlas of the Future is excited to join forces with Aigües de Barcelona.

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