Use case: S3O / Smart Specialized Sustainable Orchard

Implementation of 4.0 technologies to demonstrate to farms how an orchard can become sustainable, highly specialized and smart

Organizations involved

University of Bologna (CIRI AGRO, lead partner and CIRI MAM), Canale Emiliano Romagnolo Consortium, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (CRAST), Vegetable Production Research Center (CRPV lab), in addition to the companies Apofruit Italia ScA, Bragaglia Srl, Granfrutta Zani ScA, Apo Conerpo ScA, Drover Srl, Winet Srl, Orogel Fresco ScA.

Objectives obtained

The S3O project brings together innovative technologies, available or under development, in an orchard, opening the doors to 4.0 Management of fruit growing to show how the application, synergy and diffusion of different technologies in agriculture can provide countless benefits to the regional fruit supply chain.

The challenge

The project aims to establish an innovative orchard in Emilia-Romagna that demonstrates to farms how, by introducing innovative technologies and precision farming solutions, they are able to make all the cultivation operations necessary in the field more efficient, reducing waste, the introduction of substances and agents harmful to the surrounding environment (e.g. housing settlements and / or water courses or groundwater to be protected, or other reasons why the drifts must absolutely be contained from a physiological point of view), while maintaining production capacity and quality.

In the structure, farmers must therefore be able to discover how this is possible, combining various technologies together and not just limiting themselves to using some of them and for very limited purposes, as well as experimenting with methods to reduce or eliminate the carbon footprint generated, also using of electric and automatic vehicles.

The solution

The project made it possible to bring together in a single orchard innovative technologies, available or under development, to increase sustainability in the regional fruit supply chain. The specific objectives achieved are:

  1. Reduction of CO2 emissions: photovoltaic plastics (PFV) integrated with the anti-hail / rain cover provide electricity that powers an electric self-driving vehicle operator; the electricity also powers the irrigation and phytosanitary treatment system, and sensors present in the orchard;
  2. Reduction of 50% of the irrigation volume: the PFVs reduce the light in the orchard, allowing to reduce irrigation volumes by 50%, thanks to an advanced irrigation system, managed according to the real needs measured by new sensors, testing a version of the DSS IRRIFRAME appropriately modified;
  3. Reduction in the use of pesticides: the system integrates insect nets (“monoblock” system) against Halyomorpha halys and Carpocapsa with PFV, which also acts as a rain cover, limiting the inoculation of fungal adversities. A “static” phytosanitary distribution system will be installed which in turn reduces the quantities of pesticides used;
  4. Saving / reducing waste of resources; Precise and intelligent management: thanks to the synergies of all the applications described, to the new sensors and to Big Data / Cloud approaches which together are guided in a perspective of “Precision Agriculture” aimed at making fruit production more efficient and sustainable in the whole complex.

The prototype of this orchard wants to open the doors to the 4.0 Management of fruit growing and show how by promoting the application, synergy and diffusion of different technologies in agriculture, it is possible to obtain innumerable environmental and supply chain benefits as well as technical, managerial development and possibility of new figures with specific skills in this type of management.

S3O is a project funded by the POR FESR Emilia-Romagna 2014/2020 program, Axis 1, Action 1.2.2, Call 2018 – Contribution requested: € 800,000.00

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