One of the biggest challenges in the coming decades will be the increase of agricultural production (to cover the increased needs in food) without a corresponding increase in water consumption, particularly in countries with limited water and soil resources. Today the irrigation constitutes basic element of agriculture. Moreover, the efficiency of irrigation water of irrigation does not exceed 65%.
Taking into consideration the current pressures in water resources and the future increase of irrigated land, the agricultural sector should produce more with less water, increasing the efficiency of irrigation water and producing ‘more products per drop’ (Monaghan et. al. 2013). This can be achieved either by increasing the efficiency of irrigation water and/or using low quality waters (saline, reclaimed, drainage waters) for irrigation.
The sustainable use of irrigation water is also an obligation of the producers in the frame of ‘multiple conformity’. The non rational use of irrigation water in most cases leads to over-pumping and/or salinization of the aquifers or soils.
A lot of researchers (Chartzoulakis et al., 2006; Fereres et al., 2011; González Perea et al., 2016) have developed decisions support tools in order to increase crop productivity and increase the efficiency of irrigation systems. The forecast of extreme weather events is also important for the protection of the crops (Anadranistakis et al., 2004; Papagiannaki et al., 2014).
The aim of precision irrigation is the optimization of irrigation of the crops with a scientific way and the sustainable use of available water resources and production of agricultural products. In other words, precision irrigation controls remotely the irrigation of the crop taking into account the available soil moisture, the stages of growth of the crop, the quality and the availability of water resources and the real-time meteorological data and weather. Irrigation advices are specialized per parcel depending on the type of the crop, the soil type, the stage of growth of the crop, the system of irrigation, the quality and availability of irrigation water, the soil moisture, the weather forecast, etc. Moreover, the producers will receive from the system an alert and advice how to act in case of extreme weather events affecting the crop.
Irrigation based in site-specific soil moisture does not take into consideration the availability of water resources of a region, in order to apply deficit irrigation when it is necessary. Experimental studies have shown that deficit irrigation techniques can achieve a reduction of applied irrigation water up to 20-30% with no significant reduction in yield. Precision irrigation can be applied to all interested producers of a cooperative or region or to individual producers.
Zen Irriware Precicion Irrigation System
Zen Irriware precicion irrigation advisory system provides a solution for optimized use of irrigation water, an important external input for many crops. Furthermore, the system utilize weather forecasting in order to adjust irrigation, reduce crop risks (plant damage) and improve yield (quantity and quality) using GSM controller and sensor communication.
Zen Irriware use weather forecasts end on-line data available from existing meteorological stations and tailor-made algorithms and calculate each crop’s irrigation requirements. The algorithm are developed according to FAO proposed methods taking into account crop’s characteristics (age, growth stage, etc), soil type, irrigation system, water quality and availability, as well as the last irrigation details.
Then, the system will inform the user via email or SMS and create corresponding messages in the user’s account and/or to give orders to a specific electrovalve (Scada, LoRa, etc) for fully automate irrigation.
Zen Irriware is the simplest way to apply precision irrigation.
- A simple cell phone, that just could receive SMS, is enough.
- Can interact with the software by recording irrigation applications.
- Can interact with automatic solenoid electrovalves without farmer intervention.
- Support deficit irrigation application
- Save irrigation water without affecting crop and yield
- Inform farmer against extreme weather events (heat wave, frost)