KAVALLA, Greece, May 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
The first prototype of a cost-effective platform will be officially unveiled at a partners meeting in Kavalla, Greece. FIGARO's system is expected to yield the most accurate, up-to-date irrigation recommendations for optimal water use and crop productivity.
FIGARO, an EU-funded international project focused on developing new precision technologies to improve irrigation management for the purpose of increasing water productivity in major water-demanding crops on farm level, today announced that it has begun conducting field tests of its new innovative precise drip irrigation system in nine European countries.
FIGARO (Flexible and Precise Irrigation Platform to Improve Farm Scale Water Productivity) will visit a field test site during the upcoming partners meeting, which will be held in Kavalla, Greece from June 3-7, 2013.
The FIGARO prototype will be demonstrated in the field to the entire consortium and local stakeholders including local policy makers and growers. The cost-effective precision irrigation platform will be tested simultaneously in Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the UK.
FIGARO's newly developed system seamlessly integrates a number of existing software and hardware tools to provide a farm-level decision support system for growers.
The prototype system components include a sophisticated decision support program developed by the Consortium's coordinator Netafim; a software "plugin" layer for directing data sources into the system, and a crop-growth model developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); plant and soil sensors; data from satellite image analysis; weather stations and tractor-mounted cameras, as well as specialized forecasting algorithms.
The output of the Figaro platform is expected to yield the most accurate, up-to-date irrigation recommendations for optimal water use and crop productivity.
The system collects environmental and crop-growth data, feeds that data into state-of-the-art agronomic models and provides accurate, precise and reliable recommendations for how and when farmers should irrigate.
"Inefficient usage of freshwater resources threatens sustainable agricultural development and overall economic growth," said project coordinator Lior Doron, director of the Crop Management Technology department at Netafim, a world leader in drip and micro-irrigation.
"Conducting field tests is a major milestone in FIGARO's efforts to develop an innovative system that will improve irrigation management to increase water productivity in major water-demanding crops," he added.
FIGARO is a Europe-wide research project co-funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development of the European Union.
The FIGARO consortium is industry driven and includes 17 different organizations from eight different countries, including a number of commercial and academic leaders in the field of irrigation.
Figaro partners bring expertise in precise irrigation-related technologies. The consortium is augmented by eight academic institutions, a regional authority and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).