De interés

Huelva + Agricultura = Suma Perfecta

En el último Congreso de Comunidades de Regantes celebrado en Huelva y Patrocinado por el Ayuntamiento de Huelva en la Casa Colón, tuvimos la oportunidad de compartir con el Ayuntamiento  su campaña de "Huelva + Agricultura = Suma Perfecta".

A los pocos días, en la Jornada "Smart City Day" también organizado por el Ayuntamiento, tuvimos la oportunidad de mostrar al propio alcalde D. Pedro Rodríguez, la gran capacidad que tiene el sector agrario en huelva y la magnífica preparación del colectivo de sus Técnicos Agrónomos que reunen todas los componentes para ser Referencia en el sector a nivel mundial.

El ayuntamiento, con la iniciativa para puesta en marcha de una gran zona metropolitana y su conversión a regadio dispone de la mejor oportunidad para hacer realidad su eslogan.

stand

IG4 Agronomía se suma a esa iniciativa y ofrece sus Servicios y su Tecnología de "Crecimiento Innovador" enmarcada dentro de lo que se conoce como Agricultura de Precisión, para incorporarlo a la cartera de servicios que incluso dentro de una Smart City como es el caso de Huelva, puede mostrar como referencia al resto de ciudades de España y del Mundo.

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Aplicaciones en la iFarm

As global population continues to soar, the United Nations estimates that by 2050, farmers will need to increase food production levels by around 70%.

Simultaneously, pressures from other industries will see of larger and larger portions of agricultural land swept away by urbanisation.

It leaves the world's farmers with a momentous challenge on their hands: produce more food, for more people, from less.

They're going to need a lot of help - and it is likely to come from technology.

In our ancient history, farming has been the catalyst for some of humankind's greatest technological advances.

But while the modern day farm is the realm of huge, expensive, sophisticated machinery - it seems simpler, day-to-day tasks are left untouched by an industry that seems more intent on producing technology to run make-believe farms rather than real ones.

"I think the farming sector is one that high-tech organisations probably haven't spent as much time on as they could," admitted Martin Stiven, vice-president for business at UK mobile network T-Mobile.

"The technology is there, it's about applying it. And it's about thinking about the particular issues that farmers have and building those specific applications that will help them."

Tech boost

And so recently, in the shadow of the somewhat unlikely backdrop of Canary Wharf, farmers and other industry figures gathered at Mudchute city farm to discuss how agriculture could be given a much needed tech boost.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, much of the discussion centred around smartphones.

"I've got an iPhone, iPads, we're using mobile technology to speak to each other," said Peter Eynon, a farm manager in Berkshire.

He has used his mobile to eliminate the need to carry around masses of paper all over his farm in order to record important information about his livestock.

"If we were able to do it just in one space and then upload it to all our programs that would save me a vast amount of time. And a lot of money."

Strict rules regarding record taking on farms mean much of a farmers day-to-day activity is spent in the office and not, as they would prefer, out in the field.

Mr Eynon estimated he could save in the region of £10,000 a year if the time he spent managing records was cut by just half.

Fatal flaw

Farmers described how lacklustre, highly costly systems were so cumbersome that they were losing up to half of their working week tackling administration problems.

Adam Quinney, a livestock farmer at Reins Farm near Redditch, has invested over £15,000 in buying in systems I an attempt to make things easier. Everything from medicine to livestock movement is tracked - but with one fatal flaw.

"It's really frustrating that more and more people are moving into using software systems to do their recording of medicines and everything else - and yet the system can't talk to each other as everybody has a bespoke system."

In other words, it's like spending thousands of pounds on a computer, only to find that your colleagues are unable to read your emails without the help of an external company to decipher the data.

UK farmers are not alone. Bruce Erickson, Agronomic Education Manager for the American Society of Agronomy told the BBC that coping with the sheer weight of record keeping is just as critical a problem across the Atlantic.

"Farmers did not become farmers so they could spend their life in an office moving paper around.

"They became farmers because they like the outdoors - so it's not their natural inclination to fiddle around with stuff on the computer half the day."

Like many, he sees the mobile phone as the key to solve all these problems. At Indiana's Purdue University, where Mr Erickson is a professor, they are lending support to agriculture-led software development on smart phones - something which he says is long overdue.

"Neglect is the negative way to describe it. Let's say there's a lot of opportunity for growth.

"There are few people who are chipping away at that."

Dramatic change

Among them is Neil Mylet, an Indiana-based farmer turned technologist. His company, LoadOut, specialises in software and mobile applications for agriculture.

"The reliability of mobile hardware has been the most significant innovation that's resulting in the increased adoption by farmers," he told the BBC.

"Agriculture is one of the largest industries on Earth that touches each one of our lives on a daily basis.

"Farmers in general are extremely innovative, but for quite a long period of time technology adoption in the agriculture sector has been expensive, faced a steep learning curve, and was cumbersome.

"Innovation from the people that work in the industry is going to lead this progression specific to the agricultural sector - not large tech companies or large agriculture companies which is a dramatic change from what the industry is accustomed to or might expect."

His company hopes to release no less than 15 apps geared towards farmers next early next year.

Back in the UK, and the conclusions from the brainstorm at Mudchute farm will, the organisers say, be taken away and worked on by a variety of technology companies.

"There are a few ideas specifically that are going to be quite important to the industry," reflected Dusan Hamlin, joint chief executive of M&C Saatchi Mobile, organisers of the event.

"Far from being technophobes, [farmers are] right on the other end of the spectrum.

"They're using technology day-in-day-out and they embrace it in a way most consumers and most business people don't."

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El último gotero

Un parámetro crítico: Tiempo de avance del agua en los sistemas de riego.

En el diseño hidráulico de los sistemas de riego muchas veces se ignoran parámetros que impactan en el éxito del cultivo, además del mantenimiento y eficiencia de los sistemas de riego.

Los goteros de un sector de riego no se obturan por igual, ya que los taponamientos se concentran en los últimos goteros, los más distantes al punto de bombeo y de inyección de los fertilizantes. El experto israelita en riego por goteo Michi Uner, gerente del Dpto. de Agronomía para América Latina de Netafim explica que el tiempo de avance del agua en los sistemas de riego localizado es un aspecto que en la mayoría de los proyectos se descuida o de plano se ignora. El descuido, además de tener consecuencias agronómicas, impacta negativamente en el funcionamiento de los sistemas de riego localizado, en particular en los emisores –goteros o microaspersores– más distantes del cabezal de bombeo y de inyección de fertilizantes. “Algo que muchas veces los encargados del riego no consideran y que incide en el taponamiento de emisores son los tiempos de avance del agua en los sistemas de riego presurizado. ¿ Cuánto tarda una gota de agua en llegar desde el sistema de bombeo e inyección hasta el último gotero, el más distante, de un sector?. Ese es el tiempo que tarda la primera gota con fertilizante en recorrer todo el sistema y salir por el gotero más distante, así mismo lo que demora en salir la última gota después de que se dejó de inyectar fertilizante. Por lo tanto es el tiempo que tarda el agua limpia en sacar toda el agua con fertilizante del sistema”, señala el técnico.

Desconocer el tiempo de avance del agua incluso puede tener consecuencias agronómicas: “En un huerto de arándanos en San Luis (Argentina) –ejemplifica Uner–, en el sistema de riego se inyectaba el fertilizante a 1.500 m de distancia, entre el cabezal y la primera sección de riego. Se hacían riegos muy cortos y el fertilizante destinado al primer sector de riego fertilizaba el segundo sector, el destinado al segundo fertilizaba al tercero y así sucesivamente. Entonces el fertilizante destinado al último sector, que había recibido los nutrientes del penúltimo, quedaba todo en la línea. El sector más perjudicado agronómicamente es el primero, que no recibe fertilizante, pero en el último sector no se lava el fertilizante y se incrementa el potencial de obturaciones”.

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