Precise fertiliser and water management with a mobile app

Posted: 30 June 2020 | | No comments yet

The Hydraulics and Irrigation research team at the University of Cordoba has created a mobile app that accurately controls levels of fertilisers and water on crops.

olive trees

A mobile app which allows farmers to control and measure levels of water and fertilisers used in irrigation systems has been launched by research team from the University of Cordoba.

Fertigation, which enables simultaneous application of necessary water and fertilisers via irrigation systems, offers significant benefits compared to traditional methods. However, it necessitates precise calculations in order to be ideally used and managed. This new app could help alleviate excessive use of fertilisers, such as nitrogen, which has a negative impact on the environment.

An experiment was carried out in Spain that focused on olive orchards. This crop is key to southern Spain’s economy and has the largest area to irrigate, in addition to being the crop with the largest water demand in the Guadalquivir river basin.

The research is based on using reclaimed water for agricultural use; this water already has some macronutrient content and reusing it has become a strategic course of action in the EU within the bioeconomy, enabling society to deal with water shortages for example.

The app, known as the ‘Reutivar App’, has been developed using real data on water quality at a pilot plant located in Montilla, Spain. It is able to offer water users an irrigation and fertilising calendar in real time, including the ideal amount of manure recommended. To do this, a series of calculations must be done using baseline data such as development and nutritional condition of the tree, past records and even weather forecasts.