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Agriculture 4.0: ultrasound and software to treat vines

It is called "Kattivo", and was born from the partnership between two important Chianti wineries

Eliminate waste in the vineyard, treat vines with less pesticides, save water and create new jobs in the precision agriculture sector. All this was discussed at the final conference of the Kattivo project for the development of a cutting-edge technology capable of adapting the sprayers of phytosanitary treatments to the size of the vine. Precision agriculture thus enters the Tuscan countryside in Italy, to protect the vine as much as possible and guarantee more sustainable crops both from an economic point of view, due to the enormous reduction in product waste, and the environment, with the drastic reduction of emissions.

The conference, at the Tenuta Ruffino di Bagno a Ripoli (Florence), therefore served to take stock of the project born from the partnership between Tenute Ruffino srl (leader), the Agricultural Society San Felice spa, the training agency of Confagricoltura Toscana Erata, the Crea and the Department of Agricultural Sciences and Technologies of the University of Florence (DAGRI). Kattivo is financed by the Tuscany RDP 2014-2020 (Feasr funds).

Through latest generation sensors and ultrasounds, the volume and density of the vine canopy are measured. This information is transmitted, through software, to the nozzles at different flow rates which will thus regulate the power and dose of the mixture according to the size of the plant. The result of the experimentation is a significant saving of pesticides. “Sprayers have been developed capable of reducing the doses of pesticides sprayed in the vineyards - explains Paolo Carnevali, agronomist of the Milanese company Ager, expert in precision viticulture and consultant for the project -. We pass from normal sprayers to variable-rate ones through an update kit: from the research conducted we have seen that the update kits work like the traditional ones but with a volume saving of sprayed product around 30%, and therefore a considerable saving of water. The treatment is therefore more efficient, sustainable, and guarantees coverage from diseases".

Anyone who has older machinery will still be able to install the upgrade kit: “This is our goal - adds Carnevali -. There is no need to replace the machine, it can be adapted using the kit". As was explained during the conference, the large-scale dissemination of the project will also allow the creation of new jobs. “The project seeks to find solutions for adapting the machines currently in use on farms to carry out spraying at variable rates, proportional to the needs of the vegetation - underlined Marco Vieri, professor of agricultural engineering at the University of Florence -. This implies a saving of water and resources of chemical products, which at the moment are not so compatible with the green deal".

“The goal is to reduce the commitment of pesticides and the environmental impact - concluded Paolo Storchi, research manager of Crea -. The work is aimed at obtaining systems capable of measuring the thickness of plants, such as the density of leaves. With precision viticulture we can carry out the intervention where and when necessary and in the right dose".

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EFA News - European Food Agency