Irrigation advice system and ICTs
The agricultural sector faces the challenge of increasing food production to meet the demand caused by the growth of the world population. In this scenario, irrigation and the family agriculture (AF) play a central role. AF is the most widespread form of production in the world, with more than 90% of all agricultural holdings (500 million) and contributes by more than 80% of food production. Most of the AF in Latin America and the Caribbean uses irrigation based on empirical knowledge, which led to an inefficient water management. The Irrigation Advisory System (SAR) provides farmers information to achieve a more efficient irrigation management, which leads to increasing crop yields. The general objective of the project is to generate a study to identify how to reduce the yield gap in a group of crops, through the use of irrigation schedules adjusted to the water requirements.
The technological solution
The growing access to the Internet, mobil phones, remote data transmission and satellite products are opportunities to improve the process of extension and transfer of knowledge to the AF. By combining direct measurements of soil moisture and the aforementioned technologies, the information will be available to suggest to the farmer when and how much to irrigate.
The main result of the project is the development of the Irrigation Advisory Service (SAR) platform, which provides an answer to the two basic questions of irrigation scheduling: when and how much to irrigate? The SAR shows, graphically and numerically, the availability of water in the soil. When the soil water content falls below a threshold (which mainly depends on the crop and the soil type), the irrigation alert is given. The simplified version of the SAR provides information that is also useful for monitoring the crop water status, such as the reference evapotranspiration and crop evapotranspiration (present and estimated for the next 7 days), and the crop coefficient. The SAR has been tested on alfalfa, cotton, strawberry, tomato, pepper and bean. As complementary results, it can be mentioned: the diagnosis of the pilot areas of the project, mainly the irrigation management; strengthening agrometeorological information networks, through the installation of 6 automatic weather stations, 5 having online access; the use of satellite images for soil moisture estimation through algorithms, using predictor variables, such as bulk density and texture of soil, and spectral indices; the bases for scaling up the project were established and its results were communicated through reports, workshops, meetings and seminars.
900 farmers of the Río Dulce Irrigation System (Santiago del Estero, Argentina).
400 farmers from the organizations: Sociedad de Fomento Rural Milgarejo, Cooperativa Agraria Punta del Sarandí and Sociedad de Fomento Rural Canelón Chico (Uruguay).
250 farmers from the Municipalities of El Sauce, Tisma and Ciudad Darío (Nicaragua).
Sustainable Development Goals
- Fundación ArgenINTA (ARGENINTA) - Argentina
- Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria (INIA) - Uruguay
- Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA) - Argentina
- Instituto Nicaragüense de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA) - Nicaragua
- Wageningen University & Research (WUR) - Holanda
- Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) - España
- KILIMO S.A (KILIMO) - Argentina