Global agricultural production, and in particular the European one, must face two major challenges: a) crop production improvement to meet the food demand of the growing world population, and b) face this demand through sustainable farming, ensuring that the planet will be able to feed and sustain future generations. In parallel, the rapid evolution of the new technologies, specifically those classified as photonic-based tools allow obtaining detailed information on the characteristics of crops and their environment applying a rapid and non-destructive process. The current project set the use of these new technologies for a sustainable agricultural management of orchard and vineyard production in Spain, specifically focusing on the management and safe use of pesticides, in line with the European Directive on the sustainable use of pesticides. The general objectives of this project aim: 1) the use of photonics -based technologies for a complete and thorough crop characterization, 2) the use of this information for a sustainable management of pesticides including the dose adjustment according to the external conditions, 3) the development of alternative techniques for measurement/ quantification of drift and the establishment of measures to mitigate contamination risk, and 4) the use of obtained information to establish the mandatory requirements to be added in pesticide labels. The key elements of this proposals include the use of photonics-based sensors, the use of drones to obtain comprehensive information of crop areas, the development of an equipment able to control and modify working parameters during pesticide application, and the implementation of alternative methods for the quantification of drift and the consequent contamination risk. This project focuses its aims and objectives towards achieving milestones that can be directly applied in the implementation process of the Spanish National Action Plan derived from the Directive on Sustainable Use of Pesticides. This project has the support and expressed interest from the Spanish sector of pesticide manufacturers (AEPLA), and of sprayer’s manufacturers, ANSEMAT.
Photonic-based tools for a sustainable agronomic management and use of pesticides in tree crops in the framework of precision farming
National Plan (MINECO, Spain)