Interview to Rafael Fortes, technical director and founding partner of Greenfield Technologies

Rafael Fortes, technical director and founding partner of Greenfield Technologies, works in Life Resilience implementing precision agriculture techniques applied to the management of agronomic resources in demonstration farms. He has evaluated the crop, carried out the baseline study and the inventory and monitoring of the soils.

What role does precision agriculture play in Life Resilience? What is it for?

 The role of Precision Agriculture in the project has two aspects. On one hand, precision agriculture allows to evaluate the response of the crop to the different management strategies proposed from the project, allowing to determine this circumstance numerically, through the use of different sensors. On the other hand, it determines earlier the appearance of the disease in the crop and assesses the impact of the disease on the plants and their area of ​​influence.

How was the inventory of the soils in the three farms carried out? How was the process?

The process has been the same for the three farms. For this purpose, a work procedure has been used, which we call MAP2SOIL, which consists of three phases.

First of all, a soil survey is made by a geosensor that performs a radiography of the ground through the agricultural plots with a quad that moves the sensor to collect the data from the ground at different depths thanks to a GPS. Then, the data collected by the sensors is processed to generate spatial variability maps, which are the basis of a guided soil sampling for subsequent analysis in the agronomic laboratory.

Finally, the third and last step is to relate the laboratory data with the data obtained by the sensor. The final result is a detailed map of each plot, in which the main edaphic parameters that influence the development of the crop are represented.

How was your task monitoring the crop with both satellites and drones like? How long did that phase last?

The monitoring phase of the crop through drone and satellite technology is still ongoing. We use two types of technology for this purpose. By using a drone capable of carrying thermal and infrared cameras we can analyze the photosynthetic activity of the crop. We evaluate if it presents some kind of stress or even measure the size of its crop cover, all with a very high resolution, which allows to evaluate the trees individually. The procedure performed with satellite is similar. We measure the same aspects in the crop, but with lower resolution than with the drone, obtaining a global information of the plots with a much higher periodicity.

How has the baseline study been carried out? Does it show something remarkable?

The baseline study is a geostatistical analysis based on meteorological data that are related to the presence and mobility of insects that can act as Xylella fastidiosa vectors. The conditions of humidity, luminosity, temperature and presence and direction of the wind are related to the presence of the transmitter vectors and are useful to establish models that help us understanding the transmission of the disease.