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Variable Rate Operations for Orchards



The ability to optimise inputs at spatial scale has been enabled with the use of Variable Rate Applications (VRA). Despite the fact that there are numerous VRA systems aimed at arable crops, we still need specific systems for orchard management utilising precision monitoring and application of the orchards.

These cropping systems face increasing market pressure to produce quality products, and provide a detailed traceable system for the origin of the product, including the treatments and the conditions that have occurred during the production.

The main aim of this project is to advance the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of the VRA for orchard management, from research stage to prototype testing, to enable a more optimised use of inputs in fruit production, minimise the use of pesticides and protect the environment.

The consortium consists of five partners from five countries with funding from ICT-Agri Call.

The field applications will be carried out in three countries: variable rate irrigation in Spain, variable rate fertilization in Turkey and variable rate spraying in Denmark. Specific orchards have been identified in all three countries: apples in Denmark and Turkey and olive oil and citrus trees in Spain.

The project consists of five research activities. The first is to develop a set of algorithms for operations management for VRA in orchards based on task allocation and auxiliary data. The second activity is to implement a set of sensing systems for 3D representation of the tree canopy. The remaining three research activities will deal with the three VRA (irrigation, fertilization and spraying).

The project will also undertake adoption studies in the three countries where the experimental fields are located. It will have an exploitation package for valorization of the results and a dissemination activity to publish and circulate the results into the scientific and farming communities.